As you know, the state of Oregon works on a 2-year (“biennium”) cycle. State agencies are now preparing their 2019-2021 budget requests which will be sent to the governor and then to the legislature for final approval. ODFW voluntarily gathers public feedback on their budget through what they call the External Budget Advisory Committee, of which I am a member. Last week was the final EBAC meeting and I am happy to report that ODFW appears to be in reasonable shape. They are far from flush with cash but they are not cutting personnel and services like they have in the recent past. They are also gearing up to work on what they state is potentially the largest anadromous fish reintroduction in the nation in the Klamath Basin.
It’s a worthwhile 2-3 hour drive from Central Oregon to fishing in the Klamath Basin. While I fish more frequently on rivers like the Deschutes and Metolius, in my opinion the Klamath Basin offers excellent fishing with far less competition. That experience could get even better when four impassable dams on the Klamath are removed, potentially starting in 2020.
Removal of the dams will open up historically significant spawning areas above Klamath Lake for salmon and steelhead. ODFW is requesting funding for additional field biologists to prepare for and manage the reintroduction effort following the removal of the dams. I certainly hope this budget request is approved. You can learn more about the removal effort here and here. WaterWatch has been active in Klamath Basin restoration efforts for some time, you can learn more here.