Keeping an eye on Snohomish County government

Commission Considers Transfer of 54 Acres in Snohomish County to Stillaguamish Tribe

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider approving a major update of the state’s hydraulic code rules and will conduct a public hearing on a proposed Willapa Bay salmon-management plan at a meeting scheduled Nov. 7-8 in Olympia.

The commission, a nine-member panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene at 8:30 a.m. both days in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St., on the state Capitol Campus.

An agenda for the meeting is available at

Designed to protect fish life, the state’s hydraulic code authorizes WDFW to establish rules for construction projects, mineral prospecting and certain other activities conducted in or near state waters. Projects subject to those rules include work on bulkheads, culverts, piers and docks.

At its upcoming meeting, the commission will consider WDFW’s proposal to revise the state’s hydraulic code rules 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 proposed rules as part of an extensive 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,” said Randi Thurston, manager of WDFW’s habitat protection division. “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.”

For more information on the proposed rule changes, see WDFW’s website at

WDFW’s work to develop a new policy for managing salmon fisheries in Willapa Bay will also be the subject of a public hearing at the commission’s November meeting. That policy is designed to provide regional guidance on hatchery and harvest reforms to meet conservation and economic objectives for the fishery.

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

WDFW is also holding a series of public meetings on the Willapa Bay policy in Raymond through mid-January. A schedule of meeting dates is posted on WDFW’s website at

In other business, the commission will:

  • Consider proposals by the department to transfer 54 acres of WDFW land in Snohomish County to the Stillaguamish Tribe, and acquire 2,005 acres of riparian and high meadow lands to protect habitat for fish and wildlife in Asotin County.
  • Receive briefings on several issues, including grazing policies on WDFW lands, proposed rules for the coastal commercial crab fishery and the state’s Open Meeting Act.
  • Discuss the recruitment of a new WDFW director, following an announcement by current director Phil Anderson that he plans to leave the department at the end of the year.


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