Tag Archives: OREGON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

Here’s What WDFW Says About Commission’s Columbia Reforms Vote

Editor’s note: On the morning of March 5, 2019, WDFW issued a clarification on their original March 4 press release, tweaking verbiage in the eighth and ninth paragraphs about fall and spring Chinook allocations. This version includes both the original paras in strikethrough and the new paras.

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has agreed to allow the use of gillnets during the fall salmon fishery on the lower Columbia River while state fishery managers work with their Oregon counterparts to develop a joint long-term policy for shared waters.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), took that action and received public comments on proposed hunting seasons for 2019-21 during a public meeting March 1-2 in Spokane.

WASHINGTON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSIONERS BOB KEHOE, DON MCISAAC AND BARBARA BAKER RAISE THEIR HANDS IN VOTING YES TO GO ALONG WITH A SUBPANEL’S RECOMMENDATION ON FREEZING COLUMBIA RIVER SALMON REFORMS AT 2016 LEVELS. ALSO VOTING YES BUT OUT OF THE WDFW VIDEO FRAME WERE KIM THORBURN AND JAY HOLZMILLER. (WDFW)

The commission’s action to extend the use of gillnets was one of a number of recommendations for Columbia River fisheries developed by a joint committee with members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Oregon’s full commission will also consider the recommendations when it meets later this month.

Commissioners from both states are working on an overhaul of their respective Columbia River salmon management policies, which are designed to achieve conservation goals for salmon and steelhead, promote orderly fisheries in concurrent waters, and maintain and enhance economic stability in sport and commercial fisheries.


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The change in policy affects allowable commercial fishing gear and the allocation of catch between sport and commercial fisheries, among other adjustments. Conservation measures remain unchanged, and no additional fishing pressure was approved beyond the annual amount allowed in full compliance with all salmon and steelhead Endangered Species Act requirements and sustainable fishery management practices.

VOTING NO WAS COMMISSIONER DAVE GRAYBILL. (WDFW)

The Washington policy, approved in 2013, intended for the commercial fishery to have completed a transition from gillnets to alternative gear this year and be relocated away from mainstem Columbia River areas. However, the use of alternative gear has not yet been refined and the off-channel areas have been determined to be unsuitable.

The commission modified that policy in response to a comprehensive performance review conducted over the past year. Without that action, fishing rules for Washington and Oregon would have been incompatible, because Oregon plans to allow the use of gillnets during the upcoming fall season.

The recommendation approved by the commission at the meeting in Spokane will allow commercial fisheries to proceed similar to 2018. A maximum of 70 percent of the fall chinook catch will be allocated to the recreational fishery, the same amount allocated under Oregon’s policy.

The recommendation approved by the commission at the meeting in Spokane will allow commercial fisheries to proceed similar to 2018. A maximum of 70 percent of the fall chinook catch will be allocated to the recreational fishery, the same amount allocated in 2018.

Washington commissioners also agreed to retain the recreational fishery’s share of 80 percent during the spring chinook fishery. The allocation for the commercial fishery was set at 20 percent with no commercial fishing in the mainstem Columbia River unless the in-season run-size update for upper river spring chinook is more than 129 percent of the pre-season forecast of 99,300 fish.

Washington commissioners also agreed to retain the recreational fishery’s share of 80 percent during the spring chinook fishery for this year. The allocation for the commercial fishery was set at 20 percent with no commercial fishing in the mainstem Columbia River unless the in-season run-size update for upper river spring chinook is more than 129 percent of the pre-season forecast of 99,300 fish.

Additionally, the commission made the use of barbless hooks voluntary in Columbia River fisheries as soon as possible, but no later than June 1, 2019.

Five Washington commissioners voted to approve the recommendation: commissioners Kim Thorburn, Barbara Baker, Robert Kehoe, Donald McIsaac and Jay Holzmiller. Commissioner David Graybill voted “no,” and commissioners Bradley Smith and Larry Carpenter abstained.

AND VOTING TO ABSTAIN IN FAVOR OF CONTINUED DISCUSSIONS WERE CHAIR LARRY CARPENTER AND COMMISSIONER BRAD SMITH. (WDFW)

Details of the motion that passed and more information on the Columbia River Policy Review can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.

Prior to that decision, the commission was briefed by WDFW wildlife managers and accepted public comments on proposed hunting rules for deer, elk, waterfowl, and other game species. The commission is scheduled to take final action on those proposal at a public meeting April 5-6 in Olympia.

For more information on the season-setting process see https://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting/

Columbia Salmon Reforms Subpanel Recommends 2016 Allocations To OR, WA Fish Commissions

Supporters of Columbia River salmon reforms are urging anglers to get in touch with fishery overseers and one state’s lawmakers after a subpanel of the Oregon and Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissions this week voted to revert to 2016 benchmarks.

ANGLERS RUN UPSTREAM DURING THE 2017 SPRING CHINOOK SEASON ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“.. Stop bowing to small special interest groups and start leading in managing our fisheries for abundance,” reads a Coastal Conservation Association of Oregon letter posted on Facebook after Tuesday’s recommendation on an amended “Option 1.”

That came out of a six-hour meeting of three members from both states and now goes to the full commissions for consideration and final approval, with Washington possibly deciding as early as tomorrow whether to go along with the pause or not.

Essentially, sport and commercial allocations for spring and summer Chinook would fall back from 2018’s 80-20 to 70-30, the level that fall kings are being fished at, and the transition from gillnet to alternative gear only in the mainstem would be postponed, with both allowable.

Thrown into the bargain is a relaxing of the mandatory barbless hook requirement for anglers “effective as soon as practical but by June 1, 2019 at the latest,” according to a WDFW staff summary.


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Members voting against the proposal were Washington’s Dave Graybill of Leavenworth and Oregon’s Bob Webber of Port Orford.

Voting to recommend it were Bob Kehoe of Seattle, Bruce Buckmaster of Astoria and Holly Akenson of Enterprise.

Hockinson, Washington’s Don McIsaac, who chaired the subpanel, “announced the motion would pass without the Chair voting and did not vote,” according to WDFW documents.

Option 2 would have stuck to Washington’s 2018 policy — 80-20, 80-20, ~75-~25 for spring, summer and fall Chinook with no mainstem gillnets — while Option 3, the “no loss of economic benefit alternative,” had two choices with ~65-~35 splits on fall Chinook with one banning gillnets and the other allowing it.

Under Option 1, 2019 spring Chinook shares would remain at 80-20 unless an inseason update suggests we’ll see more than 128,000 upriver-bound kings, and then 70-30 would come into play.

THE COLUMBIA REFORMS WERE AGREED TO BY Washington and Oregon back in 2012 and began to be implemented in 2013.

They prioritized developing new alternative nontribal commercial gear in the mainstem, moving netting to off-channel areas near the mouth, and increasing allocation for sportfishers.

Allocations are essentially allowable catch impacts on Endangered Species Act-listed salmon.

In part, the move also aimed to help more wild salmon and steelhead get through to upstream spawning grounds.

But certain aspects have proved difficult to achieve, including the search for alternative gear and finding bays on the Washington side for the net fleet, leading to discontent from commercial interests.

That first led to a pause in the transition for fall Chinook and then a large review of how the whole program has worked and review by the subpanel, which brings us to today.

ACCORDING TO WDFW DOCUMENTS, ALL THE POTENTIAL OPTION 1 ALLOCATIONS ARE ABOVE WHERE THEY WERE FOR SPORTFISHERMEN IN THE SO-CALLED 2010-2012 BASE PERIOD, 60-40 ON SPRING CHINOOK, 50-50 SUMMER CHINOOK AND 59-41 ON FALL CHINOOK. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

A WDFW STAFF SUMMARY OF THE SUBPANEL’S “RATIONALE” for recommending Option 1 states:

* Comprehensive Evaluation of Washington Policy showed Policy did not work as expected.
* Goal to have concurrent policies for 2019 (and beyond).
* Current WA Policy includes an adaptive management provision –make changes when the assumptions are not met.
* There is no substantial difference between the options regarding conservation benefits.
* No significant change in angler trips between options, and remains above pre-policy baseline.
* Option 1 goes the furthest towards increasing commercial ex-vessel values.
* Original policy goals were good but did not sufficiently employ the adaptive management provisions that were included in the policies.

Subpanel members who opposed it believed it:

* Should not increase allocation for commercial fishery in 2019 due to forecasts.
* Maintain escapement to upriver areas by not increasing commercial allocation

This year’s Columbia Chinook expectations are on the low side, with 99,300 upriver springers and 157,500 overall, 35,900 summer kings and 340,400 fall brights and tules.

EVEN AS ODFW AND WDFW’S FULL COMMISSIONS PONDER this week’s recommendation, a bill active in Washington’s legislature seeks to remove nontribal gillnets from that state’s side of the Columbia.

While three cosponsors — Sens. Mona Das, Joe Nguyen and Emily Randall, all Democrats — appear to have since abandoned it, SB 5617 cleared one committee ahead of last week’s initial bill deadline and has been referred to Senate Ways and Means.

That committee is chaired by Sen. Christine Rolfes (D), who earlier this session spoke in favor of the bill as codifying WDFW policy.

And CCA Oregon has drummed up a letter for fishermen to send to both states’ managers and overseers.

“Over a hundred thousand sport fishers in each state are funding both DFWs while a few dozen are driving reversals to allow antiquated, non selective commercial fishing gear, that was outdated and outlawed in the rest of the state (of Oregon) since the last century,” the letter reads in part.

“I respectfully ask you to please not endorse the proposed changes to allow more commercial gillnet seasons on the river. I also urge you to stop bowing to small special interest groups and start leading in managing our fisheries for abundance.”

And they’ve also come up with information to send to Oregon lawmakers.

AS FOR NEXT STEPS, ON SATURDAY MORNING IN SPOKANE, Washington’s full Fish and Wildlife Commission will take up the subject — here are links to documents WDFW staff has prepared — with Oregon’s expected to on March 15.

The overarching goal is to set concurrent seasons ahead of the bulk of 2019’s fisheries, which are being discussed and set this month and next through the annual North of Falcon salmon-season-setting process.

How it all shakes out will be very interesting. Hold on to your hats, kids.

Melcher Reappointed As ODFW Head, Commission Hears About Columbia Sturgeon

THE FOLLOWING IS AN ODFW PRESS RELEASE

The Commission reappointed Curt Melcher of Molalla to another four-year term as ODFW Director at its meeting in Portland today. Melcher has been with ODFW for 34 years, starting his career doing fish creel surveys on the Columbia River. He has served as ODFW Director since 2014.

ODFW DIRECTOR CURT MELCHER. (ODFW)

Commissioners heard an update on Lower Columbia River white sturgeon populations and fisheries and results from ODFW’s ongoing stock assessments. Population indicators for white sturgeon are mixed, with positive signs for the abundance of legal-sized fish but more cautionary ones for juvenile and young-of-year recruitment. Because of these concerns, fisheries managers continue to take a precautionary approach to white sturgeon fisheries.

The Commission also heard a briefing on the state’s razor clam fisheries, including ODFW’s decades-long monitoring program. Razor clamming is a popular activity on the north coast, especially on Clatsop beaches, where 5,000-6,000 people can be out clamming on a good low tide.


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The 2018-19 razor clam season on Clatsop beaches was delayed from its traditional opening date of Oct. 1 this year because the population was dominated by undersized clams. The season remains scheduled to open March 1, 2019 though some clams are still small.

Also today, Chair Finley announced that the adoption of a revised Wolf Plan scheduled for March 15 would be postponed to a future meeting, to allow everyone more time to review the Plan and Commissioners more time to talk with constituents. ODFW staff intend to make a draft Plan available for review in early March.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. Its next meeting is March 15 in Salem.

ODFW Commission Sets 2019 Groundfish Regs, Adopts Urban Deer Program

THE FOLLOWING IS AN O.D.F.W. PRESS RELEASE

At their meeting in Salem today, the Fish and Wildlife Commission approved rules for a new urban deer control program for cities experiencing problems from high urban deer populations.

SOME URBAN DEER ARE BELOVED — THE NOW DECEASED NORRIS THE BUCK, AND SOME NOT SO MUCH. (ODFW)

The rules are based on SB 373 passed by the 2017 Oregon Legislature, which called for the development of a pilot program to allow cities to reduce deer populations in areas where high densities of deer are causing damage, health and safety concerns. To participate in the program, cities will be required to pass an ordinance or resolution declaring that city deer populations have risen to a level that is a public nuisance as well as an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of deer. Any cities participating will also be required to salvage deer meat and donate it to charity to the extent possible.

The Commission adopted recreational and commercial nearshore groundfish fisheries regulations for 2019 as proposed by staff. Next year’s regulations are very similar to 2018 regulations. The general marine bag limit will again be 5 fish. The lingcod, cabezon, and longleader fishery bag limits will also be the same as 2018, and retention of blue/deacon rockfish will be allowed in the longleader fishery. New for 2019, yelloweye rockfish allowances have increased, so recreational fishing will be allowed out to the 40 fathom line (instead of 30 fathom line) during the seasonal depth restriction, and the restriction is proposed to start one month later, on May 1.

YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH ANGLING WILL BE ALLOWED 60 FEET DEEPER IN 2019 THAN 2018, OUT TO THE 40-FATHOM LINE. (ODFW)

In other business, the Commission voted to:

  • Provide ceremonial hunting tags to the Burns-Paiute Tribe.
  • Fund several Access and Habitat projects and Restoration and Enhancement Projects, plus appoint Richard Heap of Brooking as Sportfishing Representative and Cary Johnson of Astoria as Gillnet Representative to the Restoration and Enhancement Board.
  • Adopt rules as proposed by staff for providing big game hunting tags to nonprofits for use by disabled veterans.
  • Update the Wild Turkey Management Plan, the first update since the Plan was adopted in 2004. The Plan adopted today updates trap and transplant guidelines, expands methods to address nuisance and damage, and outlines ways to improve hunter access to wild turkeys and strategies to create new turkey hunters

The Fish and Wildlife Commission’s next meeting is Jan. 18 in Salem.

Here Are Oregon’s Rules For Salvaging Roadkilled Deer, Elk

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted administrative rules for the salvage of roadkilled deer and elk during its meeting in Klamath Falls today. The new rules are due to the passage of SB 372 by the 2017 Oregon State Legislature and take effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

ELK STEAKS FROM ONE OF THE FIRST ROADKILLED ELK SALVAGED WHEN WASHINGTON’S PROGRAM BEGAN SEVERAL YEARS AGO. (RANDY HART JR.)

Highlights of the new rules include:

·        Deer and elk accidentally stuck by a vehicle may be salvaged for consumption only. Intentionally hitting a deer or elk in order to salvage it remains unlawful.

·        Anyone who salvages a roadkilled deer or elk must complete a free online permit within 24 hours of salvaging the animal and provide information including their name, contact info, where and when salvage occurred, species and gender of animal salvaged, and if they were driver that struck animal.

·        Antlers and head of all salvaged animals will need to be surrendered to an ODFW office within 5 business days of taking possession of the carcass. This rule will meet the requirements of SB 372 and will contribute to ODFW’s surveillance program for Chronic Wasting Disease.

·        The entire carcass of the animal including gut piles must be removed from the road and road right of way during the salvage.

·        In cases where a deer or elk is struck, injured and then put down to alleviate suffering, only the driver of the vehicle that struck the animal may salvage the carcass and law enforcement must be immediately notified. (This is a requirement per Oregon Revised Statute 498.016 and SB 372.)

·        Any person who salvages a deer or elk will consume the meat at their own risk. ODFW/OSP will not perform game meat inspections for any deer or elk salvaged under these rules.

·        Sale of any part of the salvaged animal is prohibited, but transfer to another person will be allowed with a written record similar to transferring game meat. 

·        The state of Oregon is not liable for any loss or damage arising from the recovery, possession, use, transport or consumption of deer or elk salvaged.

 

The Commission also approved the purchase of 214 acres of property adjacent to the Klamath Wildlife Area and the 560-acre Edmunds Well property near the Summer Lake Wildlife Area.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. Its next meeting is a joint meeting with Washington’s Fish and Wildlife Commission on Nov. 1 in Vancouver, Wash.

Oregon Fish And Wildlife Commission Set To Adopt Road-kill Salvage Rules

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, Oct. 12 in Klamath Falls at the Running Y Ranch Ponderosa Room, 500 Running Y Road.

The meeting starts at 8 a.m. and follows this agenda, https://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/18/10_oct/index.asp

The Commission will be asked to adopt administrative rules to allow the salvage of roadkilled deer and elk beginning Jan. 1, 2019. The new rules are due to the passage of SB 372 by the 2017 Oregon State Legislature. Highlights include:

·        Deer and elk accidentally stuck by a vehicle may be salvaged for consumption only. Intentionally hitting a deer or elk in order to salvage it remains unlawful.

(ERIC BELL)

·        Anyone who salvages a roadkilled deer or elk must complete a free online permit within 24 hours of salvaging the animal and provide information including their name, contact info, where and when salvage occurred, species and gender of animal salvaged, and if they were driver that struck animal.

·        Antlers and head of all salvaged animals will need to be surrendered to an ODFW office within 5 business days of taking possession of the carcass. This rule will meet the requirements of SB 372 and will contribute to ODFW’s surveillance program for Chronic Wasting Disease.

·        The entire carcass of the animal including gut piles must be removed from the road and road right of way during the salvage.

·        In cases where a deer or elk is struck, injured and then put down to alleviate suffering, only the driver of the vehicle that struck the animal may salvage the carcass and law enforcement must be immediately notified. (This is a requirement per Oregon Revised Statute 498.016 and SB 372.)

·        Any person who salvages a deer or elk will consume the meat at their own risk. ODFW/OSP will not perform game meat inspections for any deer or elk salvaged under these rules.

·        Sale of any part of the salvaged animal is prohibited, but transfer to another person will be allowed with a written record similar to transferring game meat. 

·        The state of Oregon is not liable for any loss or damage arising from the recovery, possession, use, transport or consumption of deer or elk salvaged.

 The Commission will consider the purchase of 214 acres of property adjacent to the Klamath Wildlife Area and the 560-acre Edmunds Well property near the Summer Lake wildlife Area.

The Commission’s agenda for Oct. 12 originally included plans to adopt rules related to the destruction of forfeited firearms from wildlife law violations, but that agenda item has been delayed until a future meeting.

On Thursday, Oct. 11, The Commission will also tour several projects in the Klamath Falls Area including the Green Diamond Travel Management Area and Klamath Fish Hatchery. Members of the public can join the tour but must provide their own transportation and lunch. Meet at the Running Y Resort front lobby at 8 a.m. to join the tour. See the tour agenda at https://bit.ly/2yf9ZJ7

A public forum will be held on Friday morning at the start of the meeting. Anyone 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.

ODFW Posts Revisions To Draft Wolf Plan Update; Up For Approval In Jan.

THE FOLLOWING IS AN OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE

A working copy of the revised Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is now available online at http://bit.ly/2j1w4nt. This working copy shows the edits staff have made to the April 2017 Draft Wolf Plan as a result of comments from stakeholders, the public and commissioners.

NORTHEAST OREGON WOLVES. (ODFW)

ODFW staff will brief the Fish and Wildlife Commission on this Working Copy of the Draft Wolf Plan at their Dec. 8 meeting in Salem. A panel of representatives from stakeholder groups has also been invited to testify at the meeting, but no other public testimony will be taken on Dec. 8.

ODFW staff will complete additional edits after the December meeting in preparation for adoption and rule-making of a final Draft Wolf Plan scheduled for the Jan. 19, 2018 commission meeting in Salem. Public testimony will be taken at that meeting and can also be provided via email at odfw.commission@state.or.us.

Oregon Fish-Wildlife Commission To Talk Cougar Plan, License Fees

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, Oct. 13 at the Crook County Fairgrounds, 1280 Main St in Prineville beginning at 8 a.m.

The meeting will follow this agenda, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/17/10_oct/index.asp, and be livestreamed online via ODFW’s @MyODFW account on Periscope and Twitter.

THE OREGON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION MEETING FRIDAY, OCT. 13, WILL BE LIVE STREAMED. (PERISCOPE)

The Commission will be asked to adopt an updated Oregon Cougar Management Plan. The Plan was last revised in 2006. The draft updated Plan incorporates new scientific literature and Oregon-specific research about cougars, including a genetics and habitat analysis, but does not propose major management changes. The updated Plan continues to stress coexistence with Oregon’s more than 6,400 cougars.

The Commission will also be asked to adopt new fees for recreational and other licenses that will take effect Jan. 1, 2018. These fees were already approved by the Oregon State Legislature when it passed ODFW’s 2015-17 budget. Typically, ODFW raises fees once every six years but during this six-year cycle, fee increases are staggered with a more modest fee increase every two years. The first stage occurred for 2016 licenses. Beginning with 2018 licenses, the cost of an annual hunting license will increase by $1.50 to $33.50, an annual fishing license will increase by $3 to $41 and a Combination License will increase by $4 to $69. The cost of juvenile licenses will stay the same as part of efforts to make hunting and fishing affordable for young people and their families. To see the full Recreational Fee License Schedule visit ODFW’s budget page.

Public testimony before the Commission 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’s 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.

On Thursday, Oct. 12 the Commission will tour the Prineville area with stops at Bowman Dam on the Crooked River to discuss fish management and at Opal Springs to discuss fish passage. Some parts of the tour during are not open to the public as they are at privately-owned facilities. For more information see the tour itinerary.