Steelhead issues and establishing waterfowl hunting seasons will be on the agenda when the state Fish and Wildlife Commission meets later this week.
The commission is scheduled to receive an update on the state steelhead management plan and hear a briefing on the steelhead at-risk report.
Three staffers from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife will give the briefing on the department’s efforts to implement the statewide steelhead management plan. Among the presenters will be Steve Thiesfeld, Region 6 fish program manager. Region 6 includes Pierce and Thurston counties.
Part of the update will be a look at the agency’s effort to establish wild steelhead gene banks in three areas of the Puget Sound region.
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Studies have shown hatchery steelhead compete with wild steelhead and that interbreeding can reduce survival rates for wild steelhead, according to Jim Scott, director of the fish program. The department is looking to designate at least one gene bank in Hood Canal and Strait of Juan de Fuca, central and south Puget Sound, and north Puget Sound.
A series of public meetings have been held in recent weeks to gather the public’s input on which rivers in each region should be selected for establishing a wild steelhead gene bank. The department has already selected three tributaries of the lower Columbia River to serve as gene banks.
Erik Neatherlin, fish science manager for the department, will brief the commission on the at-risk report. The report identifies which steelhead populations are most at risk, what are the threats to those fish, and what strategies and action can be taken.
The discussions are scheduled to start about 9 a.m. Friday.
WATERFOWL SEASONS: With duck populations slightly above last year, hunters should expect season lengths and bag limits to be similar to the 2014-15 season.
The commission will be briefed by waterfowl section manager Don Kraege and will hold a public hearing on proposed regulation changes.
The discussion is scheduled to begin about 9 a.m. Saturday.
OTHER ITEMS: Also on the agenda are discussions on the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project that is looking at the poor survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead in marine waters. There will be a briefing on implementation of hatchey reforms. The commission also will hear an update on the status of spotted owls and marbled murrelets.
IF YOU GO
WHEN: Starts at 8 a.m. Friday and 8:30 a.m. Aug. 8.
WHERE: Natural Resource Building, Room 172, 1111 Washington St. SE Olympia.
AGENDA: Detailed agenda at wdfw.wa.gov/commission.