The Oregon Senate followed the lead of the Oregon House and passed HB 3086 which requires the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to be structured in geographical riversheds rather than in the five congressional districts, therefore diminishing the likelihood the commission is dominated by the Portland metropolis area. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its members successfully lobbied for this measure. The new statute takes effect January 2024.
In an effort to better reflect the diverse landscapes and wildlife populations across Oregon and improve sportsmen and rural representation on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation testified in favor of HB 3086.
The measure would designate that five of the seven commission members would each reside in one of the five riversheds that make up Oregon’s geography, rather than concentrations in heavily populated urban centers.
“HB 3086 will ensure that wildlife and fisheries resources in the state of Oregon are represented by commissioners who reside among the resources and the community that the resource impacts. Please note this has very wide support from not only hunters and fishermen and other signature organizations, but six Native American tribes and wide bipartisan support from legislative members,” said Dave Wiley, RMEF volunteer and long-time member.
Congressional districts are politically drawn areas that change every 10 years and reflect the distribution of the human population. They also provide weighted representation for the urbanized parts of Oregon, not the landscapes where most fish and wildlife reside.
“HB 3086 offers Oregonians from across state wide opportunity to serve on the commission, which the existing procedure does not,” said Wiley.
The commission is tasked with managing the state’s game and non-game wildlife, and largely controls the policies and regulations that impact wildlife, fish, hunters and anglers.
(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)