Tag Archives: Oregon

Big Turnout, 4 Tons Of Trash Collected In Annual Yaquina River Cleanup

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE U DA MAN FISHING TOURNAMENT

On Saturday, April 20th, the U Da Man (UDM) Fishing Tournament, in conjunction with Oregon SOLVE, held its 3rd Annual Port to Port Yaquina River Clean Up.

This event is sponsored by the Ports of Newport and Toledo, Dahl Disposal of Toledo, Thompson’s Sanitary Service of Newport, JC Thriftway Market and Englund Marine & Industrial Supply of Newport.

PARTICIPANTS IN THE PORT TO PORT CLEANUP POSE WITH TRASH COLLECTED ALONG THE LOWER YAQUINA RIVER DURING LAST WEEKEND’S EVENT. (U DA MAN)

Fifty-two volunteers worked from boats and the road shoulders from the Port of Toledo airport boat launch starting at 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. This is the largest group of volunteers we have had for this event. Two 20-yard dumpsters were filled with an estimated 8,000 pounds of debris and trash by the end of the day.

Volunteers represented local community members, along with the many members of the Longview Hills Fishing Club, Central Coast Fly Fishers, students from the Newport and Toledo High Schools, Angell Job Corp, First United Methodist Church Youth Group of Corvallis, ODFW, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol, Depoe Bay Salmon Enhancement, Oregon Hunters Association and Oregon SOLVE.

The UDM group wants to thank all the sponsors and volunteers who assisted us this year. We simply could not have this much impact on the Yaquina River habitat without all the people power and donations provided for this yearly event.

Oregon Family Free Fishing Events Begin This Weekend

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

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host about 30 different Family Fishing events throughout the state from April to November 2019.

Detailed information about these opportunities to take your family fishing can be found here: https://myodfw.com/articles/take-family-fishing.

AN INSTRUCTOR TEACHES A YOUNG ANGLER AT A 2017 ODFW FISHING EVENT. (ODFW)

All family fishing events are free and open to all ages. Children 11-years old and younger do not need a fishing license. However, those 12-17 will need a youth license, which can be purchased from any ODFW license agent or online via MyODFW.com for $10. Adult anglers will also need an Oregon fishing license. Licenses won’t be issued at the event so those who are required to have one should obtain their license ahead of time.

ODFW will also hand out rods, reels, tackle and bait to participants while supplies last. Pre-registration is not required and participants are welcome to bring their own fishing equipment if they prefer. ODFW staff and volunteer instructors will be present to assist with everything from gearing up, casting, landing and cleaning fish.

“Family fishing events are wonderful ways for new or beginner anglers to get out and experience fishing,” said Amanda Boyles, ODFW Angler Education Coordinator. “Volunteers and staff are more than willing to help with all fishing-related questions and all you need to bring with you is your license (if you’re 12 or older) and a smile on your face! Good luck, have fun, and say ‘thank you’ to all the ODFW volunteers you see out there because they make these events possible,” Boyles added.

Each Family Fishing pond will be regularly stocked with trout by ODFW. Review the Stocking Schedules to find out what’s being stocked throughout the year.

Anyone unable to participate in these fishing events can explore many other fishing, hunting or wildlife viewing opportunities at ODFW’s recreation website, including classes and workshops held for all ages, at  MyODFW.com.

ZONE, DATE AND TIME LOCATION NEAREST TOWN
Northwest Zone
April 20, 9 am – 2 pm Hebo Lake Hebo
April 27, 9 am – 2 pm Devils Lake (Regatta Park) Lincoln City
May 4, 9 am – 2 pm Vernonia Lake Vernonia
June 8, 9 am – 2 pm Cleawox Lake Florence
July 7, 9 am – 2 pm Dundas Pond Siletz
Southwest Zone
April 27, 10 am – 2 pm Empire Lakes Coos Bay
May 4, 9 am – 1:30 pm Reinhart Volunteer Park Grants Pass
May 18, 10 am – 2 pm Powers Pond Powers
June 8, 10 am – 2:30 pm Denman Wildlife Area Central Point
July 4, 9 am to 1 pm Mingus Park Coos Bay
July 20, 9 am to 1 pm July Jubilee North Bend
Willamette Zone
April 20, 9 am – 2 pm St. Louis Ponds Gervais
April 20, 9 am – 12 pm Walter Wirth Lake Cascades Gateway Park Salem
April 27, 9am – 2 pm Trojan Pond Rainer
May 4, 9 am – 2 pm Sheridan Pond Sheridan
May 5, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm Alton Baker Canoe Canal Eugene
May 25, 9 am – 2 pm Mt. Hood Pond Gresham
June 15, 10 am – 2 pm Alton Baker Canoe Canal Eugene
October 12, 9 am – 2 pm St. Louis Ponds Gervais
October 19, 9 am – 2 pm Mt. Hood Pond Gresham
November 26, 9 am – 12 pm Walter Wirth Lake Cascades Gateway Park Salem
Central Zone
May 4, 8:30 am – 1 pm Bikini Pond (Mayere State Park) Mosier
May 11, 8:30 – 2 pm Camp Baldwin Dufur
May 18, 8:30 am – 2 pm Middle Fork Pond Parkdale
June 20, 9 am – 12 pm Shevlin Pond Bend
Northeast Zone
April 13, 10 am – 12 pm McNary Channel Ponds Hermiston
May 18, 10 am – 12 pm McNary Channel Ponds Hermiston
July 6, 9 am – 2 pm Jubilee Lake Pendleton

OHA Annual Convention Set For Mid-May in Lincoln City

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION

The auction of an Oregon Access and Habitat Statewide Elk Tag – good for a four-month season nearly anywhere in the state, and the drawings for 12 dream hunt raffles for deer, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and mountain goat will highlight the events when the Oregon Hunters Association’s annual State Convention returns to Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln City on May 18.

The statewide elk tag and big game hunt raffles are sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and generate funds earmarked for each species, as well as wildlife habitat and hunting access programs.

The public is welcome to attend the event or bid on the statewide elk tag by telephone the night of the event. For ticket information, visit www.oregonhunters.org. For more information, or to register to bid by phone, contact the OHA state office at (541) 772-7313. Tickets must be purchased by May 8.

Other highlights of the live and silent auctions, which feature more than 100 items, include safaris in Africa and Argentina, North American hunting and fishing trips, getaways, top quality firearms, hunting gear and fine art.

The annual convention is the biggest fund-raising banquet of the year for OHA, the largest Oregon-based pro-hunting group with 26 chapters and 10,000 members statewide.

Other featured raffles at the event will offer more than 100 items worth more than $30,000, including firearms, hunting optics, gear and wildlife art. Raffles include the popular annual Les Schwab Raffle, this year featuring a Sig optics combo, and the new Coastal Farm & Ranch Raffle, featuring a Nosler Custom M48 Liberty rifle.

One OHA membership is required per couple or group. A one-year membership is $35 for individuals and $45 for families and includes a subscription to Oregon Hunter magazine and the Oregon Hunter’s Calendar.

There will be complimentary drawings for kids, ladies, OHA life members and – on Armed Forces Day – our veterans.

All funds raised stay in Oregon to support OHA’s mission of protecting Oregon’s wildlife, habitat and hunting heritage.

 

Brown Sends Oregon Senate List Of 5 New Commission Nominees

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has submitted a slate of Fish and Wildlife Commission candidates to the state Senate for consideration next month.

The field includes a double Purple Heart recipient/Northeast Oregon hunting guide; Willamette Valley winery owner/former Department of Fish and Wildlife staffer; Siletz guide/crabber; chair of the ODFW legislative funding task force; and a Wild Rivers Coast Alliance board of directors member/South Coast rancher.

BRIG. GEN. JAMES LUKEMAN PRESENTS 1ST LT. JIM NASH OF THE 2ND TANK BATTALION WITH ONE OF TWO PURPLE HEART MEDALS HE RECEIVED ON MARCH 6, 2013 FOR WOUNDS SUSTAINED IN A MORTAR ATTACK AND FROM AN IED WHILE DEPLOYED IN AFGHANISTAN. (CPL. AUSTIN LONG, DVIDS)

Those nominees are Capt. James Nash, Jill Zarnowitz, Robert Spelbrink, Mark Labhart, and Mary Wahl.

Nash is a member of a longtime Wallowa County cattle ranching family and served as a Marine Corps tank commander in Afghanistan. He describes his life on the ranch and his duty overseas in a compelling July 2018 video produced by Oregon optics maker Leupold.

Zarnowitz has a master’s degree from the University of Washington in fish and wildlands management and worked on water policy for ODFW, and has been the general manager and now coowner of Stag Hollow Wines outside Yamhill.

Spelbrink guides on the Siletz River and has operated the F/V Alliance fishing commercially for crab as well as salmon and albacore.

Wahl also comes from a ranching family, but in the opposite corner of Oregon, 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.

And Labhart worked for the Oregon Department of Forestry, served on a board looking into sudden oak death syndrome issues, retired after several years as a Tillamook County Commissioner, and chaired the state legislature’s task force that looked for ways to better fund ODFW before moving to Sisters.

They are scheduled to be considered by the Senate Rules Committee on May 8.

At full strength, Oregon’s commission has seven members, one from each of the state’s five Congressional districts, a sixth from west of the Cascades, the seventh from east of the crest.

Currently there is one open seat while the terms of Chair Michael Finley of Medford and members Holly Akenson of Enterprise and Bruce Buckmaster of Astoria all expire in the coming two months.

The nomination of Buckmaster four springs ago sparked well-founded unease amongst the sportfishing industry, though he was ultimately confirmed by the Senate. His term isn’t being extended for a second four years, but Brown has nominated him to serve on the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board — where he had been the Fish and Wildlife Commission representative since last year — in an at-large seat, according to a member of the governor’s staff.

The terms of Jim Bittle of Central Point and Greg Wolley of Portland run into next year, while that of Bob Webber of Port Orford had been extended past the end of his second term in February 2018 until new commissioners are named, when his service will end, according to the official.

Editor’s note, 9 a.m. April 22, 2019: The last two paragraphs have been tweaked to clarify that Mr. Buckmaster’s appointment to the watershed board would essentially transition from being the representative of the Fish and Wildlife Commission to a public at-large position if confirmed, and that Mr. Webber’s extended term on the commission would end in mid-May after Senate confirmation of new members.

3 NW Rivers Get Dubious Honor: Make Annual Endangered List

Three Northwest rivers are on an annual list of the ten most endangered in the country.

American Rivers says Washington’s Green-Duwamish Chinook and public safety are threatened by outdated flood management, salmon and steelhead on Oregon’s Willamette by fish passage at more than a dozen dam sites, and Idaho’s South Fork Salmon from plans to reopen an old mine that has been cleaned up.

THE GREEN RIVER TWISTS AND TURNS BETWEEN LEVEES IN THE KENT VALLEY. CONTROLLING THE KING COUNTY STREAM’S FLOODS HAS MADE THE LOWER VALLEY A VALUABLE TRANSPORTATION AND RESIDENCY HUB, BUT AT THE COST OF HIGHLY REDUCED SALMON HABITAT. (WRIA 9)

The group calls on local and federal agencies to ensure that the rivers and their fish are safeguarded from more harm.

The Green-Duwamish, which is a Russell Wilson hail Mary away from the offices of Northwest Sportsman, flows through a radically altered lower valley and estuary, with hillside to hillside development and levees straitjacketing it on its way to Elliott Bay.

“The extensive levee system separates the river from its historic floodplain, negatively impacting water quality, reducing rearing habitat and dramatically decreasing the amount of shade-giving trees along the river,” says American Rivers.

They call on the King County Flood Control District to “develop a truly integrated plan” for the lower river, saying that a recently released proposal “intensifies river bank armoring and levee construction, and fails to include habitat restoration goals or specific habitat improvements in its alternatives.”

That plan includes three alternatives, but some have called for a fourth, which would include flood protection while also providing for salmon habitat restoration.

COHO, CHINOOK AND PINK SALMON CAUGHT ON THE DUWAMISH RIVER IN RECENT YEARS. (ANDY WALGAMOTT, ALL)

Comments on the flood district’s programatic environmental impact statement for their new plan (which really should include repurposing the Tukwila soccer fields for offchannel salmon habitat) are open through 5 p.m. May 1.

It’s the second time the Green-Duwamish has been on the list in the past few years. The rivers group also calls for improved fish passage at Howard Hanson Dam, on the upper river. A recent federal biological opinion ordered dam operators to provide that.

The battle to get salmon and steelhead into another Northwest river, the Willamette, has been in the news of late as ODFW recently received a federal permit to kill sea lions gathered at the falls. That appeared to be working as euthanizations and good water conditions aligned to get a solid push of wild winter-runs past the gauntlet of pinnipeds in late winter.

But American Rivers is aiming further upstream, at the Army Corps of Engineers, which is doing a deep dive on its 13 dams in the valley. They says the corps “must make structural modifications to the dams to facilitate downstream passage for juvenile salmon” as well as “continue to improve upstream passage for adult fish so that they can gain access to their historic spawning habitat.”

They call on Congress to fund that work.

And they say that when the Payette National Forest releases a DEIS on a Canadian company’s plan to reopen a Central Idaho mine to dig gold and antimony, the Forest Service “must protect the health of, and investment in, the South Fork of the Salmon River, the water quality of the Wild and Scenic Salmon River, and the long-term recovery of endangered fish by prohibiting the reopening and expansion of the Stibnite Mine.”

AN OLD MINE ON A BRANCH OF THE SOUTH FORK SALMON RIVER WAS THE SITE OF A SUPERFUND CLEANUP. NOW, A COMPANY WANTS TO OPEN A NEW MINE THERE. (DANIEL PATRINELLIS)

The South Fork was also on last year’s list, and in 2017, Washington’s Toutle and South Fork Skykomish were, while in 2015 the Columbia and Rogue were on it.

ODFW Posts Revised Draft Wolf Plan For Comment Ahead Of June Commission Vote

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

ODFW released its draft proposed Wolf Conservation and Management Plan today at www.odfw.com/wolves

The Fish and Wildlife Commission is expected to vote on the Plan at its June 7 meeting in Salem.

Once adopted, the Plan will be the third edition of the Wolf Plan, which was first adopted in 2005 after an extensive public process and revised in 2010.

A WALLA WALLA PACK WOLF WALKS THROUGH SNOWY COUNTRY IN FEBRUARY 2019. (ODFW)

The proposed Draft Plan was written by staff but involved extensive meetings with stakeholders and public comment at several prior Commission meetings. In 2018, the Commission also directed ODFW staff to host facilitated meetings with stakeholders to seek consensus on unresolved issues.

The draft Plan incorporates ideas where consensus was reached, but agreement was not possible on all topics. See a report on the facilitated meetings’ outcomes here https://www.dfw.state.or.us/Wolves/WPSR.asp

“Wolf management is a polarizing topic with strong views on all sides, so it’s tough to find consensus,” says Derek Broman, ODFW carnivore and furbearer program coordinator. “But regardless of people’s views on wolves, the wolf population in Oregon is growing in size, number of packs and packs reproducing, while expanding its range.”

Defining chronic depredation that might lead to lethal control of wolves and hunting of wolves are some of the most contentious issues. Staff previously proposed the definition of chronic depredation be three confirmed depredations in a 12-month period in Phase 2 and 3, a change from the current definition (two confirmed depredations in an unlimited timeframe). Due to feedback from stakeholders at the facilitated meetings, the Draft Plan now proposes two confirmed depredations in nine months in Phases 2 and 3 (so the only change from the current definition is a  9-month time restriction).

Like the original Plan, the Draft Plan would allow controlled take only in Phase 3 (currently eastern Oregon) in instances of recurring depredations or when wolves are a major cause of ungulate populations not meeting established management objectives or herd management goals.

ODFW is not proposing any controlled take of wolves at this time, but believes regulated hunting and trapping needs to remain a tool available for wolf management.  Any proposal for controlled take of wolves would require Commission approval through a separate planning and hunt development process.

Other major topics addressed in Plan include:

  • Wolf-livestock conflict, including an expanded section on the latest non-lethal tools and techniques for reducing conflict.
  • Wolf interactions with native ungulate populations, including annual ungulate population estimates before and after wolf establishment. Elk, wolves’ primary prey, have increased in some units with wolves and decreased in others. However, interpretation of the impact of wolf predation on elk is confounded by management efforts to reduce elk numbers in units where they are over management objective or to minimize conflicts with elk on private land. Mule deer have been below desired levels for more than two decades, before wolves’ returned to Oregon, with changing land management strategies, invasive weeds, and recent severe weather among the main reasons for their decline.
  • Wolf population monitoring and potential conservation threats.
  • Strategies to address wolf-human interactions.

Public testimony on the draft Plan will be taken during the June 7 meeting and can also be sent to odfw.commission@state.or.us. Emails sent by May 23 will be included with staff proposal as part of the review materials shared with Commissioners prior to the meeting.

Cannon Beach Ocean Patrol Finds Big Overlimit Of Lings

Five people stopped off Oregon’s North Coast were criminally cited for going way over the limit on lingcod and rockfish as well as retaining undersized fish, and apparently it wasn’t their first time doing so.

A CROPPED OREGON STATE POLICE IMAGE SHOWS THE OVERLIMIT CATCH OF LINGCOD AND ROCKFISH. (OSP)

“The boat owner said that they had done this before, and if he had seen the troopers coming from further away, he would have dumped all of the extra fish overboard,” reported state fish and wildlife troopers in their latest newsletter.

The incident occurred during a joint OSP-WDFW ocean patrol from the mouth of the Columbia River south to Cannon Beach.

Somewhere off the popular seaside destination, the crew spotted a fishing boat and decided to make contact with it.

As they approached, one occupant of the boat tossed a couple lings overboard, according to OSP, and when they came alongside troopers also saw “multiple undersized lingcod on the deck.”

The quintet claimed that those fish and some in a cooler were the only catch of the day, but a consent search turned up many more.

In the holds were 37 lings, 16 of which were under the size limit – the daily limit is two, 22 inches or better – and 22 rockfish, according to troopers.

“The anglers were found to be 27 lingcod over their daily limit and six rockfish over their limit,” OSP reports.

The five received criminal citations for exceeding daily limits on lingcod and marine fish, and retaining undersized lings. The fish were seized.

The case is similar to one reported here last year in which four individuals checked at the Hammond Marina were criminally cited for being 54 over the limit on rockfish, and one of them for keeping a too-short ling and an off-limits cabezon.

Seized fish are typically donated to local food banks.

NMFS Shares Salmon Habitat Gains, Flood-threat Reduction From Tillamook Estuary Work

THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS STORY FROM THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE

NOAA’s work with community partners restoring estuary habitat in Tillamook Bay, Oregon is revitalizing tidal wetlands for threatened Oregon Coast coho salmon, and helping reduce flooding in the surrounding communities and farmlands.

The project’s benefits to fish were realized immediately—443 acres of different estuary habitats critical to juvenile salmon are now available, including mud flats, open water with vegetation, marsh and others. Often called “nurseries of the sea,” estuaries offer unique conditions, like slow moving water and tides that bring in nutrients, which keep fish safe and allow them to grow.

BEFORE AND AFTER IMAGES FROM THE TILLAMOOK ESTUARY PARTNERSHIP SHOW THE EFFECT OF REMOVING LEVEES AND TIDE GATES NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE TRASK RIVER. (TILLAMOOK ESTUARY PARTNERSIHP VIA NMFS)

A recently published report also confirms the project’s flood reduction goals were achieved. Shortly after project completion, in October 2017, a flood occurred at the site. Our restoration work resulted in widespread reduction in flood levels and duration including along Highway 101, a key commercial and transportation corridor. In total, about 4,800 acres around the project site showed reductions in flood levels.

This project, like many others we work on, shows how restoring habitat back to its natural functions can help coastal communities be more resilient against severe weather. Nature-based approaches are being shown to provide these, and many other economic benefits, along both the the east and west coasts of the United States.

Almost 90 percent of the Tillamook Estuary’s historic tidal wetlands have been lost to development and agriculture. Like many other species relying on estuary and wetland habitats, loss of these areas is a primary contributor to the decline of Oregon Coast coho salmon.

Additionally, Oregon’s winters bring storm surges, heavy rainfall, and snow melt. Combined with high tides, this often causes flooding in the area. Flood losses in Tillamook County exceeded $60 million from 1996 – 2000.

ESTUARIES ARE IMPORTANT HABITAT FOR COHO SMOLTS ALONG WITH THE YOUNG OF OTHER SALMON SPECIES. (ROGER TABOR, USFWS)

To achieve the mutually beneficial project goals, old levees, fill, and tide gates were removed to create tidal estuary habitat. This functions as a “flow corridor,” allowing flood waters to move freely and quickly away from the town of Tillamook. Now, nearby properties and more than 500 structures are protected from flooding. It’s estimated that $9.2 million in economic benefits will accrue from avoided flood damages over the next 50 years.

The project reconnected hundreds of acres of marsh habitat and restored 13 miles of new tidal channels. This will significantly benefit Endangered Species Act-listed Oregon Coast coho salmon. Historically, more than 200,000 of these salmon would return to Tillamook Bay each year. That number was down to just 2,000 in 2012. This habitat is critical for juvenile salmon to feed and grow, and will help with the broader goal of species recovery along Oregon’s entire coast.

The Southern Flow Corridor Project is the result of tremendous community support and collaboration. NOAA Fisheries’ Restoration Center, within the Office of Habitat Conservation, and the West Coast Regional Office, worked with more than a dozen local, state, federal, tribal and private partners on this effort.

BRYCE MOLENKAMP PREPARES TO NET A SALMON ON TILLAMOOK BAY. (MARK VEARY)

Key partners include the Port of Tillamook Bay, Tillamook Bay Habitat and Estuary Improvement District, Tillamook County, the State of Oregon, FEMA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Institute for Applied Ecology, and the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership. We provided funding for the project through the Community-based Restoration Program and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, and on-the-ground technical assistance.

ODFW Also Reports Increased Wolf Population; 2018 Count Finds Minimum Of 137 In Oregon

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

State wildlife biologists counted 137 wolves in Oregon this past winter, a 10 percent increase over last year’s count of 124, according to the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2018 Annual Report released today at odfw.com/wolves.

A WOLF IN THE CHESNIMNUS PACK OF NORTHEAST OREGON APPEARS ON A TRAIL CAMERA IMAGE. (ODFW)

This annual count is based on verified wolf evidence (like visual observations, tracks, and remote camera photographs) and is considered the minimum known wolf count, not an estimate of how many wolves are in Oregon. The actual number of wolves in Oregon is likely higher, as not all individuals or groups of wolves present in the state are located during the winter count.

Sixteen packs were documented during the count, up from 12 packs in 2017. (A pack is defined as four or more wolves traveling together in winter.) Eight other groups of 2-3 wolves were also identified. Fifteen of those packs successfully reproduced and had at least two adults and two pups that survived through the end of 2018, making them “breeding pairs,” a 36 percent increase over last year’s number.

“The state’s wolf population continues to grow and expand its range, now into the central Oregon Cascade Mountains too,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator.

Highlights from the report:

  • Resident wolf numbers and reproduction increased in western Oregon. A second pack (White River Pack) reproduced and was designated a breeding pair for 2018, joining the Rogue Pack. The Indigo group of at least three wolves was also found in the Umpqua National Forest.
  • Three collared wolves dispersed to California and one to Idaho.
  • Approximately 13% of wolves known at the end of the year in Oregon were monitored via radio collar.
  • Biologists documented more than 15,000 wolf location data points by radio collar or other methods including aerial, track and howling surveys. 53% of these locations were on public land, 40% on private and 7% on tribal.
  • The breeding female of Oregon’s oldest known reproducing pack, the Wenaha Pack, disappeared and no reproduction was documented for the pack in 2018. The female wolf was at least 10 years old, which is old for a wolf living in the wild, and she appeared in poor body condition in summer trail camera photos.

Unlawful take of wolves decreases
Two wolves were found killed unlawfully in 2018 (down from four in 2017). A juvenile wolf believed to be from the Grouse Flats Pack (a pack that uses Oregon but is counted as a Washington state pack because it dens there) was shot. The radio-collared breeding female of the Mt Emily Pack was shot on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. Oregon State Police and CTUIR law enforcement continue to investigate these incidents and are actively seeking more information. Rewards ranging from $2,500 to $15,000 have been offered for information leading to a conviction in these and previous cases.

ODFW’S LATEST WOLF MAP IS NOT UNLIKE WDFW’S, WITH MOST PACKS CONCENTRATED IN THE STATE’S NORTHEAST CORNER AND A FEW IN THE CASCADES AND ELSEWHERE. (ODFW)

Livestock depredation increases
Confirmed depredation incidents by wolves increased 65 percent from last year, with 28 confirmed incidents (up from 17 last year). A total of 17 calves, one llama and two livestock guardian dogs were lost to wolves and an additional 13 calves were injured. Three wolf packs were responsible for the majority of depredations (Rogue – 11, Pine Creek – 6 and Chesnimnus – 5).  While known wolf numbers have increased considerably over the last nine years, depredations and livestock losses have not increased at the same rate.

In all phases of wolf management, Oregon’s Wolf Plan mandates that non-lethal efforts are undertaken before lethal removal is considered. In 2018, those measures included removing attractants, hazing, electrified fladry, fence maintenance, radio-activated guard boxes, increased human presence, range riders and other husbandry practices.

ODFW, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services continue to support livestock producers in their non-lethal efforts with technical advice, supplies and assistance with implementation.

“As the wolf population has expanded into new areas in Oregon, livestock producers have adjusted the way they do business to remove bone piles and incorporate non-lethal measures that can reduce the vulnerability of their livestock to depredation by wolves and other predators,” said Roblyn Brown, ODFW Wolf Coordinator. “We extend our thanks and appreciation for their efforts.”

The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance Grant Program also awarded $160,890 in grant funds to compensate livestock producers for losses and to fund preventive non-lethal measures.

ODFW staff will present an overview of the draft Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2018 Annual Report to the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their April 19 meeting in St Helens. The presentation will be during the Director’s Report, and no public testimony is taken during this portion of the meeting.

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Hunters Express Concerns Over Oregon Pilot ‘Excessive Elk Damage’ Bill

Oregon lawmakers this morning heard arguments for and against a bill that would begin a pilot program to alleviate “excessive elk damage,” with hunting organizations expressing concern and ranchers demanding action.

House Bill 3227 drew a full house during public comment in Salem before the lower chamber’s Natural Resources Committee, which also heard from the Department of Fish and Wildlife about what tools are in its toolbox for when too many of the prized ungulates gather on valley floor pastures.

A PAIR OF ELK SPAR AT THE WENAHA WILDLIFE AREA, WHERE STATE WILDLIFE MANAGERS HAD TO FEED WAPITI DURING A RECENT HARSH WINTER. OTHER ELK HAVE FOUND THAT THE REGION’S SETTLED VALLEY FLOOR OFFERS ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE, BUT ONE THAT RANCHERS AND LANDOWNERS ARE GROWING FRUSTRATED BY. (KEITH KOHL, ODFW)

This winter and the harsh one of 2016-17 have seen large numbers pushed into the lowlands and farmers and ranchers fields and haystacks, where some apparently have taken up year-round residence too.

But even as they acknowledge that that’s a problem, hunters are worried about nebulous language in the bill, including what exactly “excessive” means and how it opens up the current landowner damage program to allow any “persons” to get a tag to kill antlerless on the property or leases of producers and others who complains they’re suffering too high of an impact from elk.

“The Oregon Hunters Association opposes House Bill 3227, as it does not consider elk biological factors, environmental conditions, most hunters interests, or the effectiveness of collaborative efforts,” wrote Ken McCall, OHA resource director. “It places elk management in the hands of landowners rather than with trained professionals within ODFW. Elk distribution issues are complex, and a one-sided approach is not the answer.”

Blake Henning, conservation chair of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, called it a “heavy-handed approach” in written testimony and said the problem was a result of other issues.

“This bill treats the symptoms of elk herd distribution rather than its true causes—lack of suitable habitat on adjacent public lands and pressure from predators. The Oregon House of Representatives would do well to address these problems before considering this statutory landowner damage pilot program,” his remarks stated.

The numerous territories of wolves in the mountains above La Grande and Elgin were featured in Union County Commissioner Paul Anderes’s slideshow.

But it also showed apparent elk damage, including teetering haystacks that had been eaten on at the bottom, and elk tracks and trails through muddy or planted fields.

Besides passing the bill, Anderes said other solutions were removing wapiti from the floor of the valley and “night-time shooting.”

Under the bill, the pilot program would include Clatsop, Lincoln, Morrow, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa Counties, and livestock producers and farmers from some of those voiced support for it during the hearing, saying that lowland elk herds have been growing in size in recent years.

Some said they had no intention of making any money off of selling tags through the proposed program.

Committee Chair Brad Witt was pretty emphatic that something needed to be done.

“We’re not going to let Oregonians be eaten out of house and home,” the Clatskanie Democrat said. “We’re going to protect hunters’ interests as well.”

He had asked representatives of the hunting groups in attendance — OHA, RMEF along with Oregon Bowhunters — what it would take to get closer to an agreement about how to move forward.

“I’m looking at how we get to a yes,” Witt said, indicating his desire to move the bill.

ODFW’s Shannon Hurn said that the most effective solution so far has been working collaboratively with legislators, landowners and hunters, which was echoed by OHA’s Al Elkins.

He said it wasn’t a one-size-fits-all issue, and that his conclusion after working for 20 years on it is that regional discussions about specific problems areas works best.

Near the end of the meeting, OHA’s Ken McCall rose and echoed sentiments from Henning’s RMEF statement.

“We’re leaving the federal lands out of this conversation and we shouldn’t,” he said.

McCall said his organization has been working for the Forest Service to improve habitat on low-elevation lands adjacent to agricultural operations.

Chair Witt asked the hunter groups to provide a contact name to him and the bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Greg Baretto, a Cove Republican, to be available to work on the issue.

Two more hearings on Oregon elk bills are scheduled for this afternoon.