The director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), Curt Melcher recently defended the ODFW’s request for increased license and tag fees. If the request isn’t ratified by the Oregon Legislature the $9.15 million loss in revenue would lead to 42 positions being cut – seven at ODFW’s Salem headquarters and 35 in the field.
In the fish division alone, he said, it would mean the elimination of the Bandon and Alsea River fish hatcheries, the Oregon Hatchery Research Center, and the North Santiam River summer steelhead program at Leaburg Hatchery on the McKenzie River. A further cut would be the $400,000 for rainbow trout from private hatcheries for the statewide stocking program.
These cuts would be after an already planned elimination of 50 positions through agency consolidation, streamlining and increased efficiencies.
Melcher agreed that costs will only continue to rise, but raising license and tag fees will give the agency stability into the future.