May 30, 2014
SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Thursday and Friday, June 5-6 in Salem to consider changes to hunting and trapping regulations and adoption of the Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan.
An agenda and background materials for the meeting can be found online. Both day’s meetings kick off at 8 a.m. at ODFW Headquarters, 034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem. Thursday’s meeting is devoted to hunting and wildlife issues and Friday’s deals with fish management.
On Thursday, the Commission is expected to adopt final tag numbers for 2014 fall big game controlled hunts. ODFW wildlife managers propose a total of 134,319 controlled hunt tags, including the first ever Rocky Mtn goat tag for a non-resident hunter (Elkhorn #2).
The Commission will also consider concepts for 2015 big game hunting regulations; final regulations won’t be adopted until October. Changes under consideration include:
- Add days to Western Oregon deer rifle general season in some units in SW Oregon where deer numbers are good.
- Allow spike harvest in some NW Oregon units during Western Oregon general season by changing the bag limit to “One buck with a visible antler” (currently bag limit is “One buck deer having not less than a forked antler”).
- Change the bag limit for 600 series deer hunts in some or all areas from “Antlerless or Spike” to “Antlerless.”
- Offer nine-day controlled archery deer hunt in the Wenaha, Mt Emily and Walla Walla Units (where tags are currently restricted to archers who also have an elk tag) and tie antlerless archery tags to population trends, not the number of antlerless rifle tags. These recommendations are from the Archery Review Public Advisory Committee.
Trapping regulations are also up for renewal. ODFW staff are recommending that the annual bobcat limit in eastern Oregon be reduced from five to three to reduce harvest levels.
Hunter access and habitat improvement projects will be considered for funding by the Access and Habitat program, and the number and type of 2015 auction and raffle big game tags will be decided.
Finally on Thursday, the Commission will be briefed on the proposed 2015-17 agency budget.
On Friday, the Commission turns to fish-related issues, including the adoption of the proposed Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan.
If approved, the plan will become the state of Oregon’s working document that describes the status and management actions for the conservation and utilization for salmon, steelhead and trout along most of the Oregon coast.
A key, and sometimes controversial, element of the plan has been a “portfolio” approach to identify different management objectives in different locations for the different species, and the corresponding increases and shifts of some hatchery releases to reflect changes in emphasis.
“While this portfolio approach has never been used before in our planning efforts, it was uniquely suited to Oregon’s coastal rivers where most of our wild populations are healthy. We want these fish to be conserved for future generations but, along with our hatchery programs, they can also support fisheries now,” said Tom Stahl, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program manager. “The portfolio approach recognizes that not every river can be everything to everybody.”
Instead, Stahl said, the plan balances wild fish emphasis areas with other areas emphasizing hatchery programs, as well as areas with and without the harvest of wild fish. The plan also calls for aggressive actions to manage the predators of juvenile and adult salmon, steelhead, and trout, as well as to improve their habitat.
The Commission also will be asked to authorize the purchase of 10 acres on the Alsea River for future development of a boat ramp. The $330,000 purchase would be funded by the Oregon State Marine Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, and would provide access to a popular fall salmon fishery. ODFW would partner with Lincoln County to pursue additional grants for construction of facilities.
In other business, the Commission will be asked to:
- Set the July 2014through June 2015 commercial sardine seasons.
- Adopt permanent rules for the 2014 ocean salmon seasons, many of which are currently underway under temporary regulations.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony before the Commission will be held first thing Friday morning. 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.
Members of the public unable to attend the meeting can see a live-stream video of the meeting at the ODFW Commission page.