I just read a series of recent articles written by Tony Schick for OPB’s Earth Fix that shared the sad news of the funding situation for Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife. There is money available for studying and supporting native animals, however, the vast majority of this funding goes for game species, such as elk and salmon. Thousands of other species are not allotted the funding necessary to study their populations and habitat, which means these creatures may fall through the proverbial cracks in the system and be lost forever. In Schick’s well-chosen words, “For wildlife in Oregon, the best way to stay alive is to make sure someone wants to kill you.”
This link takes you to an Oregon Field Guide video that discusses the issue: http://www.opb.org/television/programs/ofg/segment/whos-watching-oregons-wildlife/
At at time when the environment is facing its highest threat ever, from a lack of fair funding as well as from our current administration, we need to find even more ways to contribute. A little known opportunity is with the Oregon Habitat Conservation Stamp. These stamps have been available since 2012 and only cost $20. Prints of the art can be ordered as well. The money goes to support species identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy as those most in need of help. Each year, an art contest is held to choose which species will be represented on the stamp. The ODF&W website shows the winners for each year as well as the entries. There are some beautiful paintings there. I imagine the judges toiled over their decision!
Pam Comeleo, a very active wildlife advocate from Corvallis, has been buying the stamps since they were first produced. In her words, “Purchasing a Habitat Conservation Stamp is a great way for Oregonians who don’t hunt or fish to support ODFW’s mission to conserve the state’s native fish and wildlife and their habitats. Unfortunately, ODFW has done a really poor job of marketing this program and very few people are aware of it. When I tell people about it, I jokingly call it one of ODFW’s best kept secrets. If ODFW is serious about tapping into the growing community of wildlife viewers as a source of revenue they need to do a much better job of promoting this. They also need to be very transparent about how much revenue is generated and how it is spent. I think the Habitat Conservation Stamp program could have very strong support if more people in Oregon knew about it and they could be confident that the money really was being used to fund habitat conservation projects linked to the Oregon Conservation Strategy.”
Consider helping native Oregon non-game wildlife and supporting the arts by purchasing stamps or prints. Follow this link for instructions.
We don’t want to leave wolves out of the conversation! As most of you have heard, the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is currently under review. There are some worrisome proposals, including one that would allow the public to hunt wolves that are deemed problem animals, specifically those that are killing livestock or impacting ungulate herds. Many are concerned about this, including Nick Cady, Conservation Director for Cascadia Wildlands, who is quoted as saying, “Regardless of how it is framed, the hunting proposed will result in annual wolf killing — the very reason this species was wiped out from the Lower 48.”
On April 21, 2017, Russ Morgan, wolf coordinator for the state, will present the proposed changes to the wolf plan to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Public testimony is allowed. The meeting will be in Klamath Falls at the Running Y Ranch. Please consider attending and speaking up for stricter protections for wolves. If you can’t attend, you can contact the Commission beforehand with your comments. Here is a link that has details of the meeting and on the top left a link to send an email.