Commission declines to uplist marbled murrelets

BAKER CITY, Ore. — The Commission declined to uplist the marbled murrelets from threatened to endangered during its meeting in Baker City today in a split 4-2 vote.

The Commission did ask staff to bring modified survival guidelines for marbled murrelets back to them tomorrow, with some language reworked to reflect suggestions heard from people who testified today. The guidelines will encourage conservation efforts on state-managed lands.

Commissioners who voted in favor of not uplisting this seabird noted Oregon State University researchers are in year two of a state-funded 10-year study of marbled murrelets. “Let’s wait a few years and let scientists update us on how this species is doing,” said Chair Mike Finley.

The Commission heard testimony from more than 30 people, including several county commissioners from coastal communities concerned about the economic impact of the decision.

In other business today, the Commission:

Approved a 2019-21 ODFW budget which now goes to Governor Brown and in 2019 to the Legislature for approval.

Allocated 2019 big game auction and raffle tags and approved funding for several Access and Habitat projects, which open private land to hunting access or improve wildlife habitat.

Adopted 2018-20 furbearer regulations as proposed by staff.

These new regulations will be in effect from July 1, 2018-June 30, 2020 and will be available online by July 1.

Adopted new rules to allow off-reservation hunting for subsistence and ceremonial purposes as outlined in Memorandum of Agreement between the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation (CTWS) and the State of Oregon. The hunt area primarily includes federal public lands throughout the CTWS ceded lands as described in an 1855 Treaty with the Tribes of Middle Oregon.

The Commission meeting continues at the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City tomorrow, June 8, beginning at 8 a.m.