Here is a great opportunity to rebuild and sustain wild steelhead populations in the rivers of Puget Sound. As a supporter of Wild Steelheaders United, we encourage you to speak up.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will be setting aside some Puget Sound rivers to be managed exclusively for wild steelhead. These rivers — “wild steelhead gene banks” – will not receive hatchery steelhead plants. The purpose is to provide strongholds for wild steelhead where they have the potential to be self-sustaining.
Importantly, fishing is allowed on rivers designated as gene banks if a fishery can be structured that maintains the health of the wild steelhead population.
Establishment of wild steelhead gene banks is required by Washington’s Statewide Steelhead Management Plan, adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2008. In 2012, the Sol Duc and Clearwater rivers on the Olympic Peninsula were the first gene banks designated and several more have been designated in southwest Washington.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has scheduled several public meetings in July to inform its selection of Puget Sound wild steelhead gene banks. The meeting schedule is below:
Educational Workshop; 5PM-9PM on Monday, July 13th – Seattle, Phinney Center; 6532 Phinney Ave N
Public Comment Meetings; 6PM-9PM on Tuesday, July 21th – Seattle, Phinney Center; 6532 Phinney Ave N
Public Comment Meetings; 6PM-9PM on Monday, July 27th – Mount Vernon, Skagit PUD; 1415 Freeway Dr.
Public Comment Meetings; 6PM-9PM on Tuesday, July 28th – Sequim, Trinity Methodist Church; 100 S Blake Ave
Wild Steelheaders United encourages you to attend the educational workshop in Seattle the evening of July 13th, and one or more of the three public meetings.
Before those meetings begin, we will be posting information on the Wild Steelheaders United web site, www.wildsteelheaders.org, about which rivers should be designated gene banks and the reasons why, and we hope that you will use this information in your comments the Department. So stay tuned.