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Commission to consider Willamette Valley land acquisitions

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider two land acquisitions in the Willamette Valley and establishment of the Columbia River fisheries transition program when it meets in Salem on Friday, Dec. 5.

The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. at ODFW Headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE, Salem 97302 and follow this agenda
http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/14/12_december/index.asp

The Commission is considering two land acquisitions in the Willamette Valley: Coyote Creek NE adjacent to Fern Ridge Wildlife Area and Hayden Island near Salem. The acquisitions will be funded through Bonneville Power Administration and other sources as part of BPA’s wildlife habitat mitigation programs in the Willamette Valley. Both acquisitions would provide important habitat for fish and wildlife species identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy as well as outdoor recreational opportunities.

The Commission also will be asked to adopt rules to establish the Columbia River Fisheries Transition Program. The program consists of $500,000 in state general funds authorized by the Oregon Legislature and establishes a grant fund that will pass through ODFW to participating county programs. County programs will decide processes for compensating Oregon Columbia River commercial fishers and will distribute funds to fishers. The program is required under a 2013 statute to address economic harm and required fishing gear changes during a transition period established under the Lower Columbia River Management Reform policies previously adopted by the Commission.

Two fish passage waiver requests related to upper and lower Pony Creek dams near Coos Bay are also on the Commission’s agenda. The first would amend an existing waiver for the Upper Pony Creek Dam to replace supplemental water releases from the Dam with habitat restoration on the South Arm of Matson Creek. The second is recommending a fish passage waiver for Lower Pony Creek Dam, where stream and habitat restoration on the North Arm of Matson Creek is being proposed in lieu of providing fish passage at the dam. This waiver request is for future seismic and spillway upgrades that will likely trigger Oregon’s fish passage policy.

ODFW’s hunter education staff will recommend that Commission make rule changes that end the minimum course length requirement of 12 hours. More students are taking the course online or by workbook. These and other efficiencies make it possible for a student to complete the class in less than 12 hours.

Hunter education is required for all hunters age 17 and under in Oregon, but other states like Colorado require it for adults, too. The proposed rule changes will also allow ODFW to offer an online-only course for Oregon adults who need to get certified to hunt out of-state. (Currently, hunter education certification also requires a 6-8 hour field day.)

In other business, the Commission will consider:

Funding $651,452 for two restoration projects and nine enhancement projects recommended by the Restoration and Enhancement Board.

Appointing two new members to the R and E Board to represent sport fishing and gillnet interests.

Approving rules for a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Siletz Tribe that will create a Special Gathering Permit for clams to be used for ceremonial and other non-commercial uses. The permit would allow the harvest of seven different species of clams in Lincoln County only.

Continued funding for Access and Habitat’s Hancock Forest Management Access program, which provides public hunting access to 292,000 acres of private forestland in northeast Oregon.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony before the Commission about items not on the agenda is 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.