Final Oregon legislative action alert for today — ODFW budgets and Water management

As Oregon’s population grows more demands are being placed on our groundwater and surface water resources. Many of Oregon’s surface waters are already over allocated and increased groundwater usage will only serve to exacerbate this problem as temperatures warm , snow pack declines and population grows. Clearly this is not the time to cut back on Oregon’s Water Resources Department.

Seemingly arcane, HB 2231 increases the amount of start card fees to $225.00 and provides a yearly fee of $50.00 for the use of Oregon’s groundwater resources. The average cost of drilling a new well is between five and fifteen thousand dollars. Currently, there is no fee for using up to 15,000 gallons per day of Oregon’s groundwater resources. Fifty dollars per year for up to 5.5 million gallons of water still seems like a giveaway to me. The revenue generated will be used to maintain the department and sustain the new well inspection program.

Now is not the time to cut back on the Water Resources Department. If anything, we Oregonians need to be getting a better handle on the amount of groundwater being pumped as this directly impacts surface flows and coldwater thermal refugia available for fish and other wildlife.

Trout Unlimited supports HB 2231. For more info on these bills, check out WaterWatch of Oregon’s 2009 Legislative summary.

Help direct ODFW Budget increases
Trout Unlimited also supports the proposed ODFW budget increase (HB 2223) and license fee increase, but we need to make sure that money goes towards wild fish policy and staff, not to maintain decrepit hatcheries. Please let your legislator know how you would like to see the agency use its increased budget.

The Native Fish Society has a great report with suggestions for legislators on how to help direct the agency:

1. Directing the agency to report its hatchery maintenance backlog expenses and a plan to repair or close hatcheries;

2. Directing the agency to determine the cost to produce a fish that is caught in a fishery. This will indicate which hatcheries are too expensive to operate and which are not;

3. Directing the agency to complete a risk analysis of each hatchery program on native species. High risk hatcheries will need to be reformed or closed;

4. Directing the agency to use the best available science when developing and implementing policy.

5. Directing the agency to report to the Legislature with a restructuring plan that will fully implement its overriding obligation to prevent the serious depletion of native species.

See posts from earlier today, to take action with your legislators. And thanks for helping out.

-Karl and Matt

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2 Responses to Final Oregon legislative action alert for today — ODFW budgets and Water management

  1. Brent says:

    This is a great book:
    The Oregon Water Handbook: A Guide to Water and Water Management

  2. Tony says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the fees collected from License sales goes directly into the general fund. The ODFW will only receive a percentage of dollars collected as allocated by the State.

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