Omnibus Public Lands Management Act protects Oregon’s Elk River salmon and steelhead
From our pal Nic Callero at the National Wildlife Federation
The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (S. 22) is expected to hit the floor of the House of Representatives in March. It is a large package of public lands bills that would go a long way for protecting wildlife habitat. This is the largest expansion of wilderness in over fifteen years:
• Designating over two million acres of Wilderness in nine states
• Protecting over a thousand miles of rivers, and;
• Creating a permanent 26 million acre National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS).
The bill passed the Senate in mid-January with a vote of 73-21.
Virtually all of the pro-Wilderness measures included in the package have strong local support, and the vast majority of bills have little to no opposition with broad, bi-partisan support in Congress.
The Oregon wilderness includes The Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act of 2007, The Copper Salmon Wilderness Act, The Oregon Badlands Wilderness Act of 2008, The Cascade Siskiyou National Monument Voluntary and Equitable Grazing Conflict Resolution Act, The Spring Basin Wilderness Act of 2008, The Fisheries Restoration and Irrigation Mitigation Act of 2008 and The Watershed Restoration and Enhancement Agreements Act of 2007 had been held up during the 110th Congress by opposition from Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but a Sunday vote on the bill achieved enough votes in favor of the legislation to override his objections.
All of Oregon’s congressional representatives have indicated support for the bill, aside from Rep. Greg Walden. Go ahead and let him know how you feel about protecting our fisheries.
Time to talk to Merkley about the Four Lower Snake River Dams
From Tom Wolf, Oregon State Council Trout Unlimited
As many TU members in Oregon know, Senator Jeff Merkley was recently elected on a platform that included a commitment to leadership on fish and wildlife issues in the Northwest. He also addressed one of Trout Unlimited’s signature Northwest issues – the recovery of wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake Rivers – agreeing that all options, including the removal the four lower Snake River dams, should be on the table.
Trout Unlimited has been a key plaintiff in the fight to find real solutions to the ongoing crisis in these rivers that works for fishermen, farmers, and Northwest ratepayers. Oregonians, and their elected officials, have a key role to play. A restored Snake River will bring more fish, and fishing opportunities, to both the east and west sides of the state. Your voice in making this a reality is needed today.
Please take a moment to call Senator Merkley’s office: (202) 224-3753
Ask him to lead on a legislative solution in the 111th Congress to restore wild salmon and steelhead to the Columbia and Snake Rivers by removing the four lower Snake River dams and replacing their limited services with salmon-friendly alternatives.
Calls are most effective, but you can also send an email message here.
Fewer troopers covering Oregon’s wild areas, poachers rejoice
A $2.3 million reduction in the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division’s general fund portion the next biennium eliminates the Division’s general fund budget by half. Fish and Wildlife troopers typically patrol in remote areas where other law enforcement is not readily available.
This budget cut will result in the elimination of 4 sergeant positions and 13 trooper positions.
-Coastal Fish and Wildlife troopers will be reduced by 3 or 12.5%, which will impact the Division’s ability to provide enforcement for marine resources, including shellfish, marine fisheries, and a $350 million commercial fish industry.
-Troopers assigned to the I-5 Corridor will be reduced by 6 or 18%, which will severely impact the Division’s ability to provide fish and wildlife enforcement for Oregon’s largest population base.
-Central/Eastern Oregon Fish and Wildlife Troopers will be reduced by 2 Troopers or 6%, impacting the Division’s ability to address Columbia River fisheries issues.