OLYMPIA – The public will have two extra weeks to comment on an updated draft management plan that will be used by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to guide operations at the Soos Creek Hatchery in King County.
Brian Missildine, a WDFW hatchery scientist, said the comment period was extended through Jan. 18 to give the public more time to review the draft plan, known as a Hatchery and Genetic Management Plan (HGMP).
The HGMP describes the operation of the state hatchery program for fall chinook salmon in the Green (Duwamish) River Basin and the potential effects of the program on wild fish species – including salmon and steelhead – that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The draft plan is available for review on WDFW’s website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/hatcheries/hgmp/) or at the department’s office in Olympia. To schedule an appointment to review the plan in person, call (360) 902-2782.
Comments on the draft HGMP can be submitted by U.S. mail to Hatcheries at 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA, 98501, or by email at HGMP-PScomments@dfw.wa.gov.
WDFW has updated the draft HGMP to reflect current efforts to protect and restore wild salmon in the basin, Missildine said.
Public comments, WDFW's response and any resulting modifications to the draft HGMP will be posted on the department's website. The finalized HGMP will be forwarded to NOAA Fisheries, the federal agency responsible for implementing the ESA.
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 the Columbia River and Puget Sound.
In the coming weeks, WDFW will be seeking public comment on updated and revised draft HGMPs for other hatchery programs in Puget Sound. Those draft plans also will be posted on WDFW’s website.