The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to select a new director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) during a public meeting Jan. 9-10 in Tumwater.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW, will convene at the Comfort Inn Hotel and Conference Center, 1620 74th Ave. SW. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 9 and 8 a.m. the following day.
An agenda for the meeting is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/ .
During the meeting, the commission is scheduled to select one of four candidates for WDFW director. The commission interviewed eight candidates for the director’s position in December before selecting the four finalists.
The current director, Phil Anderson, announced in August he is resigning from his position at the end of the year. However, at the commission’s request, he has agreed to remain on as the head of the agency until a new director is in place.
In other action, the commission is scheduled to consider proposed sportfishing rule changes. The rules are specific to the mainstem Columbia River, its tributaries and lakes within the basin.
Public comment on the proposals – which cover fishing seasons, daily limits, and other rules – ended after the commission’s public hearing in early December. The proposals are available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/ and include changes that would:
- Close all rivers, streams and beaver ponds in the Columbia River Basin to fishing unless otherwise stated in the rules pamphlet, and implement additional conservation measures to provide greater protection for juvenile anadromous fish.
- Change open dates for most year-round lakes to March 1 through Oct. 31 for lakes in Asotin, Franklin, Kittitas, Yakima and Walla Walla counties.
- Eliminate the retention of sturgeon on the Snake River and its tributaries. Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing would be maintained.
- Adjust size and daily catch limits for kokanee in Cle Elum Lake, while removing daily limits for eastern brook, brown, and lake trout.
In other business, the commission will accept public comments on draft options for a new policy to address conservation and fishery objectives for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries. The draft policy options are available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/willapa_bay_salmon/ .
Also at its upcoming meeting, the commission will:
- Hold a public hearing to discuss sturgeon management in the lower Columbia River, including the possibility of reopening waters below Bonneville Dam to retention fishing;
- Receive a briefing on the Columbia River Fishery Management policy; and
- Discuss the North of Falcon policy, which provides direction to fishery managers in defining annual salmon fishing seasons in Washington’s waters.