Comments open for updated Elwha chinook hatchery plan
The public can comment through July 16 on an updated draft management plan that will be used to operate the hatchery program for chinook salmon in the Elwha River watershed.
The draft plan, written by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, describes the operation of the artificial production program for chinook salmon in the Elwha River and the potential effects of the program on wild fish species, such as salmon and steelhead, that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
The agency has updated the draft Elwha River chinook plan to better reflect current efforts to protect and restore wild salmon and steelhead populations, said Ron Warren, regional fish program manager for the department.
“Since completing the original draft plan for Elwha River chinook salmon nearly a decade ago, we have made significant changes to our hatchery operations,” Warren said in a news release. “This updated draft plan is designed to be consistent with those changes.”
Public comments, the department’s response and any resulting modifications to the draft will be posted on the agency website. The final plan will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), the federal agency responsible for implementing the Endangered Species Act.
NOAA Fisheries is currently working to produce a final environmental impact statement on the effect of hatchery programs on protected salmon and steelhead populations in Puget Sound and Columbia River.
Later this summer, the state agency will seek comment on updated and revised draft plans for other hatchery programs in the Puget Sound and Columbia River regions. Those draft plans also will be posted on the department’s website.
The plan: The draft Elwha River hatchery plan is available for review at wdfw.wa.gov/hatcheries/hgmp
To comment: You can submit comments by email to Jon Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by mail to: Jon Anderson, 600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501.
Public meetings: Two meetings have been scheduled to discuss the draft plan. They will be held:
• Monday: From 6-8 p.m. at the WDFW North Puget Sound Regional Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., in Mill Creek.
• Thursday: From 6-8 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 321 East 5th St., in Port Angeles.