Research demonstrating the need for continued late winter/spring bans on motor vehicles on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lands north and east of Ellensburg will be reviewed at a public gathering Monday, Jan. 7.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at Central Washington University, 400 East University Way, in rooms 137 A & B of the Student Union & Recreation Center. Campus parking is free.
Seasonal driving bans for parts of the Quilomene and Whiskey Dick wildlife areas have been in effect for four years in an effort to keep wintering elk from fleeing to neighboring farms, where they do damage and compete with livestock.
Since 2008, to analyze the bans' effectiveness, the movements of 109 "bugged" elk have been recorded by GPS. Some 400,000 elk location data points were collected.
Also on the agenda is an update on The Naneum Ridge to Columbia River Recreation Plan being developed by WDFW, the Washington Department of Natural Resources and a 16-member citizen group. That plan should be out for formal review by mid-2013.
An online survey to facilitate public input for this planning process is available through Friday, Jan. 4, at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5FLNP6R.
COLUMBIA CHANGES IN THE OFFING
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider revisions to Columbia River salmon management policies at its Jan. 11-12 meeting in Olympia.
The public can comment through Friday, Jan. 4, on the proposals that are available for review on the commission's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/. Comments can be submitted to email@example.com. The public also will have a chance to comment on the draft policy at the Jan. 11-12 meeting.
Key elements of the state panel's revamped guidelines for Columbia River Basin Salmon Management include:
? Promoting conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead while increasing efforts toward harvest of abundant hatchery fish.
? Prioritizing recreational fisheries for salmon and steelhead in the mainstem lower Columbia River and commercial fisheries in off-channel areas.
? Phasing out the use of gillnets by non-tribal fishers in the mainstem by 2017, while maintaining the economic viability of the commercial fishery.
? Developing and implementing selective-fishing gear and techniques for commercial fisheries in the mainstem, and motivating commercial fishers to develop and implement them.
? Requiring sport salmon and steelhead fishers in the Columbia River and its tributaries to use barbless hooks beginning in 2013.
Oregon triggered the need for changes in Washington's guidelines by approving a new management framework for Columbia River fisheries within its jurisdiction earlier this month. Through the auspices of the federally mandated Columbia Compact, for many decades the two states have sought to synchronize their fishery policies, harvest guidelines and regulations.
SHRIMP CATCH SHIFTED TO PERSONAL USE
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission this month adopted changes to its inland Washington waters shrimp management guidelines that will lead to longer recreational shrimp openings this spring.
The panel mandated that 70 percent of the overall non-treaty shrimp catch in Puget Sound now be made available for the recreational fishery.
With the shift of more of the catch from commercial seasons to recreational opportunities, this spring's spot shrimp opening in the San Juan Islands could be up to 26 days longer, and the personal use prawn fishery in the Strait of Juan de Fuca could be extended by up to 31 days.
In Puget Sound proper, where substantial sport harvests already exist, seasons could be extended by one or two more days.
INLAND FISH ADVISERS SOUGHT
Nominations are being taken for appointment to WDFW's 2013-14 15-member Inland Fish Policy Advisory Group. The deadline is Friday, Jan. 25.
This panel gives regular input to WDFW on inland fish species management including trout, bass, panfish and kokanee and provides information to the public about issues and decisions concerning their management.
Panelists must have a broad interest in inland fish management and be good communicators.
The group meets at least three times each year. Between meetings, advisers will be asked to review and comment on written materials.
Members of this citizen advisory committees are not paid and often will have to pay travel expenses to attend formal gatherings.
Nominations may be submitted with groups or individual and self-nominations also are accepted. Current panel members are allowed to reapply. Affiliation with an organized sport fishing or conservation group is not a requisite.
Paper or email nominations must include:
? The candidate's name, address and telephone number as well as any affiliations.
? Information about a candidate's experiences and species or areas of interest that exemplifies why they would make good advisers should be included together with references.
? Contact information for the nominating entity.
Bruce Bolding of the department's Fish Management Division should receive submissions. Mail them to him at 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501 or email them to Bruce.Bolding@dfw.wa.gov.
More information about the inland fish advisory panel can be obtained by contacting Bolding at 360-902-8417.
WINTER-RUN HATCHERY WATCH
With restrictions now prohibiting inter-basin transfers of hatchery winter-run steelhead eggs to make up deficits if a hatchery does not get its needed spawners, it is more important than ever for enough adult fish to reach their artificial spawning destinations.
Under the state's steelhead management plan and individual hatchery genetics management plans, facilities are directed to spawn the earliest returning adipose fin-clipped adults.
For more details in individual hatchery programs for winter-run steelhead, visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/hatcheries/hgmp/2002-2005_archive.html#pugetsound and http://wdfw.wa.gov/hatcheries/esa.html
As of Thursday, Dec. 27, these are the numbers, reported by installation, of adult hatchery winter-run steelhead trapped, eggs already taken and other details:
Maritime Heritage Center Hatchery (Whatcom Creek): one adult, no eggs taken
Kendall Creek Hatchery (North Fork Nooksack River): 31 adults, 28,000 eggs taken (target 165,000 egg take)
Marblemount Hatchery (Cascade River, Skagit): 30 adults, 11,000 eggs taken (target 275,000 egg take)
Whitehorse Hatchery (North Fork Stillaguamish River): 40 adults, 56,386 eggs taken
Tokul Creek Hatchery (Snoqualmie River, Snohomish): 309 adults, 322,920 eggs taken
Soos Creek Hatchery (Green River): 57 adults, no eggs taken
Dungeness Hatchery (Dungeness River): 22 adults, 14,000 eggs taken
Bogachiel Hatchery (Bogachiel River, Quillayute): 580 adults, 306,000 eggs taken
Humptulips Hatchery (Humptulips River): 410 adults, 103,750 eggs taken
Forks Creek Hatchery (Willapa River): 371 adults, no eggs taken
Cowlitz Hatchery (Cowlitz River): 634 adults, no eggs taken
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983 has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http://pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoors.