Occupy Skagit - The Commissioners Meeting

miyawaki

Active Member
#1
Thought I would start this thread to get views from the people who attended this morning's meeting.

I came away very encouraged.

First, there were only 45 minutes alloted to non-agenda items and the Skagit was not on the agenda. Secondly, after we finished, the Director Phil Anderson took an additional 20 minutes to bring us all up to date from last year. He did not have to do this. The WDFW and tribes have been talking and have agreed in principle that they want to remove the Skagit basin from it's current ESU. Anderson took great pains to say that it has been a, "hard process, not an excuse, but it has been long and hard." He called on Dave Scott (?), regional fishery manager to say a few words. He said the problem now is money, as in over $100,000 to monitor the C&R season. He liked the ideas that we presented like "special use fees and paid catch cards."

Several Commissioners complemented us on our professional approach we took to presenting our case. Kudos to Wayne, Curt and Steve for the good science and every one else who spoke up!

I don't think fishing the Skagit and Sauk next spring would be too much to hope for!

Leland.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#2
10 or so supporters showed at the Commission meeting with most providing oral testimony to the commission. Said testimony was well received and the group once again was complemented by the commission for the group's passion and professionalism.

Special kudos to our resident "hippie/child of the sixties" whose humor provided the prefect balance to what otherwise may have been a "dry" presentation.

Jim Scott is the head of the fisheries division. Both the Director and Scott provided information on the Department's effort to date and the status of that effort. While it would be wonderful to actually fish at our next Occupy Skagit event it may be optimistic to expect the wheels of bureaucracy to move that quickly.

Wayne may have an idea or two on how we may be able to broad our support among the fishing community.

Curt
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
#3
I too am encouraged by what happened yesterday! Once again there was some positive interaction from WDFW and the Commissioners and it felt to me as though our cause may have taken a step up on the priority ladder at WDFW. Having done this twice now I believe that we have some real converts on the Commission and in light of recent events I think they can see our intent is to be persistent, but non-threatening. "We come in peace."

Several key things happened yesterday that I find to be of particular note.
When Jim Scott was responding to our testimony the Commissioner's Chair, Miranda Wecker, reminded him that we have nowhere else to turn for help and that WDFW is our only advocate. A virtual replay of my testimony from last year!

In the closing moments of our segment Miranda turned to some of the other commissioners and said, "Okay fish committee, it's on your agenda." ...and I think those were her exact words.

Jim Scott and Phil Anderson both spoke that what we want done is going to be hard and take some time.
We know, we get it! But even easy jobs don't get done if they are not started. I want to believe that we got more than lip service from them, but only time will tell.

Leland - was the hit of the party! And as such your attendance at these functions has now become mandatory! :)

Curt, myself, and a couple of other friends car-pooled to Olympia. On the way back we kicked around a couple of ideas to pursue and try to keep some awareness going in the upcoming 'off season'

I want to thank everyone who showed up at the meeting - I think we doubled last years number and we are thinking next year (if needed) to make a weekend of it and get some (beach) fishing in somewhere, or?
 

flybill

Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
#6
My first time at one of the these meetings! I spoke in between our science guys and Leland... Seemed like a good experience and we really got our point across. Hope they keep moving forward and open it up for us, but we need to keep up the pressure!
 
#7
This was my first time attending a commission meeting, so I didn’t really know what to expect. With that said, the members of the commission appeared to be genuinely interested in what was said. In particular, I couldn’t help noticing that a few of them were taking notes during Curt and Steve’s testimonies. The fact that Phil Anderson and Jim Scott took the time to sort of fill us in left me feeling rather optimistic. All in all, it seemed pretty positive.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
#9
For those of you that were unable to attend the meeting, audio transcripts are now available. The Skagit topic begins at around the 13 minute mark and continues through our talks, a talk by Jim Scott and a couple of commissioners right to the end.

Direct link to the transcript:
http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2014/04/audio/20140411_17.m3u

Listening to it again I still get a chuckle thinking about Leland holding up his sign. :)
 

Jim Kerr

Active Member
#10
I have not read nearly enough on this to to chime in on the impacts of this proposal on the skagit, but I can say,that open winter fisheries around the Puget sound would be a huge boon to native steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula.
Also, dragging the state to accept C and R seasons on ANYTHING is a huge and important task.
Nice work guys.
 
#11
Huge thanks to you guys. The special endorsement to fish the C&R season on the Skagit is a fantastic idea, and would definitely make it seem more feasible on their end. I know I personally would gladly pay extra to have the opportunity to fish there in spring.
 

Shad

Active Member
#13
It would be great to see the Skagit back in business... Not only so I can finally get up there and fish it, but also, to Jim's point, so the rivers out west (and where I live) will get hammered that much less. I've met a lot of cool people from the Puget Sound area in recent years; maybe a few too many. :)