WILLAPA ADVISER MEETING AND GRAYS HARBOR ON THE COMMISSION AGENDA

WILLAPA ADVISER MEETING AND GRAYS HARBOR ON THE COMMISSION AGENDA


Bunch of stuff to get to you so first the new Willapa models are out so give me a shout if you want them. Beware you cannot print them out on a standard printer and they give a MAC fits.

Below is a announcement from Region 6 as to upcoming Commission actions as to Grays Harbor.

From Steve Thiesfeld:

At the February 27th Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting, Department staff did not recommend any changes to the Grays Harbor Salmon Management Policy. However, Commissioners asked the Department if there were any adaptive management measures that could be implemented this year to assist in setting the seasons. Department staff committed to reviewing some options and potentially bringing those options back to the Commission for further discussion. With North of Falcon upon us, some resolution is needed in short order.

Department staff will work with the Fish Committee on some initial ideas. If we feel there are some viable options for consideration, we would bring them forward for a discussion with the entire Commission. We are tentatively looking at the afternoon of March 22nd for a special Commission conference call to discuss this issue. We feel it is important for the public to have an opportunity to provide some feedback regarding any options that are discussed. Therefore we are planning on having listening stations in both Montesano and Olympia for you to listen to the discussion and then provide any testimony. We will do our best to get any options developed out to you in a timely manner, although there may only be a few days between Fish Committee and the special Commission call.

I'll try to keep everyone informed when a final date and time are selected.

Next how did the Willapa Adviser meeting go? Well OK I think. Steve was sick but Chad and Barbara did the run out and Ron Warren sat in to support them. With the change in the makeup of the Advisers staff was very careful to walk all through each issue from the model to the preseason harvest. They offered up opportunities to input seasons, explained things well, even justifying why such a huge preseason Coho forecast. The answer by the way was it mathed out and last year Willapa performed much better than other watersheds around the state and looked to do the same again. So from my perspective if I was to look at it from the point of view as a staffer it would be a solid B+ for staff with a A for the Advisers themselves.

From my view A for advisers but a C for staff. Why? Two items jump at me from my notes. First when a Adviser asked if Willapa Policy was on the Commission agenda coming up shortly as Grays Harbor. The answer was not direct as it was not no but about stream designation. Now this is a big deal. Change Naselle to stabilizing ( low straying & escapement requirements allowing more commercial harvest ) which many are trying to do and you totally alter the south Bay fisheries. So by not fully vetting the issue and why this was being done was not a good thing.

The second was when pressured on why the proposal to open certain reaches on the Naselle and Nemah closed to inriver Rec ( one Adviser has been pressuring them for several years ) that have huge numbers of hatchery fish. Staff fell back to the standard will look at it thing, property owners not likely to care for it, just the usual thing. Standard answer but does little to fully vet or respond to the question and is how staff dodges things such as this.

In the public session I spoke to that. I urged the Advisers and public when making season or fishery proposals to not just ask but to require staff to respond in writing with reason and rational for their response if negative or positive. This is important as to develop a Rec or commercial idea one must propose something and if rejected use the rejection ( that is why a documented response is needed ) to look at ones proposal adjust / modify / just work it toward a acceptable proposal. It is necessary as it is difficult to do anything in two Adviser meetings. ( that is all they will have ) This is a real issue and that is why issues and proposals just set year after year as the agency is a master at rope a dope and utilizes it to avoid addressing and formally responding to proposals. Get it in writing the only way to deal with staff responses.

Dave


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