SALEM, Ore. -- The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, June 5 at ODFW Headquarters in Salem to adopt 2009 fall big game tags and coastal fall chinook and coho regulations among other business.
The meeting begins at 8 a.m. at 3406 Cherry Ave NE. The agenda also includes consideration of a Cervid Disease Surveillance List and voluntary disease monitoring program at the state’s private cervid (deer and elk) ranches; approval of Access and Habitat projects; 2010 auction and raffle big game tag allocations; a planning update about the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area management plan; adoption of goals and objectives for the Fern Ridge Wildlife Area management plan; and a fish screening task force member appointment.
Big game regulations
The Commission is expected to adopt 2009 fall big game tag numbers and approve, in concept, 2010 big game and western gray squirrel seasons. The final 2010 Big Game Regulations will be adopted at the Oct. 2 meeting in Salem.
Controlled (limited-entry) big game tag numbers proposed by ODFW staff have been online since early May. Statewide, 2009 proposed buck deer tags, antlerless deer tags, elk tags and pronghorn antelope tags are down slightly while bighorn sheep and Rocky Mtn goat tags have increased. Hunters have until June 1 to apply for a controlled hunt.
Coastal fall chinook and coho seasons
The Commission will be asked to adopt restrictive regulations for coastal fall chinook in terminal, bay and river fisheries due to continuing declines in spawning escapements and the poor return forecasts for this fall. The recommended regulations include reduced bag limits, new angling deadlines and the closure of the Nehalem Basin and Winchuck River to all fall chinook fishing.
While chinook returns continue to be poor, ODFW biologists predict a large return of wild coho salmon this fall and are recommending the first wild coho fisheries on Oregon coastal rivers since the mid-1990s. If approved by the Commission, the proposed fisheries would allow the retention of wild coho in the tidewater areas of the Nehalem, Yaquina, Coos and Coquille basins. Because coastal coho salmon are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, managers have proposed conservative fisheries modeled after existing wild coho fisheries on the Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes.
Disease monitoring at cervid (deer and elk) ranches
ODFW staff are proposing a comprehensive disease surveillance program for the captive cervid industry. A Cervid Disease Surveillance List (CDSL) that focuses on three nationally important diseases — Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis, will form the foundation for disease surveillance by ODFW within the industry. Staff propose that any privately-held cervid age 6 months or older that dies of any cause must be reported to ODFW within 24-hours of discovery and tested from criteria set forth in the CDSL.
CWD is an untreatable neurological disease that is always fatal to deer and elk. It has been detected in deer and elk in multiple states and Canadian provinces incervid ranching facilities and in wild cervids. While CWD has never been detected in Oregon, other states and provinces with the disease have spent millions to contain it and eradication has proved nearly impossible if the disease spreads to wild populations of deer and elk. Bovine TB and brucellosis are serious diseases that can also infect domestic livestock and so are closely monitored by the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
ODFW staff are also proposing a new state regulated voluntary monitoring program that involves CWD testing of captive animals by a private accredited veterinarian or state, federal, or diagnostic laboratory veterinarian. Ranchers that elect to join the Voluntary State CWD Monitored Herd Program will be able to export and sell their animals to additional states that require participation in regulated CWD surveillance programs.
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.
Public testimony will be held Friday morning immediately following the expenditure report. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.