Well I have a couple of things to share today. First up is the preseason forecast and they look reasonably decent. The Spring Chinook forecast of 3475 is excellent as are all three fall salmon species forecast. Now the down side is we have not made escapement on Fall Chinook 4 out of five years so we will not have a targeted Fall Chinook fishery. Part of the GHMP is if we fail to make escapement 3 out of 5 years no targeted fishery on that stock just incidental.
Willapa has fairly good Coho numbers, Chum are 4594 above escapement, but NOS (wild) Chinook are 1617 below escapement prior to harvest with 31,401 hatchery adults returning. Region 6 Fish Program Manager Steve Theisfeld has postponed the Willapa NOF until he receives guidance from the Commission on a interim harvest policy as the new Willapa Management Plan (WMP) is not in place at this time. So as we head into North of Falcon (NOF) all signs point to a good GH Rec fishery but Willapa is in limbo. More to come I am sure. So folks GH NOF is off to the races and Willapa NOF is waiting on Commission direction.
Next I would like to share a letter to the new Director on issues revolving around stream / stock designations utilized for development of the WMP. The issues outlined are rather critical for the Willapa hatchery production as the designations will define what, where, and hatchery production levels will be possible.
February 16, 2015
I am writing to address several issues but first I would like to welcome you to our state and your new position as Director of WDF&W. As a seasoned administrator I am sure you will find your position interesting, challenging, infuriating, but never boring so welcome aboard and I wish you well in your endeavor.
To my issues and the reason I feel I need your assistance. In the recent past I have had to utilize the Public Document Request (PDR) process to obtain information on several issues. I say "had to" because staff either would not provide (and sometimes not even respond) to requests for information from myself or other citizens. Often when staff did respond it was in what is commonly called "agency speak" which is pages of verbiage that said everything & nothing but seldom directly in a forthright manner addressed the issue in question.
So my thoughts are that we are starting a new day and now it might be the time to try things the old fashion way in which a citizen can ask a question and the agency responds in a forthright manner. My questions reside in HSRG, the 2010 Willapa Management Plan that is utilized but not adopted by the Commission, and Willapa Management Policy currently being developed. Being fully aware of the process the agency utilizes with staff to draft responses to communications for the Director I feel this effort will help myself, other citizens, and staff understand the issues in which I am seeking asking your assistance.
My questions have a starting point in 2009 when HSRG was formally adopted and became binding in Washington State statute. Additionally one of the guiding principles of HSRG is that decisions be "scientifically defensible".
Issue1. Question - In 2010 WDF&W created the Willapa Management Plan (but it was never adopted by the Commission) and has utilized it since that time. In doing so staff utilized the HSRG stream designations of Primary for Naselle, contributing for North River, Willapa and the remaining streams stabilizing.
I am requesting that your office direct staff to provide the biological and scientific rational utilized in assigning these HSRG compliant designations for the streams in the Willapa Estuary used in creating the 2010 Willapa Management Plan. As Mr. Ron Warren and Mr. Kirt Hughes were the primary architects of the 2010 Willapa Management Plan and are still employed by the agency the information should be readily available.
Issue 2. Question - Currently utilizing instructions from the Commission WDF&W staff is developing a new Willapa Management Policy. In this process staff have consistently utilized different stream designations for the same streams in the Willapa Estuary. Citizens participating in process have watched as the designations were altered resulting in a modified AHA model output. Most assume that the information presented complied with HSRG mandates as misleading the public would certainly not be a option.
I am requesting that your office direct staff to provide the biological and scientific rational utilized in assigning the HSRG compliant designations for the streams in the Willapa Estuary in creating the 2015 Willapa Management Policy and AHA model runs.
Issue 3. Question - WDF&W staff in developing a new Willapa Management Policy have consistently utilized different stock designations (segregated / integrated) for the streams in the Willapa Estuary. Again citizens participating in the process have watched as the stock designations were altered resulting in a modified AHA model output. Again most assume that the information presented complied with HSRG mandates as misleading the public would certainly not be a option.
I am requesting that you direct staff to provide the biological and scientific rational utilized in assigning the HSRG compliant stock designations for the streams in the Willapa Estuary when creating both the draft 2010 Willapa Management Plan and the 2015 Willapa Management Policy options and AHA model runs.
In closing let me say that I feel the answers to my three questions need to be provided to myself and the public if WDF&W staff are to comply with Commission guidance for a "transparent" process for the development of the 2015 Willapa Management Policy.
CC: WDF&W Commission
Mr. Jim Scott
Mr. Steve Theisfeld
Posted on Thu, February 26, 2015
by Dave Hamilton