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Input sought on White Salmon River fish conservation at May 17 public meeting

Presentation and discussion to focus on lands previously affected by Condit Dam

WHITE SALMON, WA – A long-term vision, goals and potential focus areas for future habitat conservation in the Lower White Salmon River will be discussed during an upcoming public meeting sponsored by the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group and the White Salmon River Watershed Management Committee. The meeting will be held Saturday, May 17, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Husum Fire Hall.

The meeting is the first step in the development of a Fish Habitat Conservation Strategy for the lower six miles of the White Salmon River. Input from landowners, residents, recreationists, businesses and land managers is needed to design a strategy for the lower river.

Until recently, fish recovery planning for the White Salmon River focused primarily on restoring fish passage through or around Condit Dam. Now the focus turns to long-term management with the dam removed and the shorelines of the former reservoir replanted.

“With the watershed beginning to recover, it is time to have a community discussion about future opportunities to restore and protect fish habitat in the lower river,” said Margaret Neuman, executive director of the Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group. “We have a chance to shape the future of the river and adjacent lands.”

Organizers will provide an overview of the habitat conservation project and findings on habitat conditions. Participants will be asked to share their visions for the future of the area and give input on fish habitat goals and focus areas.

The results of the meeting will be used to draft a framework for a strategy document for use by landowners, land managers, conservation groups, and local governments when making plans or decisions that affect the watershed. A final strategy is expected in late 2014 following additional public input.

The Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group received a grant from Washington State Salmon Recovery Funding Board to create a plan for the protection of key salmonid habitat in the lower six miles of the White Salmon River. This effort builds on other watershed planning efforts.

In addition, river users and others are interested in long-term public access to the river, trails and land ownership. These are all issues that could affect fish habitat and populations.

Organizers are casting a wide net for meeting attendance.

“We invite anyone with an interest in the river and fish conservation to attend and make your voice heard,” Neuman said. “The more people engaged, the more the final strategy will reflect the vision for our community and the more effective it will be.”

For more information, contact Margaret Neuman at Mid-Columbia Fisheries Enhancement Group, 509-281-1322.

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Mid-Columbia Fisheries is a nonprofit, community-based group dedicated to restoring self-sustaining populations of salmon and steelhead. Mid-Columbia Fisheries works with landowners and community partners to protect and restore fish habitat.

For more information visit midcolumbiarfeg.com.

The White Salmon River Watershed Enhancement Project is a community partnership to sustain natural resources and contribute to long-term economic and community stability within the watershed.

For more information visit http://bit.ly/1uV9wUu.

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