OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will invite public comments on plans to restructure salmon and sturgeon fisheries on the lower Columbia River at a meeting scheduled Nov. 8-9 in Olympia.
In addition, the commission will take comments on new options proposed for allocating the Puget Sound shrimp catch along with a proposed update to rules for compensating landowners who lose livestock to bears, cougars and wolves.
The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will discuss all three issues at a public meeting in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., in Olympia. An agenda for the meeting is available on the commission's website at http://goo.gl/HtqhI
The commission will consider taking action on all three issues at a meeting scheduled in December.
Since early last month, representatives from Washington and Oregon have been meeting to discuss options for restructuring fisheries on the lower Columbia River. At the direction of Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, fishery managers in that state have been working to develop a plan that would phase out the use of gillnets by non-tribal fishers in the mainstem lower Columbia River by 2016.
At the upcoming meeting, WDFW staff will brief the Washington commission on alternatives proposed by members of the bi-state workgroup, and their implications for Columbia River fisheries. The commission will then take public comments on those proposals, which are posted on WDFW's website at http://goo.gl/MCG5q
On a separate issue, the commission will discuss provisions of a new Puget Sound shrimp policy, along with proposed new options for allocating the catch of spot shrimp between recreational and commercial fisheries. Those options are posted on the commission's website at http://goo.gl/c092L
The commission will also invite public comments on several changes proposed in state rules for compensating ranchers and other landowners who lose livestock to predatory carnivores. Those changes would:
• Give top priority for compensation to ranchers who sign cooperative agreements with WDFW committing them to use non-lethal measures to protect their livestock.
• Provide compensation for guard dogs and other animals used to guard livestock.
• Allow ranchers to receive compensation for weight loss in livestock and other effects of wildlife predation that are not directly tied to the death or injury of an animal.
• Establish a new way to determine the value of livestock lost to predation.
Prior to discussing that issue, commissioners are scheduled to attend an annual meeting with Gov. Chris Gregoire in the Governor's office. The Governor appoints commission members to six-year terms, subject to confirmation by the state Senate.
Additional information about the commission and upcoming meetings is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/