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Commission meets June 13-14 in Chiloquin

June 7, 2024

SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission meets Thursday for a field tour in the Klamath Basin and Friday in Chiloquin for a meeting to set fall coastal salmon seasons, adopt a revised Mule Deer Management Plan and approve the 2025-27 Agency Request Budget.

See an agenda and register to testify remotely on an agenda item at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/24/06_Jun/index.asp The meeting will also be livestreamed from this page.

To testify on an agenda item virtually, register on the agenda page at least 48 hours in advance (by Wednesday, June 12 at 8 a.m.) To testify in person, sign up at the meeting using the paper forms provided. Comments can also be emailed to  ODFW.Commission@odfw.oregon.gov.  

To testify about an issue that is not on the agenda during the public forum section of the meeting, use the form on the agenda page, again at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

To join Thursday’s tour with the Commission, meet at Kamath Hatchery, 46161 Hwy. 62 in Chiloquin, no later than 8:15 a.m. Members of the public who want to join must provide their own transportation and lunch.

On Friday, the Commission will meet starting at 8 a.m. at Goos oLgi gowa, 35601 Choke Cherry Way, to
consider the following agenda items:

2025-27 Agency Requested Budget: ODFW has been meeting over the past several months with numerous stakeholders and partners to develop its 2025-27 Agency Request Budget (ARB). The agency’s budget is funded through a mix of Lottery Funds, General Fund, Federal Funds and Other Funds. While funding for the agency’s programs has been more diversified in recent biennia, the majority of the agency’s budget continues to be linked to hunting and fishing revenues and associated federal funds.

The agency has faced rising costs associated with inflation in recent years, including a 20 percent per biennium increase in hatchery costs (fish food and utilities) and other costs beyond its control such as Department of Justice costs and state government services charges. To maintain fiscal integrity, the requested 2025-27 budget proposes to adjust recreational and commercial fishing and hunting license fees coupled with strategic reductions to license funded programs and expenditures. 

ODFW last requested a fee increase on recreational hunting and commercial and recreational fishing licenses in 2015. This latest proposal would stagger fee increases over several years. The popular Youth Combo license will remain $10 to make it easier for families to hunt and fish together, and a new proposed $7 Ocean Endorsement (required for all ocean fishing including salmon, but not for shellfish) would help fund survey and monitoring work critical for continuing fisheries for popular marine species like black rockfish.

Even with the proposed fee adjustments, the agency will be implementing several program reductions. The need for these reductions, even in the face of increases to license and permit fees, underscores the long-term need to diversify and stabilize funding for the agency, which is anticipated to be a discussion during the 2025 legislative session. Conservation and management of fish, wildlife and their habitats are increasing in complexity and urgency in the face of a changing climate, meeting ESA listed species requirements, increasing land development and water use demands, renewable energy needs, and other landscape-scale impacts.
After the Commission approves a 2025-27 ARB, it goes to the Governor for her consideration. The Governor presents her recommended budget to the 2025 Oregon State Legislature which has the final authority to adopt ODFW’s budget. The proposed fee adjustments will be subject to passage of a fee bill during the 2025 legislative session.

Mule Deer Plan Update: The biological and social environment for mule deer has changed dramatically since the Mule Deer Plan was last updated in 2003. In the past decade, ODFW has conducted extensive research on this species to better understand the reasons behind declining populations, a trend that’s happening across the West. Researchers collared hundreds of mule deer and tracked movements and survival to get an accurate picture of what’s happening on the landscape. This innovative research has been incorporated into the latest draft. Through the updated goal and associated objectives, this plan provides direction to the department, and communicates that direction to partners and the public, for navigating through the complicated interactions of all the biological, environmental, and social factors affecting mule deer. The resulting combined effort is focused on improving mule deer populations to meet the department’s mission.

2024 Coastal Fall Salmon Seasons/Smallmouth Bass in Coquille River: Proposed seasons for wild Chinook are similar to last year, while opportunities for wild coho would be somewhat increased. The 2024 forecasted ocean abundance of Oregon coast natural coho is 233,000, up from 185,000 last year, while forecasts for wild Chinook are similar to last year. For more information see the Coastal fall salmon webpage or the agenda item. ODFW is also proposing a rule modification to liberalize the take of smallmouth bass from the Coquille River by allowing the use of bait while angling and the use of spears or spear guns for harvesting smallmouth bass. 

Beaver Take Permit Rules: The Commission will consider administrative rules to implement 2023 statutory changes related to the take of beaver. The new rules remove beaver from the predatory animal classification, establish a permitting process for take of beaver that are causing damage and require reporting of all beaver take. Altogether, the new approach encourages coexistence (and less lethal take) of beaver and provides tools to more effectively manage and prevent damage caused by beaver. 

2024-26 Furbearer Regulations: Proposed changes from current regulations would modify the red fox harvest area to exclude a 15-mile buffer along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Washington border south to the intersection with Interstate 5 to further protect Sierra Nevada Red Fox.

Access & Habitat Program: The Commission will consider funding for two A&H projects, one to continue hunting access at Alvord Ranch Access Area and one that completes a land acquisition project in the Metolius Winter Range (a Priority Wildlife Connectivity Area that will benefit big game and several other species). Appointment of two Hunter Representatives to the A&H board will also be considered.

Auction and raffle tags: The Commission will allocate special hunting tags for auction and raffle in 2025. Host organizations receive 10 percent of the sales price for the tag sold at auction, which they can use to fund their own grant programs benefiting wildlife.

Commercial coastal pelagic species rule amendments: The Commission will be asked to adopt regulations for July 2024-June 2025 for pelagic species based on federal regulations that maintain protections for the sardine stock with the continued closure of the directed Pacific sardine fishery.

State agencies that can play a role in Southern Resident Orca conservation: Southern Resident orcas (SROs) were listed as endangered under Oregon’s Endangered Species Act (OESA) in February 2024. The Commission is required to determine which agencies own or manage lands/waters where SROs or their habitat are found and that can play a role in conservation of the species. An OESA listing decision affects management decisions made on state-owned, managed, or leased lands, including lands where state agencies hold recorded easements. ODFW staff have identified ODFW, the Oregon Department of State Lands (ODSL) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) as agencies that have a role in SRO conservation. If the Commission approves, these agencies will be required to each develop a management plan for SROs.

OCRF Project Funding: The Commission will be asked to approve funding for 24 projects recommended by the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Advisory Committee. Many of these projects have a connection with statewide needs around drought and wildfire research, monitoring, and outreach while addressing several of ODFW’s identified needs for fish, wildlife, and habitat.


Contact: Michelle Dennehy, (503) 931-2748, Michelle.N.Dennehy@odfw.oregon.gov
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06/11/2024 9:51 AM:18 AM:19 PM    
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