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Commission meets Aug. 6 in Salem to set game bird hunting and sport fishing regulations

 
July 30, 2010

 

SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, Aug. 6 at ODFW Headquarters in Salem, 3406 Cherry Ave NE, to adopt next year’s game bird hunting and sport fishing regulations and consider the Lower Columbia River Conservation and Recovery Plan.

The meeting begins at 8 a.m. and proceeds through this agenda:

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/10/08_aug/index.asp

Legislators, Task Force Members and ODFW staff will brief the Commission on recommendations of the Goose Control Task Force, created by Senate Bill 622 to look at ways to reduce crop losses and other issues caused by increasing 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.

Recommendations include:

  • Reducing the population objective for Cackling Canada geese and other problem goose populations
  • Increasing goose harvest opportunities in problem areas
  • Compensating landowners for goose depredation losses
  • Funding current NW Oregon/SW Washington Canada Goose Agricultural Depredation Control Plan (approximately $2 million in federal dollars annually)

The Commission will be asked to adopt 2010-11 game bird regulations.

Upland bird (pheasant, chukar, grouse, quail) hunting seasons are proposed to 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 turkey hunts are proposed to increase to 150 per hunt (an increase of 50 or 75 tags).

ODFW is also proposing a variety of upland bird hunting clinics for fall 2010, including a new youth chukar hunt in the lower Klamath Hills in cooperation with the Klamath Chapter of OHA.

Duck season is proposed to be similar to last year but goose hunting opportunities will expand. Bag limit increases for geese in Tillamook and Klamath County are proposed. A new late season hunt for white geese in Malheur County is also proposed.

The Commission will also be addressing hunting regulations within the NW Oregon Permit Goose Zone based on recommendations from the Goose Control Task Force. Due to the timing of the federal waterfowl regulations process, regulation proposals will not be finalized until shortly before the Commission meeting on Aug. 6.

Fishing issues

The Commission will be asked to consider and approve the 2011 Sport Fishing Regulations, which include 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.
  • On the McKenzie River, a boundary change creating an area with bait restrictions and winter closure of the trout fishery on some parts of the river in order to protect native “redside” trout populations.
  • 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 for crappie taken from Willow Creek Reservoir.

The Commission will be asked to reject 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 contingent on similar action by the Oregon Commission.

The Commission will be asked to approve Oregon’s plan to restore and conserve salmon and steelhead populations of the lower Columbia River and to adopt 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.

Once approved by the Commission, the Plan will 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.

Final draft plan and its executive summary

The Commission will consider 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 will be asked to adopt a permanent rule prohibiting public access to all ODFW fish hatcheries between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Instances of late night or all-night vehicle parking, loitering and safety concerns prompted the Oregon State Police to ask for clear administrative rules governing public access at hatcheries.

The Commission will be asked to clarify the regulations governing the required release mechanism on commercial crab pots. All commercial pots must have a release mechanism that allows legal-sized crabs to eventually escape from lost or derelict pots. The current regulation specifies how degradable materials are to be used but is unclear in several ways, which has caused multiple interpretations of the intent of the rule and subsequent confusion both for industry and enforcement officers.  The ODFW is proposing two significant changes to the crab pot release mechanism rule in an effort to clarify the rule for all parties. 

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/

Public testimony is 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.

###

   

Contact:

Michelle Dennehy (503) 947-6022
Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us
            
Fax: (541) 947-6009

 
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