Oregon Legislature Kills Wildlife Policy Improvement Bill
The Oregon Wildlife Policy, ORS 496-012, provides the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife with logical and scientific supported direction for management of fish and wildlife resources in Oregon. The purpose of this policy is to “prevent the serious depletion of any indigenous species.” It is the core direction that organizes management decisions by the Department and Commission for the entire state.
Serious depletion is defined by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, ORS 635-007-0501(56), as a “significant likelihood that the species management unit will become threatened or endangered.” It is certainly in the State’s interest to practice conservation management so that protection of fish and wildlife from extinction and listing through state and federal Endangered Species Acts. The Oregon Wildlife Policy secures the stream of public benefits from fish and wildlife resources.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has sought clarification of the Oregon Wildlife Policy several times from the Oregon Department of Justice regarding meaning of the policy. Does it require the agency to balance protection and utilization of native species of fish and wildlife or does it establish a priority for conservation so that utilization is possible?