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Commission to set bird hunting regulations, hear about fishing regulation simplification

July 31, 2015

SALEM, Ore.—The 2015-2016 bird hunting regulations and an update on efforts to simplify the 2016 fishing regulations will top the agenda when the Fish and Wildlife Commission meets Friday, Aug. 7 in Salem.

The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. at ODFW Headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE. The full meeting agenda can be found here: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/15/08_august/index.asp

The Commission will be asked to adopt 2015-16 bird hunting regulations. Among the major changes being proposed from last year are:

  • End goose check stations and check-in requirements for goose hunters in NW Oregon. Close dusky Canada goose season. Combine the Northwest Permit and Northwest General Zones, all goose hunters in NW Oregon will be required to retake and pass a revised goose ID test.
  • Increase bag limit for white geese in NW Permit Zone from four to six.
  • Increase canvasback daily limits from one to two; otherwise duck bag limits unchanged from last year.
  • Extend three-turkey spring season limit statewide. Currently limited to two turkeys everywhere but SW Oregon.
  • Align quail, chukar and gray partridge closure dates in eastern Oregon. Currently, Umatilla and Morrow seasons close earlier (on Dec. 31 instead of Jan. 31).
  • Extend forest grouse season in eastern Oregon through Jan. 31, which will align with western Oregon.
  • Allow upland bird hunters to leave wing or head on birds they harvest as evidence of sex and species. Currently, these hunters must leave a head.

The Commission also will get its first look at the specific changes to the 2016 sport fishing regulations being proposed as part of a regulation simplification process. The proposals stem from an eight-month effort by ODFW staff to streamline and simplify the rules for trout and warmwater fishing. Some of the proposals include:

  • Removing the April trout opener and opening these water bodies to year-round fishing.
  • Setting the May trout opener at May 22 each year, ensuring that trout fishing statewide would always be open Memorial Day weekend.
  • Streamlining the number of different seasons, gear restrictions and bag limits related to trout and warmwater species.
  • Removing bag limits for warmwater fish in the Columbia, John Day and Umpqua rivers to both simplify regulations and potentially reduce predation on listed salmon and steelhead smolts.
  • Replacing the annual regulation booklet with a two-year booklet.

The Commission will be asked to adopt the final 2016 sport fishing regulations at its Sept. 3-4 meeting in Seaside.

ODFW staff will ask the Commission to approve a Fish Passage Mitigation Banking Pilot Project in which ODFW is partnering with the Oregon Department of Transportation to test a new approach to addressing high priority fish passage projects.  A greater net benefit for native migratory fish will be achieved through the development of a fish passage mitigation banking process that determines the quantity and quality of native fish habitat.

In other business, the Commission will:

  • Consider approving the purchase of the Lower Deschutes River Ranch, which would add 10,000 acres to the Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area and create 25,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat and public access on the west side of the Deschutes River.
  • Amend or adopt rules for ODFW lands to provide hunting and other opportunities on the new Coquille Valley Wildlife Area and make other rules consistent across wildlife areas.
  • Select two new members for the Restoration and Enhancement Board to represent troll and sport fishing interests.
  • Hear a progress report on the 10-year revisions of the Oregon Conservation and Nearshore strategies.

Consideration of the ODOT Gekeler Slough fish passage exemption has been postponed until the Commission’s September meeting.

Public testimony for topics not on the agenda will be held first thing Friday morning, just after the adoption of temporary rules. 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.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state and it usually meets monthly. Due to the Commission’s busy agenda in September and October, the gray wolf delisting informational briefing has been delayed until the Oct. 9 meeting in Florence and the delisting rulemaking to November. The November meeting will be in Salem at ODFW Headquarters and a date will be announced on the Commission webpage soon.

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy, Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us, (503) 947-6022
Jessica Sall, Jessica.Sall@state.or.us, (503) 947-6023

 
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