Travesty for Wild Salmon in Oregon

While I am not usually given to get on a rant (insert "sheesh" here) an article that came out through the Oregonian has gotten a lot of people a little burnt on our State Governement.

In Oregon you can drive around and look at the license plates and tell right away those of us who have a devotion to the salmonids in our state. A commemorative license plate with a Salmon as the main image is available on a recurring 2 year fee for your vehicle. The purpose of the extra $30 fee?

"Putting a salmon on your plate is a great way to become a partner in the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. When you pay an additional $30 for your two-year passenger car license plate, $15 is invested by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board in activities that support the restoration and protection of watersheds, native fish and wildlife, and water quality. The remaining $15 goes to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to promote the Oregon Plan and support fish habitat restoration in state parks."

You can read the text directly from the State of Oregon website here:

According to the report issued by the Oregonian,

"Instead, drivers have paid the salary and office expenses of OWEB's small grants administrator in Salem. Drivers are also set to pay for a $150,000 website improvement to make it possible to apply online for grants from OWEB, another project that won't retrofit a single culvert"

While the Oregon State Parks have used their share of nearly $9.5 million to actually do work, it appears that administrators have been willing to slide these monies into an area where salaries are covered by the collection instead of direct impact toward Salmon habitat recovery and conservation.

With the controversy this is creating statewide, there are rumblings from most of the fishermen that I know to spend those dollars on organizations like Trout Unlimited and our group Bend Casting Club. While I appreciate their support, the balance we face is how to bolster confidence in our state organizations who are doing good while not demonizing the ones who aren't.

Our fisheries in the PNW are truly wonderful to partake in. Our wild populations of salmonids are recovering from over a hundred years of abuse. The focus that Trout Unlimited is making toward the Wild Steelheaders program is a great example of the dedication to these areas.

Consider supporting Chapters, Councils, and groups like the Bend Casting Club who are all working toward protecting, restoring, conserving and sustaining these fisheries. Mainly because support from our tax dollars don't seem to be getting to the places it needs to be.

Here is a link to the entire article from the Oregonian for your digestion:


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