SALEM, Ore.— The Fish and Wildlife Commission today adopted new sport-fishing regulations for the Sandy River which move the fishing deadline (or boundary) upstream to the mouth of the Salmon River (near Brightwood) beginning Jan. 1, 2008.
This will provide an additional seven miles of fishing opportunity in an area that was historically popular among anglers before 1999 regulations closed the area. The changes are the result of the removal of Marmot Dam, which made the current angling deadline of “200 feet below the dam” obsolete.
In other business, the Commission was briefed on ODFW staff’s preliminary concepts for changing the rules governing cervid (deer and elk) ranching. The Commission directed staff to continue asking for public comment on the concepts before formal rule-making in April 2008.
Staff’s concepts for new rules are available in PDF form at the link below and include requiring perimeter double-fencing to decrease the risk of contact between captive and native cervids, creating a formal disease surveillance list in consultation with the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, requiring that all captive cervids are disease-tested upon death, and explicitly allowing the import of cervid gametes and embryos by cervid breeders.
During the meeting, the Commission indicated it is particularly interested in the public’s comment on the following concepts:
- A change in policy statement from one of opposition to cervid ranching to concern about the potential risks associated with unregulated cervid ranching;
- Increasing or decreasing the current cap of 16 Type 1 commercial licenses;
- Double-fencing, and ways to assist elk ranchers to cover the cost;
- Prohibiting the sale of “shooter bulls” outside the state of Oregon;
- Assessing financial responsibility for an elk escape in situations of vandalism vs. negligence;
- Terminating dormant licenses (where licensee is not holding animals he/she is licensed for);
- The need for bonding or business insurance to indemnify the state of Oregon from expenses associated with a disease outbreak or escape; and
- Exempting the elk research facility Starkey Experimental Forest from the requirements of Division 49.
- mail comments to ODFW.Comments@state.or.us or mail comments to ODFW, Wildlife Division, 3406 Cherry Avenue NE, Salem, OR 97303. Additional opportunities to testify in person will also be scheduled for the April 2008 Commission meeting.
The Commission clarified rules governing the suspension of hunting or fishing licenses under the Wildlife Violator Compact, an agreement among 26 states meant to improve compliance with each state’s fish and wildlife laws. Under new rules that take effect Jan. 1, 2008, ODFW can now suspend an Oregon hunting or fishing license for the same time period as the state where the violation occurred. Previous rules did not clearly allow the department to suspend a license for the same time period. The 2007 Oregon Legislative Assembly passed HB 2970 to address this problem in statute and the Commission made appropriate rule changes today.
The Commission adopted new rules for the collection of hunter education fees. As of Jan. 1, 2008, all students will be charged a $10 application fee to enroll in a hunter education class. ODFW will use these fees to reimburse instructors for their expenses and to provide them with equipment necessary to conduct classes. Under former rules, an instructor could charge a fee at his or her discretion, but this approach made it difficult for ODFW to ensure compliance with state and federal fiscal guidelines. Students that cannot afford the $10 application fee may request a waiver.
Passing a certified hunter education class is mandatory for all people under age 18 to hunt in Oregon. Classes are taught through a statewide network of more than 700 certified volunteer instructors who certify over 6,000 new hunters each year. Much of the funding for ODFW’s hunter education program comes through federal grants.
Finally, the Commission appointed Ronald Borisch, Assistant Tree Farm Manager for Longview Fibre’s Silver Falls Tree Farm and Barry DelCurto, a rancher in Halfway, as landowner representatives to the statewide Access and Habitat Board. This program opens private land to hunters and improves wildlife habitat on private land. It is funded by a $2 surcharge on hunting licenses and the annual auction and raffle of hunting tags.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly. Agenda item exhibits may be requested by calling the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044. Agenda items also can be found on ODFW’s website at www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/