Oregon F&W Commission Meeting June 2nd and 3rd
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Thursday and Friday, June 2 and 3, at ODFW Headquarters in Salem to consider 2012 big game regulations and new rules for hunting dog trainers and wildlife rehabilitators.
Thursday's meeting begins at 1 p.m. and focuses on wildlife matters, though agenda items could continue on Friday. Friday’s meeting begins at 8 a.m. and focuses on fish issues. Both meeting take place in the Commission Room at ODFW, 3406 Cherry Ave. NE, Salem and follow this agenda.
Big game regulations, wildlife rehabilitation rules
Thursday meeting agenda items include adoption of fall 2011 big game controlled hunt tag numbers. Most tag numbers are very similar to last year, except NW antlerless deer tags in several units (Saddle Mtn, Scappoose, Wilson, Trask, Stott Mtn, Alsea, Siuslaw) are down due to declining black-tailed deer populations.
The Commission will be asked to approve several concepts for 2012 big game regulations, though final adoption of new regulations won't take place until the Oct. 7 meeting in Pendleton. No major changes are proposed.
Due to concerns about disease and genetics, the transport of captive deer and elk is tightly regulated. A proposal the Commission will consider would allow fallow deer from Oregon to return to the state after being taken out for educational and entertainment purposes.
The Commission will consider naming a 141-acre wildlifearea along the Yachats River the "TamiWagner Wildlife Area", in memory of an ODFW wildlife biologist killed last year in a car accident while performing work duties. Tami played alarge role in managing this property to maximize its wildlife habitat and aesthetic value. The property is currently unnamed.
The Commission will consider expanding rules for Oregon's approximately 100 licensed wildlife rehabilitators. The proposed rules would clarify how and where rehabilitated wildlife may be released, expand on the level of care provided to wildlife during rehabilitation, and more clearly align the rules with other wildlife policies like the Wildlife Integrity Rules and species' management plans.
Licensed wildlife rehabilitators care for sick, injured or orphaned wildlife. An external advisory group that included 13 licensed wildlife rehabilitators helped put together the proposed new rules, which have not been changed since they were adopted in 1983.
Finally, the Commission will consider big game auction tag allocations for 2012, as well as Access and Habitat project approval and reappointment of the Board Chair.
Dog training rules
Changes to rules governing competitive hunting dog trials and hunting dog and falcon training will also be considered by the Commission on June 2.
Early this year, an advisory group of representatives from hunting dog trainers, game bird propagators, shooting preserve operators, falconers, hunters, bird conservationists, Oregon State Police and ODFW was formed to revise the rules. The Commission last looked at portions of the rules in 1993.
The proposed rule changes don't further restrict training activities but:
- Allow the release and take of domestically-raised game birds outside of normal hunting seasons for the sole purpose of training hunting dogs and raptors.
- Clarify that releasing and taking domestically-raised game birds to train hunting dog and raptors is not allowed on ODFW wildlife areas, except in designated areas or by special rule.
- Create a formal pursuit season for wild-born upland game birds from Sept. 1-Jan. 31.
- Allow hunting dog training in game bird nesting habitat year-round as long as wildlife is not harassed.
Friday's meeting agenda
On Friday, the meeting reconvenes at 8 a.m. and the Commission will consider several fish-related items.
The Commission will be asked to approve the 2011 seasons for coastal chinook and coho salmon. The number of fall chinook predicted to return to coastal rivers and streams is expected to improve from 2010 returns, except for the north coast. In response, the staff has proposed restrictive regulations for north coast rivers, though not as restrictive as in 2010.
For rivers from the Siletz south to the California border, the Commission will consider permanent bag limit regulations (2 fish per day and 20 for the season). The exceptions are the Sixes and Elk rivers where a bag limit of 1 fish per day and 10 for the season has been proposed to help increase harvest of hatchery fish while protecting wild fish.
For the third year in a row, ODFW staff is predicting coho salmon returns will be high enough to consider opening some rivers and lakes to the harvest of wild fish. The Commission will be asked to approve wild coho fisheries on 11 rivers and lakes including the Nehalem, Tillamook Bay, Nestucca, Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Coos and Coquille rivers and Tenmile Lakes. Because coastal coho are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, these fisheries must also be approved by NOAA.
ODFW staff will present 26 Restoration and Enhancement Projects totaling $1.5 million for the Commission's consideration and approval.
The Commission also will appoint or reappoint members to the Commercial Fishery Permit Board, which reviews contested case proceedings and proposed orders in cases where a commercial fishing permit has been denied or revoked.
The Commission will be asked to provide guidance on the Lower Columbia River White Sturgeon Conservation Plan, which is being developed in response to concerns about the long-term health of white sturgeon populations in the lower Columbia River.
Finally, the Commission will be briefed and asked to comment on a plan to change the way the agency considers fishing regulation changes proposed by the public. The goal of the proposed new plan is to simplify the process while allowing for more meaningful public participation
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly.
Public testimony will be held Friday morning immediately following the expenditure report. Persons 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.
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.