State Commission votes to establish Conservation and Recreation Committee

ONTARIO, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission unanimously approved rules establishing the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Advisory Committee and rules guiding expenditures from the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund.

The 2019 Oregon State Legislature passed HB 2829 to create this Fund to conserve and protect Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and their habitats. The bill was based on the recommendations of a Task Force created by the 2015 Oregon State Legislature that explored alternative funding fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation. The Advisory Committee will consist of nine members appointed by the Governor.

The Commission also approved changes to non-statutory occupational and some license fees for 2020. The Commission was given the authority to change certain fees by the 2015 Oregon State Legislature.

The Commission in a unanimous vote adjusted rules related to the disposition of elk taken with a kill permit to address wildlife damage. The new rule balances the required burden on the landowner to process the elk with the ability for the landowner or agents to retain an elk carcass while still prioritizing delivery to charitable organizations such as food banks.

The Commission extended the dates of current sturgeon angling closures in the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day Reservoirs to include the month of August.

The change extends the closure to the critical post-spawn recovery period and reduce handling of oversized white sturgeon during this vulnerable period. The rules also extend the boundary of the John Day Reservoir sanctuary to include an area from the McNary dam downstream 13.5 miles, protecting a substantial portion of spawning sturgeon in this reservoir.

Additionally, the Commission closed sturgeon retention in the Oregon portions of the McNary Reservoir (the area remains open to catch-and-release during those seasons) due to limited data and ability to monitor this area.

The Commission is the rule-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. Its next meeting is December 6, 2019 in Salem.

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