Fish and Wildlife Commission sends ODFW budget to Governor Bird and fishing regulations for upcoming seasons also set
August 1, 2014
SALEM, Ore.—The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved a $357 million budget proposal for the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the 2015-17 biennium that includes a combination of program cuts, adjustments to licenses and fees, and proposals to shift some programs from license fees to state general funds.
With Commission approval, the proposed budget will be submitted to the Governor for his consideration. Final determination of the ODFW budget would come from the 2015 Oregon State Legislature. Changes to license fees, if approved, would take effect in 2016.
The Commission first considered the 2015-2017 agency budget in June. The budget adopted today includes some changes made in response to Commission and public comment, including:
- Restoration of four assistant district fish biologists in field offices;
- Funding for increased hatchery production called for in the Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan, and
- Restoration of some positions in the Western Oregon Stream Restoration Program.
2014 Coastal Salmon Seasons/2015 Sport Fishing Regulations
The Commission set the 2014 coastal Chinook and coho salmon seasons, which are very similar to the 2013 seasons. For Chinook, there are more liberal seasonal bag limits on the Siletz and Yaquina rivers, and slightly more restrictive bags on the Chetco. Also on the Siletz, the Chinook angling deadline will shift further upriver in October. The Winchuck River will be closed to fishing in 2014 based on recent and projected Chinook returns.
For coho, bag limits and open fishing periods will be identical to the 2013 season, except for a reduced quota on the Umpqua River and minor date changes. In 2014 most coho fisheries will be conducted based on conservative bag limits and seasons; only three fisheries (Beaver Creek, Umpqua River and Floras River) will have harvest quotas.
The 2014 coastal fall salmon seasons are available on the ODFW web page.
The Commission also adopted the 2015 Sport Fishing Regulations that will take effect in January. Most of the changes for 2015 are housekeeping actions related to corrections, formatting changes and simplification.
Other regulation changes for 2015 include:
- Permanent extension of the spring Chinook season in Three Rivers to July 15 (NW Zone).
- More restrictive bag limits and gear restrictions on the Chetco and Winchuck rivers (SW Zone) to protect wild fall Chinook.
- An increase in the steelhead daily bag limit to four in the Santiam Basin (Willamette Zone).
- A permanent fall Chinook fishery on the lower Deschutes (Central Zone).
- Changing the smallmouth bass regulations on the John Day River (NE Zone), changing back to the zone regulations.
Based on waterfowl population surveys and federal season frameworks, the Commission approved another liberal 107-day duck season that will open concurrently in duck zones 1 and 2 on Oct. 11. Pheasant, chukar/Hungarian partridge, and eastern Oregon quail seasons will also open Oct. 11.
Other changes to migratory game bird hunting for the 2014-15 season:.
- The cackling and Aleutian Canada goose bag limit restrictions have been removed in both the NW general and NW permit Oregon goose zones. The bag limit will be four Canada geese per day, except for dusky Canada geese in the NW Permit Zone.
- The white-fronted goose bag limit will increase from six to 10 per day except in Lake County where the bag limit will remain one per day.
- Late-winter white-fronted and white goose seasons have been added in Lake and Harney Counties, similar to those in already held in Klamath and Malheur counties. Summer Lake Wildlife Area and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge will be closed during the late-winter hunt timeframe (Jan. 26 – March 10).
- Bag limit of 20 white geese per day during late-winter hunts in Klamath, Lake, and Harney counties.
- The bag limit for Canada geese will increase from four to six per day during the entire season in the South Coast Zone.
- The bag limit for mourning doves will increase from 10 to 15 per day and the mourning dove season will increase in length from 30 to 60 days.
- The opening date for the NW Permit and General goose zones has been shifted forward by two weeks so the season would open on Oct. 18, similar to seasons prior to 2011.
- The overall dusky Canada goose quota in the NW Permit Zone has increased from 90 to 165 geese for the season.
- The area of the Columbia River (from the railroad bridge at Celilo to Arlington), previously closed, will be open to game bird hunting.
- NW Goose Permit Zone hunters will be allowed to check in at any check station.
Though the change wouldn’t take effect until 2015, the Commission also approved changing the eastside reservation system at Sauvie Island Wildlife Area from first-come, first served to a random draw. This is to allow all hunters to have an equal chance to hunt in their preferred area.
2015-20 Upland Game Bird Framework:
The Commission also decided on a regulatory framework for the 2015-20 upland game bird seasons. Upland bird season frameworks are adopted on a five-year basis to provide consistency to wildlife managers and bird hunters. The following changes will take effect Sept. 1, 2015:
- Quail, chukar, Hungarian partridge seasons will extend until Jan. 31 in Umatilla and Morrow counties (currently close Dec. 31).
- Eastern Oregon forest grouse season will extend until Jan. 31 (currently closes Dec. 31).
- Spring turkey season bag limit increased to three (from two) statewide; daily bag limit will remain at one.
- Retention of fully-feathered head OR wing for identification in the field (previously only head allowed).
Finally, the Commission consolidated wildlife management area and public river access rules into one OAR Division 008 (from four different places in rule and regulation) and added some ODFW managed lands not called out in current regulations into the rules. Proposed changes to parking permit regulations were postponed.
The Fish and Wildlife Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. It usually meets monthly. The next meeting is Sept. 5 in Joseph, Ore.
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