Tag Archives: governor kate brown

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.

National Fishing Trade Group Calls On Inslee To Reject Fish Commission’s Columbia Reforms Vote

A major national trade organization is calling Washington’s recent vote to freeze planned Columbia salmon fishery reforms a “significant threat to numerous fish stocks” and is calling on Governor Jay Inslee to reject it.


Expressing concern about putting nontribal commercial gillnetters back on the lower river, a letter from the American Sportfishing Association says doing so “is a move against the best available fisheries science and common-sense conservation efforts. Wasteful fishing practices, such as gillnetting, pose a threat to the long-term solvency of both the commercial and recreational fishing industries alike.”

Numerous Columbia Basin salmon and steelhead stocks are listed under the Endangered Species Act, including Snake fall kings, Idaho summer Chinook, upriver springers, and lower river fall tules, plus some summer-runs and coho.

“The gillnetting issue is great opportunity to show your leadership to the angling community by continuing to be a champion for conservation,” states the letter to Inslee, who launched his 2020 presidential candidacy earlier this month.

It’s a response to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission’s 5-1-2 March 2 move that also pushed catch allocations from 80-20 recreational-nontribal commercial, where they were in 2018, down to 70-30, where they were in 2016 before the reforms began to unravel, and roughly where fall Chinook allocations have also been paused at.

And it comes as former Washington commissioners instrumental in instituting the reforms on the north side of the Columbia sent state lawmakers their own letter that said they were perplexed by the current board’s decision.

Noting how important sportfishing is to the state’s economy — the organization intends to hold a conference in Washington later this year — ASA’s letter in part will remind Inslee of his October 2015 correspondence to then Commission Chair Brad Smith.

In it, Inslee asked the commission to “seek ways to expand public access to the recreational fishery, promote selective fisheries, implement scientifically credible hatchery practices that ensure hatchery production and consider economic factors when setting seasons for both the recreational and commercial fish industry.”

ASA’s letter was sent on behalf of the board of directors. Among its 14 signatories are Dan McDonald of Yakima Bait (full disclosure: a major Northwest Sportsman advertiser), David J. Pfeiffer of Shimano, Zack Swanson of Rapala, Jesse Simpkins of St. Croix Rods, and Bruce Akins of Bassmaster.

“We urge you to support ongoing fisheries conservation in the Columbia River, including protections provided under the Endangered Species Act, by rejecting the WDFW decision on gillnetting in the Columbia River,” they ask Inslee.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Columbia, Oregon’s citizen oversight panel will also take the issue up at its June 6-7 meeting. Oregon Governor Kate Brown says she still supports the reforms and that leading legislators are keeping an eye on “whether the legislative intent of the reforms is reflected in the policies adopted by the commission.”

Editor’s note: The full text of the letter is as follows:

March 14, 2019

The Honorable Jay Inslee
416 14th Ave SW Olympia, WA 98504

Dear Governor Inslee,

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the American Sportfishing Association, we are writing you to express our concern regarding the recent decision by the Washington Department Fish and Wildlife to reinstate nontribal gillnetting in the Columbia River. The Washington Department Fish and Wildlife’s decision is a significant threat to numerous fish stocks in the Columbia River – including 13 endangered fish species currently listed under the Endangered Species Act. Furthermore, this move will result in dramatically shortened sportfishing seasons.

The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the nation’s recreational fishing trade association. ASA provides a platform for the recreational fishing industry to have a united voice when emerging laws and policies could significantly impact sportfishing businesses or sportfishing itself. In the US, over 49 million anglers generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for over 1 million people. The recreational sporting industry is an important component of Washington’s economy and tourist industries. In the state of Washington, 1 million anglers spent $1.5 billion dollars on fishing annually and the recreational industry supported 15,208 jobs with an overall output of $2.4 billion. As a testament of the importance of Washington to the angling community, later this year ASA will be convening a conference of approximately 250 leaders in the industry, representing numerous companies throughout the country, at Skamania Lodge along the banks of the Columbia River in Washington. The gillnetting issue is great opportunity to show your leadership to the angling community by continuing to be a champion for conservation.

Given the importance of the state to businesses across the country, the sportfishing industry is watching closely the recent deliberations about allowing commercial gillnetting in the Columbia River. This highly controversial move would negatively impact fisheries conservation efforts and impact recreational fisheries from the river’s mouth to the upper Columbia in Eastern Washington. Allowing gillnetting on the Columbia River is a move against the best available fisheries science and common-sense conservation efforts. Wasteful fishing practices, such as gillnetting, pose a threat to the long-term solvency of both the commercial and recreational fishing industries alike. We urge you to support ongoing fisheries conservation in the Columbia River, including protections provided under the Endangered Species Act, by rejecting the WDFW decision on gillnetting in the Columbia River.


Chris Megan
On The Water, LLC

Zack Swanson
General Manager, VP of Sales
Rapala USA

Louis Chemi
Freedom Boat Club

Dan McDonald
Yakima Bait Company

Jesse Simpkins
Director of Marketing
St. Croix Rods

Kirk Immens
Sportco Marketing, Inc.

Bruce Akin

Dale Barnes
Division Manager, Marketing
Yamaha Marine Group

Dan Ferris
Midwest Outdoors

Steve Smits
ZEBCO Brands

Peter Foley
Boone Bait Company, Inc.

Patrick M. Gill

Carl Liederman
Capt. Harry’s Fishing Supply Co., Inc.

Dave J. Pfeiffer
Shimano North American Fishing, Inc.


Oregon Ocean Acidification-Hypoxia Council To Hold First Meeting


Oregon’s new Coordinating Council on Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia (OAH) will host its first meeting on Thursday, Jan. 25 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in Newport at the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Guin Library, 2030 Marine Science Drive. A full agenda for the meeting is available online, along with supporting materials.


Oregon lawmakers created the OAH Council through the passage of Senate Bill 1039 last year to look for ways to better understand, adapt to and mitigate the effects of changing ocean conditions. The state has already seen the effects of ocean acidification on its prized shellfish industry after annual die-offs of juvenile oysters at the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery started in 2007.  Oregon has also seen the effects of intensifying hypoxia events, which have been implicated in die-offs of crabs and other marine life over the past two decades.

“Ocean acidification already has affected Oregon’s shellfish mariculture industry, and we know it is worsening,” says Senator Arnie Roblan. “It’s time to start finding ways to adapt to these new conditions and mitigate them, while we still have time. Our children and businesses depend on it.”

The meeting agenda includes opening remarks from Governor Brown’s Representative and carbon policy advisor Dr. Kristen Sheeran, an analysis of SB 1039, and presentations on recent science and policy developments from Council members including Co-Chairs Dr. Caren Braby (ODFW) and Dr. Jack Barth (Executive Director of Oregon State University’s Marine Studies Initiative). Following the meeting, from 3:30-4:30, the Hatfield Marine Science Center is hosting a seminar with brief presentations by Council members and discussion with the audience.

The public is welcome at the meeting. Attend in person, or by WebEx (use phone number 415-655-0002).

Increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean and fuels ocean acidification. “Ocean acidification is a global problem that is having a disproportionate impact on productive West Coast ecosystems,” says Dr. Francis Chan, Oregon State University. “These changing ocean conditions threaten Oregon’s productive wild ocean fisheries, rich coastal traditions and renowned healthy ecosystem.”

Oregon has been an international leader in policy development related to ocean acidification by promoting and facilitating regional and global coalition-building to develop solutions and mitigate carbon dioxide through international climate agreements. Governor Kate Brown has asked the new OAH Council to build Oregon’s Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Action Plan, as part of Oregon’s ongoing demonstration of leadership.

In addition to the Co-Chairs from ODFW and Oregon State University, the Council includes representatives from the Governor’s office, Oregon Tribes, Oregon DEQOregon Department of Agriculture, Department of Land Conservation and Development, Ocean Science Trust, Oregon Sea Grant and representatives from the fishing, shellfish and research communities. The OAH Council will make its first report to the Legislature by September 2018.

Brown Reported ‘Confident’ In Investigation Of Oregon Elk Hunter’s Wolf Shooting

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is reported as “confident” in investigators’ work looking into an elk hunter’s killing of a wolf in Union County.

The late October shooting was determined to be self-defense, according to the Oregon State Police, and the Capital Press says that the governor “will apparently not ask state agencies” to reopen the case after a dozen and a half advocacy groups had petitioned her to.


Brown responded in a Dec. 1 letter, which is just coming to light today. The Press reports she consulted with OSP, ODFW and county prosecutors before making her decision.

Wolf advocates had pointed to the trajectory of a bullet through the animal as suggesting it wasn’t self-defense.

The hunter, Brian Scott, 38, said he’d had three wolves in his vicinity that morning in the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit.

One “meant to make contact,” he told Oregonian reporter Bill Monroe in an in-person interview. “I was terrified. I screamed and raised my rifle. All I saw (in a scope) was hair so I shot.”

After confirming the animal was a wolf with his hunting partners, Scott immediately contacted OSP and ODFW officials, who responded to the scene with investigative equipment.

The Press reports that advocates “will continue to put pressure on the governor and agencies regarding wolf poaching investigations, and ensure those protections are taken seriously.”

There have been a number of illegal wolf kills in Oregon (as well as Washington), but this doesn’t appear to be one, if Governor Brown’s letter is any indication.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this blog misstated when the wolf was shot; it was in late October (Oct. 27), not mid-November. Our apologies for the error.

Oregon’s Elliott State Forest Remains Public

The Elliott State Forest was officially kept public in a ceremony near Reedsport this morning, a victory by and for hunters, anglers and others and ending the potential threat of lost recreational access.


Gov. Kate Brown has signed into law a local lawmaker’s bill that moves the 82,500-acre parcel between the Umpqua and Coos Rivers out of the Common School Fund and its obligations to produce revenue, which had led to its near-sale to a private timber company and a local tribe.

“Oregonians overwhelmingly made it clear that the Elliott’s lands should remain in public hands. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that we not scale back any of Oregon’s public lands or national monuments,” Brown said, crediting fellow members of the state Land Board Tobias Read and Dennis Richardson, as well as bill sponsor Sen. Arnie Roblan and the state legislature for their work.

SB 847 passed the Senate 21-6 and the House 47-12. It raises $100 million in bonds to partially offset the transfer out of the school fund.

Among those on hand at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area was Ken McCall, resource director for the Oregon Hunters Association, and speaking on behalf of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited and the Wild Salmon Center.

“Our public lands are highly valued among the groups involved in our coalition,” McCall said. “We see many benefits and opportunities to improve and share the Elliott’s public-land habitats that support our outdoor interests. The Elliott shines as an opportunity to continue a multiple-use forest model in Oregon’s Coast Range … We can envision a strategy that includes research, education, habitat management and recreation among the many benefits of our public lands.”

“Finding creative ways to keep public lands in public hands is paramount in our fight against losing access to the lands and waters that we as sportsmen and women love,” said Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Oregon Chair Ian Isaacson in a press release. “Just as important is engagement by the public. We must be active participants in the entire process, no matter how difficult, tiring and frustrating as it may be.”