Monday, January 12, 2009
Why Am I So Angry at ODFW?
Any of you that have read this blog know that I have no love for the way things are run at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. I've been very outspoken at the way they have mismanaged our few remaining wild salmonids and the mismanagement seemingly has no end.
For the sake of those who might think I am just some old bastard who has nothing better to do than complain about a state agency this post is for you.
Let me say right off of the top that I believe there are some talented folks that work at ODFW. I've met more than a few of them over the years and admire their commitment to the mission statement of ODFW. Director Roy Elicker is a conscientious, hard working man who I think wants to do right by the resource and the people of Oregon.
Ian Tattum is one that comes to mind. He is doing a lot of good work over on the tributaries of the John Day river concerning wild steelhead.
Kathryn Kostow is another ODFW biologist I like and admire however I am not sure if she is still with the agency. There are others at ODFW that are very good and intelligent people who have the resource's best interest in mind.
There is, however, some gross mismanagement going on over at ODFW and especially in the way our wild trout, steelhead and salmon are managed.
From allowing a harvest of wild cutthroat trout to the steelhead broodstock programs there is a decaying of principles in some regions of ODFW that flies against that ODFW mission statement that I have quoted on this blog more than once.
The agency is out of control and I would have to think that director Elicker must be having many sleepless nights trying to determine the best course of action to take this agency.
The financial Armageddon that is currently gripping America will no doubt have a huge impact on this agency but in many ways they have only themselves to blame.
Their efforts to increase angler participation and lagging license sales by allowing harvest of sensitive wild trout is as wronged headed approach as ever has been tried. The steelhead broodstock programs is destroying critical populations of wild winter steelhead. This agency is so concerned about raising money that they forward to the commission a plan to allow harvest of wild North Umpqua winter steelhead a mere seven months after they took that very same harvest away. Seven months is not even close to enough time to properly evaluate if these fish have made a strong enough comeback to allow said harvest.
One of their fish biologists from the McKenzie/Mid-Willamette river region dismissed the potential harm of allowing a larger bag limit wild cutthroat trout and the use of bait by arrogantly dismissing them and saying "They are only cutthroat trout after all"
Is this arrogance, ignorance or both?
I want you folks to know that I do not come by this distaste and anger a ODFW without reason.
Heck even long time ODFW cheerleader and outdoor writer for the Oregonian Bill Monroe is criticizing them. I thought hell would freeze over before Monroe made any disparaging remarks about his buddies at ODFW.
I take this stuff very serious and know the well is not far from drying up for our precious wild coldwater fisheries here in Oregon. It's time for all of us to get angry and ask questions because status-quo is not working.
2009 will be an important year for wild fish in Oregon and one has to wonder if ODFW is up to the task....I wonder?