Trout Unlimited Oregon Council outlines conservation priorities for 2009

Last week we attended the Oregon Trout Unlimited State Council meeting at Belknap Hot Springs. Council Chair Tom Wolf was on hand to discuss the organization’s conservation and legislative priorities for the upcoming year. The video below outlines that agenda:

Wolf says key legislators and Governor Kulongoski’s office have promised to make the 2009 session one where water quantity, pro-fish and habitat bills will be passed. Here are some of the issues to watch:

1. Non-native aquatic invasives bill: This will include legislation that will deal with illegal stocking of non-native fish and ballast dumped from ocean freighters. Within the budget process TU will be seeking money to implement boat check stations at borders to check for aquatic invasives (such as zebra mussels), and funds to educate people about the dangers of non-native invasives.

2. Water Storage management bill: Governor Kulongoski is planning legislation that would divert peak winter flows and store them in either offsite storage, tributary reservoirs and in the aquifer. Waterwatch and TU will be working to make sure that this will not have a negative impact on wild native salmonids.

3. Woody debris bill: There is currently no law in Oregon that prevents people from removing woody debris from streams. TU will be working on a bill to prevent this, except for emergency reasons.

4. ODFW budget: Currently, as many of you know, ODFW is proposing an 18-25% license fee increase for 2009 session to meet their current budget needs. The Oregon Council plans to work to make sure that some of the money goes to protecting and restoring wild native fish and habitat.

5. River Navigability and access bill: TU’s goal is to produce a bill that will better define Oregon’s Public Trust doctrine and allow anglers access to navigable rivers.

6. Other Natural Resource agency budgets- Oregon DEQ, Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon Department of Water Resources.

7. Global Warming/Climate bill: TU will be supporting climate change legislation to mitigate global warming impacts on coldwater fisheries.

Other areas TU may be involved with include: Marine Reserves, pesticides control bill, the LNG bill, land and use bills.

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