The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will discuss the invasive European green crab, lower Columbia River white sturgeon, commercial shellfish regulation and much more during a virtual meeting slated for Thursday through Saturday. The Commission kicks off work Thursday with meetings of its Big Tent, Habitat, and Fish committees to discuss several items, including the agency sustainability plan, shrubsteppe restoration proviso, and coastal steelhead management. On Friday, the Commission will hear briefings and take public comment on proposed rule updates for commercial shellfish fisheries, as well as an annual update on white sturgeon population and management in the lower Columbia River.

WDFW staff will brief the Commission on the new South Puget Sound Wildlife Area Management Plan, which will guide the Department’s management and budgeting decisions for the 5,790-acre wildlife area spread across Mason, Kitsap, Pierce, and Thurston counties. The plan was developed with the help of the South Puget Sound Wildlife Area Advisory Committee, a diverse group of local partners and community members interested in conservation and outdoor recreation. The plan also underwent a 30-day public comment period for neighbors, partners, wildlife area visitors, and other interested people to provide feedback.

The Commission will also hear an update on a five-year, 230-acre grazing permit on the Spears Unit of the Cowlitz Wildlife Area. The goal of the permit is to reduce reed canarygrass, which will improve habitat for native wildlife such as elk and waterfowl and create positive working relationships with nearby residents.

To conclude the agenda on Friday, the Commission will hear a briefing on European green crabs, including the immediate actions to implement Governor Jay Inslee’s emergency order regarding infestations at the Lummi Nation’s Sea Pond and Washington’s coastal bays, and the Department’s emergency measures funding request to the state legislature. More information and regular updates on WDFW’s European green crab emergency management are available on WDFW's Website.

On Saturday, University of Washington staff will brief the Commission on a wolf population model they developed, working with WDFW staff, that estimates wolf population dynamics in Washington, the species’ use of space and habitat, and expected time to meet state-level down listing and delisting criteria.

The Commission will take open public comment on Friday morning, as well as Saturday morning. If you'd like to offer public comments, pre-register on WDFW’s website.

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