CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Members of the public will get their first look at a new sturgeon conservation plan and be asked to weigh in on management of sturgeon in the lower Columbia and lower Willamette rivers during a series of meetings that will take place the first week of December. At the meetings, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will give the public a preview of its draft Lower Columbia River White Sturgeon Conservation Plan. ODFW staff has been working for more than a year with fishery co-managers and biologists to craft a plan that will provide for the long-term health of the white sturgeon population below Bonneville dam. The plan is scheduled for review and possible adoption by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission next April.
“White sturgeon are a unique species and a tremendous resource for the region. We want to ensure that the population remains viable and productive into the future,” said Steve Williams, deputy administrator of ODFW’s Fish Division. “Before we take this plan to our commission next spring, we want to hear from the public what kinds of conservation actions they want to see for white sturgeon.”
The proposed conservation plan describes current and desired status of the white sturgeon, proposes conservation thresholds, and lays out strategies for protecting and rebuilding the white sturgeon population. The plan addresses how sport and commercial fishing, predation, habitat changes, and operation of the Columbia River hydro system affect white sturgeon populations.
In addition to unveiling Oregon’s proposed sturgeon conservation plan, fishery managers from both states will present the latest information about sturgeon population trends, fishery performance, and other factors they will consider when setting sport and commercial fishing seasons and harvest guidelines for the Columbia River in 2011-2013.
The two states will jointly host three meetings at the following locations:
* Longview: Dec. 6, 6-8:30 p.m. Cowlitz Co. Public Utility District, 961 12th Ave.
* Clackamas: Dec. 7, 6-8:30 p.m. ODFW Northwest Region Headquarters, 17330 SE Evelyn St.
* Astoria: Dec. 9, 6-8:30 p.m. Holiday Inn Express, 204 West Marine Drive.
Fishery managers say new catch guidelines for sturgeon will likely reflect recent declines in the lower Columbia River sturgeon population.
Additionally, ODFW will host a fourth meeting to present the latest information on population status and fishery options for the Willamette River in 2011. The location and meeting time for the Willamette sturgeon meeting is:
* Clackamas: Dec. 8, 7-8:30 p.m. ODFW Northwest Region Headquarters, 17330 SE Evelyn St.
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