The Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to approve the Hancock Forest Management Northwest Access Area Project for funding.
The funding will maintain existing hunter access to a 190K-acre area of the mid-coast, mostly in the Stott Mtn/Alsea TMAs, plus some of the Trask Unit in parts of Lincoln, Benton and Polk counties. But access will now be allowed during fire season, except when the Industrial Fire Protection Level (IFPL) reaches 4, which is the highest level. (The property was previously closed when fire season was declared, which often impacted archery and early rifle season hunters.) The new agreement should be in effect by the 2018 archery season. Hunters are encouraged to keep track of local fire restrictions through ODF’s webpage http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Fire/Pages/Restrictions.aspx
In other business, the Commission also:
- Set the schedule of damages for commercial fishing violations during 2018.
- Repealed administrative rule to update the applicable public contracting rules for ODFW.
- Appointed Amy Patrick of Sublimity as Landowner Representative and Nathan Bailey of White City as Hunter Representative on the statewide Access and Habitat Board.
- Appointed Gregory Harris of Hermiston as the new Fish Screening Task Force member representing agriculture.
- Adopted a Pink Shrimp Fishery Management Plan and approved requiring the use of lighting devices on shrimp trawls. While Oregon’s pink shrimp fishery is already certified sustainable, the new management plan documents management objectives and monitoring activities and also describes biological reference points and harvest controls to maintain the fisheries long-term sustainability. Lighting devices (e.g. LEDs) have been found to dramatically reduce bycatch in pink shrimp trawling which is highly beneficial to both conservation and industry.
The Commission had planned to adopt a revised Wolf Plan at the Astoria meeting in April. Today they decided to conduct some additional facilitated outreach and postpone final plan adoption in hopes of getting more consensus from stakeholders. ODFW will announce a new meeting date once that is decided.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state and it usually meets monthly. Commission members and ODFW will host an open house during the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show on Thursday, Feb. 8 in Portland and a regular meeting on Friday, Feb. 9 at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel.