Washington Adopts Steelhead PlanNews & Program Updates
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a new steelhead management plan designed to protect and rebuild wild stocks throughout the state. Wild Salmon Center was involved in the public process to shape this plan, providing written comments and direct testimony at the Commission's hearings.
Many of the conservation policies that Wild Salmon Center supported to restore wild steelhead stocks in specific watersheds were included in the final plan, including:
- A clear statement that protection and restoration of wild steelhead stocks is the state's highest priority in all aspects of steelhead management;
- Specific limits on genetic mixing between hatchery steelhead and wild fish in different types of hatchery operations, and the establishment of in-stream "gene banks" where wild stocks are protected from interaction with hatchery fish;
- A new focus on protecting wild steelhead through habitat-restoration programs and state fish-passage laws;
- A directive that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife establish performance goals for each wild steelhead stock and benchmarks for achieving them.
The statewide plan provides the institutional backbone for regional management plans (RMPs), which will contain the specific management prescriptions for wild steelhead rivers and will be completed in 2010 and 2011, with Treaty Tribe co-managers' involvement. The Wild Salmon Center will monitor the development of these RMPs, especially as they apply to Washington salmon stronghold basins.
Wild Salmon Center wants to especially thank our partners in the Wild Steelhead Coalition in Washington State, which played a lead role in helping to develop the state plan.