SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted 2010-11 upland game bird hunting and sport fishing regulations today during its monthly meeting in Salem.
Senator Betsy Johnson (D, Scappoose), Representative Mike Schaufler (D, Happy Valley), other Task Force Members and ODFW staff briefed the Commission on final recommendations of the Goose Control Task Force. The Task Force was created by Senate Bill 622 to look at ways to reduce crop losses and other issues caused by the increased geese numbers around the state.
Geese are migratory birds and management is a joint responsibility of federal and state agencies, governed by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Many of the recommendations will require negotiation with other state and federal agencies or Native Alaskans.
The Commission adopted the 2010-11 upland game bird regulations as proposed by staff.
Upland bird (pheasant, chukar, grouse, quail) hunting seasons will change based on the five-year regulation framework adopted last year. Mountain quail season will be open in eight eastern Oregon counties (including Crook County after a decades-long closure there) and close later to coincide with chukar and California quail seasons. Forest grouse hunters in eastern Oregon will get an extra month to hunt (through Dec. 31).
Eastern Oregon controlled tags for Baker, Grande Ronde, and Wallowa fall turkey hunts will increase to 150 per hunt (an increase of 50 or 75 tags).
Duck, goose and other migratory game bird hunting seasons were also adopted as proposed by staff. The 2010-11 Game Bird Regulations will be posted to the ODFW website next week and copies of the regulations will be available later this month.
Sport Fishing Regulations
The Commission approved the 2011 Sport Fishing Regulations, which included a number of key changes from 2010:
- Several clarifications of the two-rod angling license, including a number of standing water bodies where two rods will be disallowed primarily for conservation reasons.
- Closure of all smelt, or Eulachon, harvest in Oregon’s inland waters. Smelt were recently listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
- Permanent adoption of rules that allow harvest of native cutthroat trout on the Tualatin and Yamhill rivers. These fisheries were opened under temporary rules in 2010.
- Establishment of an 8-inch minimum size and a daily bag limit of 25 fish for crappie taken from Willow Creek Reservoir.
- Closed a winter fishery on the McKenzie River from Leaburg Dam to Forest Glen Boat Landing in order to protect native “redside” trout populations. The Commission rejected a proposal to ban the use of bait from Hayden Bridge upstream to Hendricks Bridge. .
The Commission rejected a proposal to require the use of barbless hooks on the Columbia River. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission recently adopted a barbless hook requirement that was contingent upon Oregon approving a similar requirement. Oregon staff was asked to meet with their counterparts from Washington, tribes and federal agencies to discuss any future proposal to require use of barbless hooks on the Columbia.
The Commission approved Oregon’s plan to restore and conserve salmon and steelhead populations of the lower Columbia River and adopted the administrative rules necessary to implement the plan.
The Lower Columbia River Conservation and Recovery Plan for Oregon Populations of Salmon and Steelhead outlines the steps to rebuild natural populations of steelhead and chum, coho and chinook salmon that have declined drastically in the last 100 years.
The plan covers salmon and steelhead populations that are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in Youngs Bay, Big Creek, Clatskanie, Scappoose, Clackamas, Sandy, Lower Gorge, Upper Gorge and Hood River subbasins.
The Plan will now be submitted to the National Marine Fisheries Service as Oregon’s portion of the federal ESA Recovery Plan for the entire Lower Columbia River, which is scheduled to be released in 2011. The Lower Columbia River Conservation and Recovery Plan for Oregon Populations of Salmon and Steelhead will serve as both a state conservation plan and a federal recovery plan and will help guide the recovery actions of state and federal agencies, as well as watershed councils, local governments, non-governmental organizations and landowners. The final draft plan and its executive summary can be viewed online at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/CRP/lower_columbia_plan.asp
The Commission approved 13 projects totaling $283,493 for funding by the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board. Proposed projects include a fish passage facility on Sun Creek to help restore native fish populations and expanded fishing opportunities at the Burns and North Powder ponds.
The Commission adopted a permanent rule prohibiting public access to ODFW hatcheries between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Oregon State Police asked for clear administrative rules governing public access at hatcheries because of safety concerns, loitering, late night or all night vehicle parking at hatcheries.
The Commission approved changes to commercial fishing regulations to clarify the requirement for a release mechanism on commercial crab pots, and to remove the option of using degradable metal hooks as a release mechanism.
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 or by visiting this website: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/