Next up for Willapa we have the " Dec. 6 - Public Workshop WDFW fishery managers will host a public workshop from 2-5 p.m.; Raymond High School cafeteria, 1016 Commercial St., Raymond " and I urge all to attend. That said many are questioning the value of participating because one more time it looks like another WDF&W " dog & pony show " with it just being a cover for WDF&W staff to go through the motions until they can get out of Raymond. One could easily draw that conclusion and in many ways be correct or maybe not as it is a matter of perception I think. This link is to WDF&W's website where you can download the documents provided by WDF&W's staff.

I will briefly hit the lay of the land as to process below but I urge all to view the issues below as the reasons one SHOULD PARTICIPATE rather than not. If folks do not get in to the fray and fight for change all you will get is more of the same.

So recap time as to process as to where we are.

Public Information: Staff have made a huge effort to make information available and even provided clarification and assistance in sorting through it. That is good and now the bad. It was a virtual paper blizzard ( one gentleman collected every piece and it was a stack nearly 2 inches thick ) was not correlated, labeled as to what part of the process it related to, just mountains of information. For anyone outside the agency or not familiar with WDF&W processes it was and is almost impossible to understand.

My favorite result from the public meeting earlier is the paper poll resulting in the list of "aspirations " that resulted in Commercials wanting seven days a week fisheries and Rec 25% increase in harvest. Now not 25% of the harvestable fish but a 25% Rec increase above the PRESENT harvest which Commercial interest take around 86% of the total harvest. Lord love a duck as that is simply amazing to see paraded out in this day and age.

Draft Of The Revised Willapa Plan: At this time it has yet to be fully vetted for the public, well for anyone be it Rec, Conservationist, or Commercial. It is a modified watered down version of the Grays Harbor Plan ( GHMP ) lacking in the definition of the GHMP. It was just thrown out there for a citizen to read and figure out on their own. Not the best way to bring forward a draft of anything let alone a fisheries management plan. At this point in time I doubt if few outside agency staff have any idea what so ever as to just what the WMP means as to implementation.

Options: WDF&W staff seems to be fixated on this bit. The options they are requesting revolve around HARVEST not conservation objectives. Some jumped on these and tried to rally around a harvest option presented by WDF&W but most did not. The thing is how on earth do you define harvest options when one has not defined conservation objectives or a time line to achieve them? From the public came 10 years but that is totally unrealistic. Four cycles which is 12 years for Coho & Chum an 16 years for Chinook would be the minimum time required when natural spawning stocks have been pounded to such low levels as in Willapa streams. Frankly I think that would be a very difficult goal to achieve. Another issue is the desire by WDF&W to manage Coho for the " aggregate " or total of all Willapa streams as a singular stock. You may be able to do that if you separate Willapa into two management zones North & South with North being 2T Willapa, North River, & Smith Creek. The Willapa is to diverse and spread out to manage for aggregate without driving some streams to very low levels chasing the harvest destined to the higher producing streams. This is why I find the approach of developing harvest options before conservation and production objectives put forth in HSRG ( hatchery reform ) not just puzzling but right at counterproductive.

AHA Model: The Excel spread sheet is utilized to project the probable outcome of scenarios developed, or options if you will. To some it is controversial but it is the tool WDF&W has chosen to utilize so that is what it will be. In the course of the last AD HOC Adviser meeting Mr. Appleby explained the AHA model somewhat. Followed by the normal questions and confusion that this type of issue always has with it. Mr. Appleby then asked WDF&W's Steve Theisfeld if he should show the results of a Option run that was nearly complete and Steve said NO. Opening up his lap top Mr. Appleby then again asked Steve again saying I have it right here and again Steve said NO. Why Mr. Theisfeld chose to withhold that information I do not know but it is not a appropriate response as it resulted in information being withheld. ( again ) This is not how create transparency in any public discussion in my view. So little is known at this time as to what information WDF&W provided for the model, sources, and what data is documented and what is a best guess thing.

AD HOC Advisers: I am not sure what WDF&W staff thought this group could accomplish. Now some of the additional 5 AD HOC members brought into the process for this purpose only seemed to be sincerely trying to understand and participate but the regular crowd not so much. One long time Willapa Adviser even told staff he had not even bothered to read the material staff provided in a three ring binder. The meetings from a spectators point of view were unruly, loud, and pretty much the normal Willapa waltz with the Commercial interest. The other issue of a Commercials' conduct toward other citizens I have previously put out to folks and I see no need to revisit it but it happened, unfortunately.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in