New Oregon Fish And Wildlife Commission Chair, Member Named

Becky Hyde, who has roots in contentious Southern Oregon fish, wildlife, landscape and water issues, has joined ODFW’s commission.

She replaces Micheal Finley of Medford, who has been on the citizen panel overseeing the state agency since 2011 and its chair since 2015.

And per Governor Kate Brown’s office this afternoon, Mary Wahl, who was appointed to the commission this spring and confirmed afterwards by the state Senate, is the new chair. She has been the commission’s vice chair.

Hyde, of Paisley near Summer Lake, is described as a “rancher by trade” with family operations in Lake and Klamath Counties. The Herald and News of Klamath Falls, which broke the news on her appointment, also reports she’s been “heavily involved” in sage grouse, Klamath Basin water and fish, and wolf management issues over the years.

“When we were nominated they took us around the state legislature to meet with state senators on both sides of the aisle, and almost every senator asked why I would want to be on this commission because it’s so contentious,” she told the paper for a story out today. “I said, ‘Have you been to the Klamath Basin any time in the last 20 years?’ ”

While Hyde admitted to needing to hit the books on Columbia River fishery issues, the Oregon Hunters Association welcomed her appointment.

“OHA staff talked to and met with Becky. We were impressed with her grasp of the issues the Commission is dealing with, and OHA looks forward to working with her,” said Al Elkins, the organization’s lobbyist.

With Hyde’s background working with Klamath Basin stakeholders, ODFW also said it was “excited” to have her join the commission.

“She is known for consistently advocating for compromise when tackling challenging problems. Her appointment is important as she brings a working lands conservation background to the commission. She displays a truly collaborative nature and has demonstrated a commitment to healthy landscapes and the strong work ethic found in Eastern Oregon,” agency administrator Shannon Hurn told the Herald and News.

Wahl, the new chair, also comes from a ranching family, one based on the coast, near Langlois.

With a masters in public administration from Harvard, she managed toxic cleanups for the state and watershed operations in Portland before retiring “to focus on conservation efforts on Oregon’s south coast,” according to her commission application. She is on the board of the Wild Rivers Land Trust.

The term of Finley, the previous chair, had been up as of June 30 of this year, but it had been extended and has now ended.

Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission has seven members based on the state’s five Congressional districts, with at least one from east of the Cascades and one from west of the mountains.

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