FISH AND WILDLIFE
Effective Date of Rule: May 16, 2007.
Purpose: The purpose of this rule making is to allow fishing opportunity in the Columbia River while protecting salmon listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. This rule making implements federal court orders governing Washington's relationship with treaty Indian tribes, federal law governing Washington's relationship with Oregon, and Washington fish and wildlife commission policy guidance for Columbia River fisheries.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing WAC 232-28-61900D and 232-28-61900H; and amending WAC 232-28-619.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 77.04.130, 77.12.045, and 77.12.047.
Other Authority: United States v. Oregon, Civil No. 68-513-KI (D. Or.), Order Adopting 2005-2007 Interim Management Agreement For Upriver Chinook, Sockeye, Steelhead, Coho & White Sturgeon (May 11, 2005) (Doc. No. 2407); Northwest Gillnetters Ass'n v. Sandison, 95 Wn.2d 638, 628 P.2d 800 (1981); Washington fish and wildlife commission policies concerning Columbia River fisheries; 40 Stat. 515 (Columbia River compact).
Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: The upriver spring chinook run is tracking close to the preseason forecast of 78,500 fish. With a projected run of this size, additional opportunity for sport fisheries in the Columbia River is available. The catch expectations for this fishery are conservative and impacts to ESA-listed fish will be within the guideline if the run size is less than the forecast of 78,500 fish. The season is consistent with Washington fish and wildlife commission guidance for 2006-2007. The extended season is expected to allow for harvest of hatchery chinook while minimizing impacts to ESA listed species. Rule is consistent with joint state actions of Washington (WDFW) and Oregon (ODFW) departments of fish and wildlife on May 15, 2007. There is insufficient time to promulgate permanent regulations.
Washington and Oregon jointly regulate Columbia River fisheries under the congressionally ratified Columbia River compact. Four Indian tribes have treaty fishing rights in the Columbia River. The treaties preempt state regulations that fail to allow the tribes an opportunity to take a fair share of the available fish, and the states must manage other fisheries accordingly. Sohappy v. Smith, 302 F. Supp. 899 (D. Or. 1969). A federal court order sets the current parameters for sharing between treaty Indians and others. United States v. Oregon, Civil No. 68 513 KI (D. Or.), Order Adopting 2005-2007 Interim Management Agreement For Upriver Chinook, Sockeye, Steelhead, Coho & White Sturgeon (May 11, 2005) (Doc. No. 2407).
Some Columbia River Basin salmon and steelhead stocks are listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued biological opinions under 16 U.S.C. § 1536 that allow for some incidental take of these species in treaty and nontreaty Columbia River fisheries. The Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife commissions have developed policies to guide the implementation of these biological opinions in the states' regulation of nontreaty fisheries.
Columbia River nontreaty fisheries are monitored very closely to ensure compliance with federal court orders, the Endangered Species Act, and commission guidelines. Because conditions change rapidly, the fisheries are managed almost exclusively by emergency rule. Representatives from the WDFW and ODFW convene public hearings and take public testimony when considering proposals for new emergency rules. WDFW and ODFW then adopt regulations reflecting agreements reached.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 2.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: May 15, 2007.
J. P. Koenings
1. Columbia River:
i. From the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the I -5 Bridge (except for those waters closed under permanent regulations). Salmon and steelhead: Open May 16 through May 31, 2007. Daily limit 6 salmon, of which no more than 2 may be adult salmon. Release all wild Chinook, wild coho, sockeye, and chum. Minimum size 12 inches. Daily limit 2 trout; release wild steelhead and wild cutthroat. Minimum size 12-inches.
ii. For the mainstem Columbia River salmon and steelhead fishery upstream of the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line, effective through June 15, 2007, salmon and steelhead required to be released may not be totally removed from the water, except that anglers fishing from vessels thirty feet or longer as shown on their state registration or Coast Guard documentation are exempt from this subsection.
The following section of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed effective May 16, 2007:
|WAC 232-28-61900D||Exceptions to statewide rules -- Columbia River. (07-72)|
|WAC 232-28-61900H||Exceptions to statewide rules -- Columbia River.|