SALEM — The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission met on Jan. 10, in Salem and completed the following business:
• Approved $60,100 in funding for three restoration projects recommended by the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board.
• Appointed Bob Bumstead of Eugene as Sport Fishing representative to the R&E board.
• Delayed a decision on fish screening exemptions and fish passage waivers for two proposed hydroelectric projects (on the Warmsprings Dam in Malheur County and Mason Dam in Baker County) until a future meeting to allow for further staff research.
• Appointed Les Perkins of Parkdale as Public at Large representative and Doug Markle of Corvallis as fishing/fish conservation representative to the Fish Screening Task Force.
• Heard a progress report on implementation of new management and reform rules for Columbia River Fisheries. Accomplishments for 2013 include the passage of the legislation necessary to implement the reforms; establishment of the Columbia River Basin Endorsement; the enhancement of off-channel select areas with the release of almost 1.5 million additional salmon smolts; the evaluation of beach and purse seines, tangle nets and other alternative commercial gear types for possible use in mainstem fisheries. Plans for 2014 include implementing the control (no fishing) zone off Youngs Bay; rules for this closure will be presented at the Feb. 7, commission meeting in Salem.
• Set by rule the average market price per pound of each species of fish commercially-harvested in Oregon. These values are adopted every January and are used to set damages in lawsuits associated with the unlawful taking of food fish during the year.
• Adopted new administrative rules for the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, based on legislation (HB 3452) and a legal settlement over lethal control of wolves that occurred last year. The new rules allow livestock producers to kill wolves “caught in the act of biting, wounding, killing livestock,” or chase wolves under certain circumstances, without a permit. (Previously, a permit was required.) Livestock producers had been working under a temporary version of these rules since Oct. 1.
Finally, commissioners discussed potential changes in use of crossbows for disabled hunters or in general big game seasons. (Crossbows are currently prohibited for hunting game animals in Oregon.) The Commissioners did not propose any changes to current regulations.
The commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state and usually meets monthly. The next scheduled meeting is Feb. 7 in Salem at ODFW Headquarters.