FISH AND WILDLIFE
Effective Date of Rule: February 1, 2012.
Purpose: The purpose of this rule making is to allow nontreaty recreational fishing opportunity in the Columbia River while protecting fish listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 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: Amending WAC 232-28-619.
Other Authority: United States v. Oregon, Civil No. 68-513-KI (D. Or.), Order Adopting 2008-2017 United States v. Oregon Management Agreement (Aug. 12, 2008) (Doc. No. 2546); 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: Sets the 2012 spring recreational salmon season in the Columbia River during March and April, in the area from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/Washington border. Adjusts the hatchery adult bag limit in Deep River to be consistent with the adjacent Columbia River when both areas are open. Prohibits full removal of nonlegal fish from the water. Imposes an angling closure in the area of Sand Island Slough. Regulation is consistent with guidance from Washington fish and wildlife commission guidance and director, and compact/joint state action of January 26, 2012. The fishery is consistent with the U.S. v Oregon Management Agreement and the associated biological opinion. Conforms Washington state rules with Oregon state rules. There is insufficient time to adopt permanent rules.
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 2008-2017 United States v. Oregon Management Agreement (Aug. 12, 2008) (Doc. No. 2546).
Some Columbia River Basin salmon and steelhead stocks are listed as threatened or endangered under the federal ESA. On May 5, 2008, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a biological opinion under 16 U.S.C. § 1536 that allows for some incidental take of these species in treaty and nontreaty Columbia River fisheries governed by the 2008-2017 U.S. v. Oregon Management Agreement. The Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife commissions have developed policies to guide the implementation of such 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 ESA, and commission guidelines. Because conditions change rapidly, the fisheries are managed almost exclusively by emergency rule. Representatives from the Washington (WDFW) and Oregon (ODFW) departments of fish and wildlife 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 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
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: January 27, 2012.
1. Columbia River:
i. Effective March 1 through April 6, 2012, except closed March 20, March 27 and April 3. Open for fishing for salmonids and shad. From a true north-south line through Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock (defined as a deadline marker on the Oregon bank, located approximately four miles downstream from Bonneville Dam Powerhouse 1, projecting a straight line through the western tip of Pierce Island to a deadline marker on the Washington bank at Beacon Rock.). Daily salmonid limit is 6 fish (hatchery Chinook or hatchery steelhead), of which no more than 2 may be adults and no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Release all wild Chinook. Salmon minimum size is 12 inches.
ii. Effective March 1 through April 6, 2012, except closed March 20, March 27 and April 3. Open to fishing for salmonids and shad from the bank only, and closed to fishing from boats for salmonids and shad from Beacon Rock (see boundary description in section 1i) upstream to 600 feet below the fish ladder at the new Bonneville Dam powerhouse. Daily salmonid limit is 6 fish (hatchery Chinook or hatchery steelhead), of which no more than 2 may be adults and no more than one may be an adult Chinook. Release all wild Chinook. Salmon minimum size is 12 inches.
iii. From Tower Island power lines in Bonneville Pool upstream to the Oregon and Washington border, plus the Washington bank between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines located approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam (except for those waters closed under permanent regulations): Effective March 16 through May 2, 2012: daily salmonid limit is 6 fish, (hatchery Chinook or hatchery steelhead), of which no more than 2 may be adult Chinook salmon or hatchery steelhead or one of each. Release all wild Chinook. Salmon minimum size is 12 inches.
iv. Effective February 15, 2012, until further notice: For the mainstem Columbia River salmon and steelhead fishery from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Oregon/Washington border, it is unlawful when fishing from vessels which are less than 30 feet in length, substantiated by Coast Guard documentation or Marine Board registration, to totally remove from the water any salmon or steelhead required to be released.
v. Effective February 1 through April 30, 2012, all angling is prohibited from a line between the upstream end of Sand Island, located east of Rooster Rock State Park on the Columbia River, to a marker on the Oregon shore, downstream to a line between the lower end of Sand Island and a marker on the Oregon shore.
2. Deep River (Wahkiakum Co.): Effective March 1, 2012, until further notice: the hatchery adult Chinook daily limit will be the same as the adjacent mainstem Columbia River during those days when the mainstem Columbia River is open for adult Chinook retention. When the adjacent mainstem Columbia River is closed for adult Chinook retention, the salmon daily limit will revert to permanent rules for Deep River.