In October members showed up at the Lucky Lab Public House in Multnomah Village [the monthly meeting place for TVTU - second Wednesday each month - second floor - 6:30 p.m. in case you care to sit in with us!] to hear Tom Wolf - our man of Salem talk about the 2013 legislature and upcoming 2014 issues.
Tom started by noting it was a very good year for TU concerns in Oregon - BOTH of the major "priority" bills saw action and PASSED in one form or another.
Large Woody Debris: PASSED. This was the FIFTH try for this bill and it finally made it through with concerted efforts and teaming from cattlemen associations, aggregate interests and the agricultural groups of Oregon. This one benefits everyone in a manner or another and the compromise to each finally was weighed! This law now requires a PERMIT to be reviewed by the state before landowners can lawfully remove large woody debris from the Oregon waterways. LWD provides beneficial rearing habitat and increased change of waterway oxygenation as well as limits erosion. Many LWD units creat fine gravel deposits for spawning as well by capturing gravels washed away during higher flow events.
Suction Dredge Mining: this bill saw many iterations and was reviewed by many different interests throughout the state. The initial reading did not pass but a good start made it through in the form of SB 838. This law now provides a limit to mining permits - 850 permits throughout the state - that is commensurate to the levels of activity prior to CA making the technique illegal. It also provides that standards required for enforcement for production be studied and implemented to benefit the technique and the waterways. IF the standards are not developed then a moratorium will go into effect in 2026 - so there is a timeline for all parties to come together on this issue.
Another major item that saw action [and will affect those who sportfish the Columbia system and tribs] - SB 830 the Gill Net Changeover Fleet Funding bill was passed. This one charges an excise fee to provide funding to Counties and with commercial fisherman who must alter their means of fishing. A $9.75 'license' will need to purchased to fish the Columbia and tribs [including Willamette and Deschutes].
WHAT DOES 2014 LOOK LIKE?
HATCHERY REFORM will be a hot topic! TU will be looking to lobby for more funding for hatcheries that are still being used in Oregon; this is with the idea that current techniques with state of the art science will be used for the modern era of hatchery production for the State. It will also allow for more efficient processes that will allow for removal of any hatcheries identified as outdated or unnecessary.
RIVER ACCESS: a hotly debated issue will move closer to the forefront in 2014. Currently the state has a process but it has become mired in the courts; a better solution for all has to be considered. Currently only 13 officially designated 'navigable' waterways exist in the State.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS: this one has brewed and stewed for a good while [6 sessions actually...]. There should be a reasonable approach to fish production for mass consumption without jeopardizing health an welfare of both humans and fishes.
These and other items will be published in the next Trout Line newsletter! See how you can help!
Michael gave us a break down of the Christmas for Coho Project and 2014 schedule.
Also a reminder the November meeting is the ANNUAL MEETING for TVTU - board and elections will occur! Also Henry Hoffman will be the featured speaker!