OLYMPIA — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will conduct a public hearing and take action on proposed 2015-16 migratory waterfowl hunting seasons during a public meeting Aug. 7-8 in Olympia.
The commission will also receive briefings on a variety of other management issues, including the implementation of the Statewide Steelhead Management Plan and a report that provides an overview of threats to steelhead populations and the management actions designed to address those threats.
The commission will convene in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. on Aug. 7 and 8:30 a.m. the following day.
State waterfowl seasons proposed by WDFW are mostly similar to those adopted last year. The general duck season would be open for 107 days — from Oct. 17 to 21 and from Oct. 24 to Jan. 31. A special youth hunting weekend is also proposed for Sept. 19 and 20.
As in previous years, goose hunting seasons would vary by management areas across the state, but most would open in mid-October and run through late January.
In southwest Washington, however, the department is proposing several changes to the goose hunting season, including closing the season for dusky Canada geese and expanding the length of the season for other species.
The proposed changes also include requiring hunters to pass a new goose identification test before receiving authorizations to hunt in Goose Management Area 2A (Wahkiakum, Cowlitz and Clark counties) and 2B (Grays Harbor and Pacific counties). Waterfowl managers are looking to ensure protection of dusky Canada geese in those counties, where the small population of this subspecies of Canada geese winters.
In other business, the commission will receive an update on the status of spotted owl and marbled murrelet populations. In addition, the commission will receive briefings on commercial fisheries for coastal pelagic species, efforts to reform hatchery practices to support the recovery of naturally spawning salmon and steelhead populations, and the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, which is investigating the causes of poor, early marine survival for juvenile salmon and steelhead.