Fisheries and the 2009 Oregon State Legislature

There are lots of fisheries related bills on the agenda for the Oregon State Legislature in 2009. Here are a few to keep an eye on:

Dismantling OWEB
New legislation on the docket would combine the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board OWEB with Oregon’s broader conservation strategy and calling it the Oregon Conservation Board. I’m all for holistic ecosystem-based conservation strategies, but the authors of this bill make a really dangerous assumption: “Oregon has largely been successful in alleviating the crisis within our salmon and steelhead populations.” Mission accomplished, huh?

Limiting guides in Oregon
A new bill in the Oregon Legislature would cap and reduce the number of professional salmon and steelhead guides in Oregon, and regulate them as an industry. According to the Mail Tribune article on this, the bill came out of the guide community. The effort would ban new guides from joining the professional salmon/steelhead/sturgeon guiding world for five years and would shrink the existing guide population from 800 to around 500.

Metolius Resort and Land Use
HB 2226: Governor Kulongoski is behind a couple of bills that would prevent mega-resort development in the Metolius Basin. The environmental reason to block this development is preventing death by a thousand flushes, but the Oregonian has pulled up some interesting NIMBY dirt — powerful and connected land owners in the basin directing the legislation to protect their own property as much as any wildlife. But more water for fish is a good thing in my book regardless. For the balanced, well-researched look at this, check The Oregonian Metolius article.

Tons of Oregon Invasive Species bills
HB 2220: There are a whole slew of bills strengthening protections against invasive species. The most important to anglers is HB 2220 which will authorize border checks for anglers entering Oregon with boats. Police, ODFW, and/or the Marine Board will require people transporting watercraft to stop at Oregon border stations. ODFW will staff the stations. Avoiding such stations is a Class A misdemeanor. This will prevent the spread of invasives like quagga and zebra mussels, among other invasive species.

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