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Big game, salmon seasons on Fish and Wildlife Commission agenda for June 7-8 in Salem

June 1, 2012

SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Thursday and Friday, June 7 and 8, at ODFW Headquarters in Salem to consider 2013 big game regulations and 2012 coastal salmon seasons.

Thursday’s meeting begins at 8 a.m. and focuses on wildlife matters, although agenda items could continue on Friday. Friday’s meeting also begins at 8 a.m. and focuses on fish issues. Both meetings take place in the Commission Room at ODFW Headquarters, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem.

Big game regulations, black bear management plan, furbearer trapping and hunting regulations

The Thursday meeting agenda includes adoption of 2012 big game controlled hunt tag numbers. Controlled hunt tag recommendations are down less than one percent from last year. Proposed minor reductions in deer tag numbers are offset by minor increases in the number of bighorn sheep, pronghorn and elk tags.

The Commission will be asked to approve several concepts for 2013 big game regulations, though final adoption of new regulations will not take place until the Oct. 5 meeting in Salem. The proposed regulations call for the deletion of 19 hunts and the addition of 15 new hunts. Most of the changes are to elk hunts to address population changes and property damage.

The Commission also will be asked to adopt the Oregon Black Bear Management Plan, which guides overall management of the state’s black bear population. The current plan was adopted by the Commission in 1993. The proposed revisions reflect improvements in research and monitoring techniques, and establish four objectives designed to balance ecological, social and economic considerations when managing bear populations.

The Commission will be asked to set the furbearer hunting and trapping seasons and regulations for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

Finally, the Commission will consider big game auction and raffle tag allocations for 2013, as well as proposals for $234,000 in grants for five Access and Habitat Program projects.

Coastal fall salmon seasons, sales of tribal caught Columbia River fish

On Friday, the meeting reconvenes at 8 a.m. and the Commission will consider several fish-related items.

The Commission will be asked to consider proposals for 2012 fall chinook and coho salmon fisheries in coastal bays and rivers. Coast-wide, biologists expect returns of fall chinook to be similar to those in 2011. From the Alsea River south, ODFW staff has proposed no changes to permanent regulations for daily or seasonal bag limits, though some area and low-flow closures are continued.   Exceptions are the Elk and Sixes rivers where staff has proposed continuing the one fish per day and 10 fish per season bag limits in place in 2011.

In North Coast streams, returns continue to rebound from recent low levels and staff has proposed restoring the historic two fish daily bag limit for Northwest Zone waters. However, staff proposals would continue the recent 10 fish seasonal limit.

Returns of wild coho on the Oregon coast have increased dramatically over the last decade and are expected to remain high for 2012.   As a result, biologists are again proposing wild coho fisheries in selected areas. The Commission will be asked to approve coho fisheries for the Nehalem, Tillamook, Nestucca, Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Coos and Coquille rivers and the Tenmile Lakes Basin, the same areas where harvest fisheries occurred in 2011. Because coastal coho are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, these fisheries must also be approved by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. Coho fisheries in Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes will be open under permanent regulations and no modifications are proposed for these fisheries.

The Commission will also consider a change to administrative rules that would allow Oregon wholesale fish dealers to market and sell Columbia Basin steelhead and walleye purchased from Columbia River Tribal fishers in Oregon. Wholesale buyers in Washington are already permitted to sell these Tribal caught species in Oregon

Finally, the Commission will be asked to approve $767,010 in grants to fund 20 projects through the Fish Restoration and Enhancement program.

This would be the first meeting for three newly-appointed Fish and Wildlife Commissioners whose terms began on June 1. Greg Wolley manages small business development programs for the city of Portland; Laura Anderson is the owner of Local Oceans Seafood in Newport, and Krystyna Wolniakowski is director of the Western Region for the National Fish and Wildlife Federation in Portland. They will assume the seats of former Commissioners Skip Klarquist, Dan Edge, and Jon Englund.

Also at this meeting, ODFW will be testing a system that will allow members of the public who can’t attend the Commission meeting in-person to follow the proceedings via live video streaming (requires Adobe Flash). The full meeting agenda and link to video streaming are on the ODFW website at  http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/12/06_jun/index.asp.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly.

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, ODFW Fish Communications coordinator, (503) 947-6023
Meg Kenagy, ODFW Conservation Communications coordinator, (503) 947-6021

 
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