January 30, 2019
The 2019 Oregon Legislative Session got underway on January 22nd and CCA Oregon expects this to be a critical year for key issues affecting out fisheries, including the Columbia River reforms, the ODFW Commission, and Willamette River hatchery production. We are committed to defending the interests of anglers and fish conservation, but we need your help!
Top priorities for this legislative session include:
(1) Columbia River Reforms
As expected, some ODFW Commissioners are doing all they can to roll back the reforms and they are being more and more bold about their agenda. We must continue pressing the Governor and legislators who promised to stay the course on the reforms. Specific areas of focus include:
- Commission seats— We expect Governor Brown to appoint two new ODFW Commissioners by March. Another three Commissioners will have their terms expire in June, including Commissioner Bruce Buckmaster. CCA is working hard to influence the appointment and Senate confirmation of these key positions, but you can help by calling Governor Kate Brown at 503-378-4582 and urging her to appoint candidates favorable to implementing the Columbia River reforms, conservation, and sport fishing.
- CCA is actively supporting legislation that limits or provides full removal of gill nets from the Columbia’s mainstem (SB 547/SB 619).
- Columbia River Endorsement—ODFW is asking for legislation to make the endorsement permanent.The endorsement, which is set to expire soon, raises $1.3 million per year and was created to implement the Columbia River gillnet reforms. CCA Oregon can only support a two-years extension of the endorsement if it is tied to actions that remove gillnets from the mainstem and enhance sport fisheries.
(2) Hatchery Production
CCA will continue to advocate for increased hatchery funding and production on a statewide basis. Recent losses at major hatcheries clearly demonstrates the need for additional hatchery maintenance and operations funding.
CCA is tracking specific budgetary needs for the Willamette basin that are vital for fish mitigation and sport fishing opportunity:
- Leaburg Hatchery: $1,885,594 to produce 459,000 trout, 108,000 summer steelhead and 260,000 spring Chinook smolts for release in Willamette basin waters each year.
- Santiam Hatchery: $400,000 to produce 114,000 summer steelhead each year.
Both Leaburg and Santiam hatchery production were NOT included in the Governor’s recommended budget, so it is imperative that CCA work to include both hatcheries in the legislatively approved budget for ODFW. CCA Oregon led a successful effort to save the Leaburg hatchery last year.
(3) Sea Lion Removal
One of CCA’s greatest accomplishments last year was helping to pass the Endangered Salmon Predation Prevention Act in Congress, authorizing the issuance of streamlined permits to Northwest states and treaty tribes for the lethal taking of problem sea lions on waters of the Columbia River and its tributaries to protect endangered species of salmon. ODFW will benefit from the streamlined authority, but the Governor’s recommended budget did not request any funding for sea lion removals. CCA will be working to secure the necessary funding within ODFW’s budget.
What you can do
CCA’s volunteer leadership, the Government Relations Committee, staff and our lobbyist will be actively engaged in these and other important issues this legislative session. You can expect regular updates and calls to action, which we ask that you respond to.
2019 will be a pivotal session for our state fisheries, recreational anglers, and the conservation of our marine resources. You can help shape the outcome of many of these issues by staying informed and getting involved!
In the meantime, we urge you to engage with your legislators. You can find contact information for your legislators and monitor legislation at www.oregonlegislature.gov.