Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
Recently WDFW closed the Chehalis for all fishing for Spring Chinook protection and I have some real objections to how Region 6 did this. The issue needs to be done in a forward thinking manner fully engaging all stakeholders and citizens of the Chehalis Basin. That is not what happened. I will do this up in two post.
Attached is a letter to the Director and Commission outlining my opposition to the closure of the Chehalis River and tributaries to all fishing for the purpose of protection of Spring Chinook. Let me put forth up front that Spring Chinook do need protection and not just a temporary band aid approach but a long term strategy with public buy in is critical.
The closure actions taken by Region 6 ( R-6) staff do nothing to address the issue long term and in my view intentionally were designed to limit public input. The simplest way to explain this without writing a book is to look at the 2019 NOF process and the use of the emergency rules. Three meetings were held for 2019 NOF , one public on March 5 and two GH Adviser meetings on April 8 and April 23. The issue of low Spring Chinook returns was briefly discussed but nothing in great detail. On May 13 R-6 announced the complete closure of the Chehalis for game fishing with a Emergency Rule. The use of a Emergency Rule does not require public input as does the APA ( rule making process ) and I believe limiting public input was the intent of staff.
Additionally the three NOF meetings could have been utilized to fully engage the public and Advisers for including what actions were necessary in the 2019 / 2020 fishing rules. R-6 chose not to engage the stake holders and on July 2 again imposed a emergency closure which again limited any public input. As the May 13 closure had a ending date of June 30 a Emergency Rule would have been required to fill in the gap to the formal adoption of the 2019 / 2020 rules in late July when the Director formally signed off on the seasons. Bottom line is this, WDF&W uses time by not addressing issues to create a emergency. They do this to limit the public's ability to be involved and provide input.
So my reasons for objecting to the Chehalis closure are outlined in my attached letter to the Director.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in