The ODFW Fish and Wildlife Commission denied a petition that would have initiated rulemaking to consider ending beaver hunting and trapping on federal lands in a 3-3 vote after hearing public testimony from 31 people.
Commissioners had discussed this issue back in June 2020 during adoption of trapping regulations and out of those discussions came the creation of a new Beaver Management Working Group.
During the Nov. 13 meeting, Commissioners indicated their continued commitment to beaver conservation by directing ODFW staff to analyze and provide guidance on beaver management in the context of climate change, habitat, benefits to fish and other species, and water flow retention and temperature. ODFW staff were directed to work in collaboration with Commission liaison Vice-Chair Greg Wolley on this issue and use the newly formed Beaver Management Working Group as a key part of public engagement.
Other business taken up on Nov. 13 by the Commission follows.
Restoration and Enhancement Program: Reappointed Kay Brown to the board and approved funding for a monitoring project.
Salmon Trout Enhancement Program: In a compromise, the Commission voted to reduce the Salmon-Trout Enhancement Program (STEP) Advisory Committee from 13 to 9 members (rather than 7) after staff proposed the reduction to address budget constraints. The STEP Advisory Committee reviews ODFW policies and makes recommendations concerning the implementation of STEP and associated volunteer projects.
Access and Habitat Program: Approved funding for two projects, the New River Access Area and C2 Ranch Project, to provide public hunting access and improve wildlife habitat. Also, the Commission learned about emergency fire reseeding of areas in Wasco and Lake County that were burned by wildfires, which will improve habitat for mule deer, elk, sage grouse and other species.