Agency considers changes in rules governing work in, near water

A major revision in the state’s hydraulic codes will be considered when the state Fish and Wildlife Commission meets Friday and Saturday in Olympia.

Designed to protect fish life, the code authorizes the department to set rules for construction projects, mineral prospecting and certain other activities conducted in or near state waters, according to a department news release. Projects that are subject to the hydraulic rules include work on bulkheads, culverts, piers and docks.

The commission is scheduled to consider a proposal from department staffers to revise the code to reflect developments in environmental science, technology and state law since the last comprehensive update in 1994. In August, the commission held a public hearing on the proposals part of the public-review process conducted by the department over the past three years.

“Much has changed over the past 20 years in the field of fish and shellfish protection,” Randi Thurston, manager of the habitat protection division, said in the release. “Our goal is to improve protection for those resources, while also streamlining the application process for those who need permits to conduct work in and around state waters.”

The discussion is scheduled to take place about 1:55 p.m. Friday. The times are tentative, depending on the progress of the meeting until then.

WILLAPA BAY SALMON: Steve Thiesfeld, Region 6 fish program manager, will lead a discussion with the commission on the Willapa Bay salmon management policy, which will provide regional guidance on hatchery and harvest reforms to meet conservation and economic objectives for the fishery.

In recent years, the commission has adopted similar salmon management policies for Grays Harbor and the Columbia River.

There also will be a public hearing on the policy. The discussion is scheduled to begin about 9 a.m. Saturday.

DIRECTOR RECRUITMENT: The commissioners will discuss recruiting a new department director to replace Phil Anderson, who will be retiring at the end of the year. Public input will be allowed at this time. That discussion is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. Friday.

WHEN: Meetings both days begin at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: Room 172, Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia.

INFORMATION: You can see a complete agenda at wdfw.wa.gov/commission.