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Fish and Wildlife Commission to consider Columbia, Willamette sturgeon fisheries

 
January 29, 2010

 

SALEM, Ore. – Sturgeon and spring chinook fishing issues on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, and adoption of a recovery plan for mid-Columbia steelhead will top the agenda when the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meets in Salem on Friday, Feb. 5.

The meeting will begin at 8:00 am at the ODFW Headquarters at 3406 Cherry Ave. NE in Salem.

In response to recent declines in Columbia River white sturgeon populations, the Commission will hear several issues related to white sturgeon fisheries on both the Willamette and Columbia rivers.

The Commission will be asked to authorize ODFW staff to develop a one-year agreement with Washington state that will help guide the development of sturgeon fishing seasons in 2010. The accord will be in place until the two states complete a long-term conservation plan for white sturgeon in late 2010.

The Commission will be asked to support the establishment of a white sturgeon spawning sanctuary in the Willamette River from the base of the Willamette Falls downstream to the I-205 bridge. This area would be closed to sturgeon fishing from May 1 to at least July 31 beginning in 2010.

The Commission also will consider a staff recommendation to close the east bank of the Willamette River in Oregon City – popularly know as The Wall – to all fishing year-round.

There will be a discussion of the upcoming spring chinook season on the Columbia and Willamette rivers. The Commission will be asked to provide general guidance for ODFW staff to use in setting the upcoming seasons. The 2010 spring chinook and sturgeon fisheries on the Columbia and Willamette rivers will be set at the Feb. 18 meeting of the Columbia River Compact in Oregon City.

The Commission will be asked to adopt the conservation and recovery plan for native steelhead populations in the mid-Columbia River basin – including the Fifteenmile, Deschutes, John Day, Umatilla and Walla Walla subbasins. Recovery plans are a federal requirement of all species listed under the Endangered Species Act; steelhead in the mid-Columbia were listed as threatened in1999.  This Plan serves a dual role as a state of Oregon Native Fish Conservation Plan and as a Federal ESA Plan, and already has been adopted as a part of the Federal ESA Recovery Plan.

The Commission will select the 2010 Upland Game Bird Stamp art contest winner. All entries to the contest will be on display in ODFW’s lobby during the Commission meeting.

Finally, the Commission will consider a citizen petition to amend the sportfishing regulations to allow the use of a gaff to land fish that are legal to harvest. Under current regulations, anglers may not use gaffs to land any freshwater fish.

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.

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Contact:

Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023
Rick Hargrave (503) 947-6020

 
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