Show your support for the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s (WDFW) effort to create a new wild steelhead license plate that benefits the recovery of these incredible fish.
Wild steelhead are Washington’s state fish, a fitting tribute to an iconic species that embodies the beauty, strength, and spirit of the Evergreen State. Unfortunately, this reverence has not translated into continued success for wild steelhead, which have experienced a precipitous decline in historic abundance over the last century. In fact, of the state’s seven distinct steelhead populations, five are listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.
In an effort to raise revenue to support activities critical to conserving Washington’s struggling wild steelhead populations, WDFW has proposed the creation of a special Washington Steelhead license plate. WDFW estimates the license plate would generate approximately $200,000 a year, which would be used to do the following:
- Apply new techniques to improve estimates of the number of wild steelhead on the spawning grounds and ensure that the population numbers are consistent with the productivity of the river.
- Bolster efforts to monitor interactions between wild and hatchery steelhead to help ensure future hatchery steelhead production and management actions support the recovery of wild stocks.
- Increase creel surveys to improve estimates for the number of wild steelhead harvested in fisheries and the number of wild steelhead caught and released by anglers.
If the idea gets approval, the plates would sell for about $54 – $72 a plate, depending on the vehicle.
Restoring Washington’s steelhead populations will require many things, but first and foremost we need to better understand the status of wild steelhead and our impacts on them. The revenue generated by the steelhead license plate would help address some of the existing information gaps and inform WDFW’s steelhead management and recovery efforts. The first step in making this license plate proposal a reality is for WDFW to demonstrate to the state legislature and Washington State Department of Licensing that the public intends to purchase at least 3,500 plates. As a result, WDFW is asking steelhead advocates and anglers across Washington to sign a petition expressing their intent to purchase a Washington Steelhead license plate should they become available.
TAKE A MINUTE TODAY to express your interest in purchasing a license plate and your support for WDFW’s efforts to recover Washington’s wild steelhead populations. Filling out the survey is not a commitment to buy a plate.