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Memorandum of Agreement between the State of Oregon and the Burns Paiute Tribe

On October 3, 2022, the Burns Paiute Tribe, a federally-recognized Indian tribe, signed an agreement with the State of Oregon and ODFW to continue support and cooperation to protect and enhance fish and wildlife, cultural resources, and habitat connectivity.

The agreement memorializes ongoing cooperative efforts between the Burns Paiute Tribe and ODFW. These efforts include ceremonial hunting opportunities, a ceremonial and cultural Chinook fishery on the Malheur River, and a collaborative effort to address vehicle-caused wildlife mortality from Highway 20 in the Malheur River Canyon.

In addition, the agreement establishes a framework for future collaboration work on salmon and steelhead restoration efforts in the Malheur River Basin. The framework includes cooperative efforts to restore habitat, in addition to conducting baseline assessments including pathogen assessments that will be needed for any future reintroduction efforts.

News release


Highlights from the 2023 ODFW and Tribal Partnership Annual Report

  • A Memorandum of Agreement between the Burns Paiute Tribe (BPT) and ODFW was signed in October 2022. The agreement serves to formalize ongoing cooperation between BPT and ODFW on fish and wildlife measures such as native fisheries enhancement, salmonid reintroduction to the Malheur River basin, improved tribal fishing and hunting opportunity on and off tribal lands, efforts to reduce transportation-related wildlife mortality, and improved government-to-government relations. The agreement and additional information can be found on ODFW website’s Tribal Relations page.
  • Developed a cooperative program with BPT biologists to obtain tissue samples from tribal deer and elk harvest for Chronic Wasting Disease testing.
  • BPT and Hines Office Fisheries staff continue to work towards implementation of Bull Trout recovery in the upper Malheur watershed at High Lake and Lake Creek.  Recovery efforts will remove non-native Brook Trout using rotenone in waters located within the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness managed by the U. S. Forest Service (USFS).   During summer 2023, BPT and ODFW staff collected data related to spring locations, water chemistry, stream flow travel times and identification of a rotenone neutralization site needed for the project.  The USFS signed the Minimum Resource Decision Guide (MRDG) in August 2023 which is needed to implement the project in Wilderness.
  • ODFW provided salvaged mule deer and elk for ceremonial use and/or distribution to Tribal members.
  • ODFW staff continue to work with BPT on development of mitigation measures to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. along Highway 20 between Harper and Juntura. This included contracting a road ecology expert to evaluate the corridor and provide recommendations for mitigation.
  • In June 2023, ODFW and the BPT cooperatively released 200 male Chinook salmon into the upper Malheur River for the annual Chinook fishery. The fishery is meant for Tribal and non-Tribal anglers and usually attracts nearly 60 attendees, primarily BPT members.
  • ODFW continued to be an active participant in the Bull Trout Technical Advisory Committee of the Malheur River Bull Trout Working Group with the BPT.
  • ODFW, BPT, and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) conducted multiple bull trout spawning ground surveys in the North Fork Malheur River to track trends in spawner abundance.
  • ODFW continued work with BPT council and staff for ceremonial hunting permits for deer, elk, and pronghorn.
  • ODFW coordinated with BPT on sage-grouse inventory and research efforts. BPT conducted lek surveys near Jonesboro. BPT staff are members of the Vale Sage-grouse Local Implementation Team (LIT) and BPT staff participated in the selection process for the Burns and Lakeview LIT Coordinator position.
  • ODFW coordinated with BPT wildlife staff on the issuance of Landowner Preference (LOP) tags for Tribal members on BPT owned properties in Harney County.
  • ODFW cooperated with BPT wildlife staff to conduct ground surveys for pronghorn antelope in Logan Valley.

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