PORTLAND, Ore.—The Commission reappointed Curt Melcher of Molalla to another four-year term as ODFW Director at its meeting in Portland last week. Melcher has been with ODFW for 34 years, starting his career doing fish creel surveys on the Columbia River. He has served as ODFW Director since 2014.
Commissioners heard an update on Lower Columbia River white sturgeon populations and fisheries and results from ODFW’s ongoing stock assessments. Population indicators for white sturgeon are mixed, with positive signs for the abundance of legal-sized fish but more cautionary ones for juvenile and young-of-year recruitment. Because of these concerns, fisheries managers continue to take a precautionary approach to white sturgeon fisheries.
The Commission also heard a briefing on the state’s razor clam fisheries, including ODFW’s decades-long monitoring program. Razor clamming is a popular activity on the north coast, especially on Clatsop beaches, where 5,000-6,000 people can be out clamming on a good low tide.
The 2018-19 razor clam season on Clatsop beaches was delayed from its traditional opening date of Oct. 1 this year because the population was dominated by undersized clams. The season remains scheduled to open March 1, 2019 though some clams are still small.
Also today, Chair Finley announced that the adoption of a revised Wolf Plan scheduled for March 15 would be postponed to a future meeting, to allow everyone more time to review the Plan and Commissioners more time to talk with constituents. ODFW staff intend to make a draft Plan available for review in early March.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in Oregon. Its next meeting is March 15 in Salem.
Michelle Dennehy, (503) 931-2748, Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us