May 8, 2012
ROSEBURG, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife released a draft conservation plan for fall chinook salmon in the Rogue Species Management Unit today. The agency would like public comments on the plan.
Copies are available at ODFW’s Gold Beach and Central Point offices and on the ODFW website.
ODFW also will hold two public meetings in Grants Pass and Brookings in June from 7pm – 9pm to get input on the draft plan:
- Grants Pass: June 5 at the Marie Hill Conference Room, 510 NW 4th Street.
- Brookings: June 7 in the Council Chambers of Brookings at City Hall, 898 Elk Drive.
Public comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to ODFW Gold Beach office at PO Box 642, 29907 Airport Way, Gold Beach OR 97444; or to ODFW Rogue Watershed District, 1495 East Gregory Road, Central Point OR 97503. The comment period ends June 30, 2012.
The draft conservation plan covers four populations of native fall chinook salmon between Euchre Creek and the California border and five populations in the Rogue River Basin. The plan identifies desired and conservation status for these fish and outlines alternatives designed to reach or maintain desired status.
Guided by ODFW’s Native Fish Conservation Policy, biologists developed the plan in collaboration with a public Advisory Committee that has been meeting since January 2009. The committee includes representatives of various fishing interest groups.
“In contrast to most salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest, it is clear the production of wild fall chinook has increased in the Rogue River Basin,” said Tom Satterthwaite, fisheries researcher and co-author on the draft plan. “This will remain high in the near future, but will decrease as more reservoir storage is purchased for consumptive uses in future years.”
“In smaller coastal stream basins of southern Oregon, it’s likely the production of wild fall chinook in the coastal basins is somewhat lower as compared to historical levels,” Satterthwaite said. “Fish in these populations mature at older ages than the Rogue populations. The conservation plan addresses the need for modifications to current harvest management, especially for those populations that contribute at high rates to the special late-season fishery off the mouth of the Chetco River.”
Satterthwaite also said all of the populations in the Rogue Species Management Unit exhibit a high degree of sustainability. Average harvest rates during the last 15 years were generally compatible with production potential of the populations. Specific conservation goals proposed in the draft plan will help ensure adequate numbers of spawners following years when young salmon survive at low rates in the ocean.
Committee members supported two of the management alternatives for the Rogue populations of fall chinook and two management alternatives for the coastal populations.
Strategies common to all of the alternatives supported by the advisory committee include: habitat restoration and protection, hatchery management practices, and recreational and commercial fisheries management. All alternatives call for continued ODFW support for non-regulatory cooperative conservation measures without proposing new land-use regulations.