The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved removing the bald eagle from the Oregon Endangered Species List. Commissioners called recovery of bald eagles in Oregon a great success made possible through the cooperation of many agencies, landowners and other partners. Biologists estimated a minimum population of 570 nesting pairs of bald eagles in Oregon in 2010, compared to just 65 pairs in 1978. The bald eagle was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007. Bald eagles are still protected under a number of state and federal laws.
Two corrections were made to the 2012 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations related to steelhead fishing on the Sandy River and the use of bait and lures on the Hood River. Temporary rules were adopted when the errors were discovered after the printing of the 2012 regulations. The permanent rules cover the entire year. A corrected version of the 2012 Sport Fishing Regulations is available on the department website.
Commissioners were told that anglers should expect great ocean salmon fishing opportunities this year based on forecasts of chinook and coho salmon. Earlier this week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council released preliminary options for the 2012 ocean sport and commercial salmon seasons for federally-managed waters, three to 200 miles off-shore. The options generally allow for longer seasons than last year up and down the Oregon coast. PFMC will finalize regulations for federally-managed waters in mid-April. The Commission will be asked to adopt similar rules for state-managed waters, from shore to three-miles out, at its April 20 meeting.
The Commission approved $550,070 in funding for eight restoration and eight enhancement projects recommended by the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board and $25,200 for one project recommended by the Access and Habitat Board. The A and H program funds projects that open private land to hunting or improve wildlife habitat.
Administrative rules were revised for Oregon’s wildlife control operators, licensed businesses that help landowners deal with certain wildlife species that can cause damage (non-game, non-protected wildlife like squirrels, skunks, nutria, etc.). The new rules clarify permit and testing requirements, make handling certain species consistent with current ODFW policy and lay out a permit cancellation and an appeals process.
During the meeting, the winning artwork for ODFW’s first Habitat Conservation Stamp was unveiled. The winning entry of a western meadowlark in Willamette Valley grasslands was submitted by Sara Stack of North Bend. The new Habitat Conservation Stamp gives Oregonians the opportunity to purchase an annual stamp to benefit conservation of Oregon’s native species and habitats. Stamps will sell for $40 a year and will include an ODFW Wildlife Area Parking Permit (a $22 value). Revenue will be used to fund habitat conservation projects linked to the Oregon Conservation Strategy.
Commissioners also selected a painting of sharp-tailed grouse by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana as the winner of the 2012 Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. Stamp sale revenues are dedicated to upland game bird management.
Staff also briefed the Commission on progress towards purchasing a new ODFW headquarters building at 4030 Fairview Industrial Drive SE in Salem.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The next meeting will be April 20 in Salem.