Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New Oregon fly fishing blog

OregonFlyFishingBlog.comThis week The Caddis Fly shop in Eugene and the geniuses behind Oregon Outdoor Journal and One Mule Team joined forces to create an Oregon Fly Fishing Blog with river reports, fly tying tips and fly fishing adventure and disaster stories. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Oregon coastal coho protections restored

NOAA fisheries announced its decision to restore federal Endangered Species Act protection as a “threatened species” for Oregon Coastal coho salmon. The agency, charged with salmon and steelhead conservation, had been under a court order to reconsider its 2006 decision not to list the Oregon Coastal coho. Trout Unlimited was among a group of fishing and conservation groups that sued to force a relisting.

Smith River

According to Oregon Trout Unlimited volunteer Karl Mueller: To grossly simplify the state and federal position, a listing was not warranted because coho are particuarly resilient and are able to rebound from periods of low abundance. In other words, a small number of spawning adults can beget a large number of spawning adults three years later.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Oregon businesses support Rogue Wilderness expansion

A column in today's Register-Guard says the BLM WOPR is bad for businesses in Southern Oregon and calls on elected officials to expand protections for the Rogue River. For more info, check out and find out how you can help protect one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oregon salmon collapse in 2008?

According to the executive director of the the Pacific Fishery Managment Council, Donald McIsaac, the West Coast is facing "what appears to be an unprecedented collapse in the abundance of adult California Central Valley... fall chinook salmon stocks."

Blogger OneMuleTeam says: What really has fisheries managers (and me) worried is that only about 2,000 2-year-old juvenile chinooks — which are used to predict returns of adult spawners in the coming season — returned to the Central Valley last year, by far the lowest number recorded. On average, about 40,000 juveniles, or “jacks,” return each year. I was no math major but I know that 1/20th of average = not good.

Moose populations tracked in Eastern Oregon

According to ODFW, wildlife biologists collared four moose in the northern Blue Mountains of Wallowa County the week of January 14, marking the first collaring of the animals in Oregon and an increased effort to trace moose activity in the state.

ODFW's Moose Fact sheet says Oregon’s moose are believed to have traveled south from Washington and Idaho to take up residency in the Blue Mountains. Although individual moose have occasionally been observed in northeast Oregon during the past 40 years only recently have animals been considered established residents.

The folks at the Testing the Waters blog have a great post with lots of photos of a Grande Ronde kayak trip where they spotted some Oregon moose last summer.

Help ban elk ranching in Oregon

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering changes to its elk ranching policy in our state. I am a hunter in Oregon and I am against elk ranching. The ranches threaten the health and integrity of our wild elk and deer, and hunters pay almost all the costs of regulating the elk ranches!

It would be best if ODFW would ban elk ranching altogether, but falling short of that, the commission should consider the following safeguards:

  • Retire elk ranching permits as the permit holders quit or go out of business.
  • Ban the practice of selling “shooter” bulls to out of state canned hunting operations.
  • Require that the elk ranchers provide double fencing to reduce the risks of escape and disease transmission.
  • Require that elk ranches carry appropriate bonding and insurance to cover the cost of escapes and disease eradication.

    ODFW is accepting comments on this issue through Feb 8. Send an email to to have your voice heard on this issue.
  • Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    Trout Unlimited Oregon State Council meeting

    TU Chapter 678 conservation officer Karl Mueller summarized the 2008 Oregon State Council meeting for Trout Ulimited in a recent blog post.

    Issues discussed included:

  • An update on the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) Carmen-Smith relicensing. Carmen-Smith is a hydropower project on the upper Mckenzie that blocks upstream passage for ESA listed Chinook and Bull trout.
  • Excitement over the TU-spearheaded Copper-Salmon Wilderness.
  • A look at the potential settlement of the Klamath Pacificorp relicensing issue.

    Here's an updated photo of TU's protect, reconnect, restore strategy:
  • Monday, January 28, 2008

    Timber industry-linked hunters support WOPR

    This week the Mail Tribune ran an Op-Ed from timber industry linked sportsmen, Steve Mealey and John Lowe, calling out the sportsmen coalition that opposed the WOPR. Mealey is a retired forester and went on to work for forest products company Boise Cascade. Lowe is also a retired forester and has a really interesting presentation on the State of Oregon Web site, that quotes Teddy Roosevelt, "A forest which contributes nothing to the wealth, progress or safety of the country is of no interest to the government."

    I have no business calling these guys out. Mealey is a badass. His bio says he was a grizzly bear researcher, comes from Oregon homesteader lineage and has probably spent more time in the woods than I'll ever do in my life. And these guys have a good point -- the anti-WOPR coalition never got a blessing from the Oregon Hunters Association. It didn't speak for everbody. But I can call out the Mail Tribune. They made them out to be unbiased hunters and that's just not the case. To quote Lowe's presentation again: Anyone who claims to be unbiased is fooling themselves or fooling you.

    Lowe and Mealey have been at this way longer, and have more experience than I do -- but I think it needs to be clear where people's loyalties are. I'm opposed to the WOPR because I value biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. On the other hand, Lowe and Mealey have made their livings through managed forestry and that was not made clear in the Op-Ed.

    One point of contention: The authors raise the spectre of declining elk and deer populations and blame it on the NW Forest Plan. That's bullshit. It's the old argument that ungulates love clear cuts. The browse available in a regenerated clear cut is better forage for a short period of time. But as soon as those stands turn into ultra dense, monocultured doug fir, they are biological wastelands for the next 50 years. And anecdotally speaking -- how much elk shit have you seen in a clear cut? Now how much do you see in a remote, old growth wilderness? I mean, the damn things are practically humping me in the backcountry so I gotta say a healthy old growth system wins out over clear cuts every time.

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Register-Guard hopeful on Klamath River restoration

    Editors at the Register-Guard are hopeful now that talks are underway to remove dams on the Klamath Basin, opening up habitat for the Klamath’s devastated salmon runs. The project is dependent on the dam operators (PacifiCorp) to sign onto the plan, which seems possible at least. But conversation groups Oregon Wild and WaterWatch have flagged this plan as being flawed, stating that the salmon would not get the water they need to survive under these provisions. EarthJustice has a video that gives an overview of the situation on YouTube.

    Conservation hero rejects BLM WOPR in Oregon

    The hook and bullet crew are coming out of the woodwork to slam the Bureau of Land Management’s shortsighted logging plan, the Western Oregon Plan Revision. It’s been panned by nearly every environmental and sportsmen organization in Oregon. Most recently, Field & Stream’s Conservation Hero of the Year, Brian Maguire, of Portland, took the BLM to task in The Oregonian: There is a place I fish that has a 13-feet-in-diameter, 1,000-year-old tree not far from the river bank. I don't see the tree as part of the economy but as a guardian of salmon spawning beds.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    For the sake of salmon, no LNG terminal on the Columbia

    According to the AP in the Register-Guard: The National Marine Fisheries Service wants the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to at least temporarily deny a permit to dredge the Columbia River to build a liquefied natural gas import terminal below St. Helens. The terminal likely would harm valuable salmon habitat. Northern Star Natural Gas Inc. wants to build the terminal, one of three under active consideration in Oregon, at Bradwood Landing. The other two in planning stages are near Astoria and Coos Bay.

    Columbia Riverkeeper is opposed to the terminal and has an awesome action sheet to tell your representatives to oppose the terminal.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    BLM head visits Oregon, touts scheme to disregard Northwest Forest Plan

    Jim Caswell, nominated by President Bush last summer to head the BLM, said the agency plans to disregard elements of the Northwest Forest Plan in its efforts to increase timber harvest on O&C BLM land under the Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR). From the Register-Guard: The new plan will end watershed assessments, surveys of plants and animals before an area is logged, and upper management review of decisions made at the regional level, Caswell said.

    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Obsidians offer summer hike schedule for Eugene visitors

    Kind of odd, but I've been getting more press releases lately for the blogs. Here's one worth printing:

    The Obsidians outdoors club has announced a schedule of 22 hikes for visitors to this summer’s U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials and concurrent Oregon Bach Festival. Outings include 12 coastal, forest and mountain hikes and 10 urban hikes, presenting visitors an introduction to both the natural wonders of western Oregon and the unique attractions of Track Town, USA.

    The trials will run from June 27 through July 6, with a two-day break in action on July 1 and 2. The Oregon Bach Festival runs from June 27 through July 13. Most hikes will be easy to moderate, in the five to six-mile range.

    The full schedule is available along with additional information and registration procedures on the Obsidians website. All sign-ups will be done online using a unique registration system designed by the Obsidians just for this project.

    All hikes will be led by experienced men and women familiar with the areas. There will be a $5 nonmember fee per person (minors under 18 free, with parents) with a suggested sharing of driving costs.

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    OPB: Ghost nets video

    Awesome video on Ghost Nets from Oregon Public Broadcasting -- old gill nets tumbling around on the bottom of the ocean off the Oregon Coast. They keep killing, long after the commercial fishermen have discarded them. The nets kill dungeness crabs, sea birds and endangered salmon.

    Sunday, January 13, 2008

    Plastic fades Oregon hunting and fishing licenses

    Attention Oregon hunters and anglers, don't put your 2008 fishing or hunting licenses in those plastic sleeves you get with the license. According to ODFW, the plastic will fade the new paper, which is supposed to be tear and water resistant.

    “We are asking people to do something different with their new licenses. Please, don’t put them in plastic license holders or laminate them,” said DeAnna Erickson, ODFW License Services manager. She suggests carrying the license holder in your wallet as you would a receipt or using a paper or Tyvek license holder. Tyvek license holders will be available at ODFW offices beginning in mid-February.

    Southern Oregon hunters get a shot at Aleutian Canada Geese

    According to a story in the Curry Pilot from last week: For the second year, ODFW has worked out an agreement with three farms near the New River in northern Curry County to allow hunters to go onto their pasture land to hunt the geese in hopes the pressure will scatter the birds and lessen the damage they cause. The special South Coast Zone goose hunt runs Feb. 23 to March 10. Hunters can contact the Gold Beach ODFW office for maps and to reserve a hunting spot (541) 247-7605).

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Trapping on the rise in Oregon

    According to a couple of news outlets, including Portland Indy Media, trapping is on the rise in Oregon due to higher fur prices. There is a lot of uproar about it on the internet, as you might imagine. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it myself. I don't have any problem hunting any non-endangered furbearing animal, but I'm not so sure about killing animals non-selectively or over long periods of time (up to 48 hours), as is the case with trapping.

    For more background, pro and against see the ODFW trapping backgrounder and

    Thoughts on trapping anybody?

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    Winter madness: Circumnavigating Crater Lake

    Snowshoeing or Cross Country Skiing Crater Lake has been on my Oregon to-do list for about a year. So I was pretty excited when Bill Sullivan outlined the trip in the Register-Guard this week. He made it clear that this trip is not for the faint of heart and better attempted in the early spring to avoid storms. Speaking of which, the road to Crater Lake was recently closed due to an avalanche.

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    Six reason's the BLM WOPR won't work

    There's a great guest column in the Register-Guard today laying out six reasons why the BLM WOPR won't relieve Oregon county funding woes. Here is a summary of the six reasons:

    1. Timber prices have fallen by as much as 50% since 2005 thanks to the mortgage crisis.
    2. Because of public opposition to old-growth logging, the BLM is unlikely to meet its goals.
    3. The market for old growth is limited since most Oregon sawmills have retooled for smaller trees obtained from thinning.
    4. BLM’s proposed increased harvests will depress timber prices further.
    5. Clear cuts and narrower stream buffers threaten wildlife and the values that draw people to live in Western Oregon.
    6. U.S. taxpayers spend more than $40 million each year to recover Willamette and Coast Range steelhead and salmon stocks, which the BLM plan threatens. Each wild fish caught is worth an estimated $200 to sportsmen.

    The BLM comment period on the WOPR wraps up January 11.

    Monday, January 07, 2008

    Oregonian, Weyerhauser address global warming and salmon decline

    A lengthy article in this week's Oregonian illustrates how climate change will likely affect salmon in the Columbia River Basin. A lot of this isn't news if you've been following along with the National Wildlife Federation's Target Global Warming Campaign to get anglers and hunters fired up about the issue in Oregon.

    These are the projections: Warming by the 2040s will turn rivers and streams across 20% of the Northwest, including much of the main Columbia and Snake rivers, lethal for salmon in summer. About 80 years from now, up to 40% of salmon habitat in Oregon, and 20% in Washington, will be too warm for salmon to survive.

    But there is an unexpected voice amongst the scientific panels -- timber giant Weyerhauser. The Oregonian quoted Robert Bilby, an aquatic ecologist with timber company Weyerhaeuser and a lead author of a new scientific assessment of how global warming will affect salmon:

    "We're talking about the survival of a cold-water fish in warming conditions," he said. Rising temperatures "potentially will make large areas of the Columbia Basin uninhabitable to these species in the not-too-distant future."

    Ok, so what's Weyerhauser doing here? Read on: We may have to identify areas that are totally uninhabitable and not spend resources there. I don't think Weyerhauser is paying aquatic biologists out of altruism. They're working an angle, and it sounds like finding "uninhabitable" land to ease protections on is a potential motive.

    Saturday, January 05, 2008

    Toxic fungus continues to spread in Oregon

    Cryptococcus gattii, a microscopic pathogen normally found in tropical and subtropical locales in Australia, Africa, India or South America is popping up in the Pacific Northwest. It was discovered in British Columbia in 2001, and recently sickened a woman in Junction City, Oregon the Register-Guard reported last week.

    The article quoted associate professor of environmental health at the University of British Columbia: One theory suggests that the microscopic, yeastlike fungus only recently arrived in the Northwest from the tropics, where it’s long been established... Perhaps it stowed away on a tropical plant imported to Canada or was carried by migrating birds.

    A competing theory holds that the fungus has been here for a long time, unnoticed until changes in climate or land use patterns allowed it to grow in high enough concentrations that it became airborne and available for causing disease in humans and animals.

    Scary thoughts for hikers in Oregon and the Pac NW in general. Talk about the dangers of climate change! The University of British Columbia has been researching the spread of the fungus.

    The photo (from a 2007 article in the Globe and Mail) shows the lung x-rays of a fungus victim from British Columbia.

    Oregon State Parks photo calendar now available

    Oregon State Parks published its 2008 calendar, full of photos shot by park visitors reports KATU. The contest to get a photo in the calendar is open to anyone with a digital camera. You can find all of the 2008 winning photos here, including shots of Face Rock, Harris Beach, and more. It seems the 2009 contest deadline is over, but the 2010 Oregon State Park photo contest opens up spring break this year.

    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Hunters and Anglers oppose BLM WOPR in Oregon

    This is a press release from a coalition of hunting and angling groups in Oregon, opposing the BLM's Western Oregon Plan Revision:

    The Bureau of Land Management plan to roll back habitat protections on 2.6 million acres in western Oregon is a threat to the state’s legacy of hunting and fishing, according to a report released today by Oregon sportsmen’s groups.

    “For most Oregon hunters and anglers, our public land is the only hunting and fishing estate we will ever own,” said Mike Beagle of Eagle Point. “The Bureau of Land Management proposal lacks the balance needed to support Oregon’s priceless outdoor heritage.”

    The report comes from Trout Unlimited, Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, Oregon Division Izaak Walton League of America, Oregon Council Federation of Fly Fishers, Northwest Steelheaders, Berkley Conservation Institute and Native Fish Society.

    The groups released a report critical of the Bureau of Land Management’s Western Oregon Plan Revisions, or WOPR. The WOPR ramps up development on 2.6 million acres of public forests managed by the BLM. Scattered throughout western Oregon, the land includes watersheds critical for salmon, steelhead and trout as well as forests that are habitat for Oregon’s prized big game species such as Roosevelt elk, blacktail deer and black bear.

    The report highlights several specific areas of concern:

    Reduced protections for spawning streams. The BLM plan would significantly reduce the current “no-logging” buffer on fish-bearing streams, allowing logging within 25 feet of the bank.

    The BLM’s proposal would reduce critically important “Late Successional Reserves” or old growth forests by more than 40 percent. Oregon’s most popular big-game species count on mature forests for a certain degree of security, cover and winter forage.
    The agency’s proposal to build 1,000 miles of new roads would open up areas that have traditionally been valuable for hike-in hunting and secure habitat.
    The BLM proposes making several areas high-intensity ATV playgrounds. Sportsmen and wildlife will be crowded out of valuable habitat if those lands are handed over to motorized traffic.

    The report urges the BLM to go back to the drawing board, and make wildlife habitat and fisheries a higher priority.

    “Hunters and anglers know how important habitat is for the future of our favorite activities,” said Brian Maguire, of Portland. “Oregon sportsmen need to be heard loud and clear. Tell the BLM to keep habitat protections on the books, so we have fish in the rivers and game in the woods. Our kids deserve it.”

    “I understand the need for logging, because I come from that world,” said Bob Gerding of Philomath near Corvallis. “We do timber thinning on our land all the time, because it’s sound management. But the kind of large-scale clearcutting the BLM is proposing now is bad for everyone.”

    More than 750,000 people hunted and fished in Oregon in 2006, generating nearly $900 million for Oregon’s economy, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    You can check out the full report on Trout Unlimited's Web site.