Former state wildlife chief Curt Smitch will serve as Gov. Gary Locke’s top adviser on salmon and other natural resource issues, the governor’s office said Wednesday.
Smitch, now the assistant regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will join Locke’s office on Aug. 11, a news release said.
Smitch served as head of wildlife under Gov. Booth Gardner, but lost his post when Mike Lowry succeeded Gardner in 1992. Smitch often was in hot water with legislative Republicans, who said he favored the interests of environmentalists and Indian tribes over those of sport hunters and fishermen.
Smitch often argued that Washington’s natural resources were seriously threatened by overuse and development.
Locke said Smitch is a good choice to help him reach his goal “to leave a legacy of increased fish runs so future generations will have the opportunity to fish for salmon in the Northwest.”
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to help Gov. Locke make real strides in solving these vital and very difficult issues before we end up fighting over the last salmon,” Smitch said in the news release.
Locke said he and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber also would nominate Smitch to represent the two states on the Pacific Salmon Commission, replacing Bob Turner. The commission is charged with implementing the U.S.-Canada Pacific Salmon Treaty, which the two countries have failed to renew for several years. The nomination must be approved by President Clinton.
Smitch will earn $96,469 a year as Locke’s adviser.
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