Department of Fish and Wildlife Records Guide
Agency History - 1975-Present
When the Oregon Legislative Assembly merged the separate state fish and wildlife commissions in 1975, it created a department that has had an impact on recreation and jobs in dollar amounts far beyond that imagined by most citizens. A major reorganization of the agency occurring in 1986 saw the duties of the department's single deputy director split into two separate jobs; deputy for operations and deputy for policy and programs. During this reorganization the former Environmental Management Section was elevated to division status and renamed the Habitat and Conservation Planning Division.
In recent decades, the Legislative Assembly has been active in considering bills related to the Department of Fish and Wildlife. For example, in a five-month session, the 1985 Legislative Assembly considered 90 related bills. During that session several important changes were made in wildlife law including some license fee adjustments.
The Legislative Assembly also created a Pacific States Legislative Task Force consisting of legislators from the four coastal states. This legislative group acted as a clearinghouse for opinions from fishing interests.
Several legislative changes in 1985 were designed to have a beneficial effect on department revenue. The department was given authority by House Bill 2374 to seek voluntary contributions from sportsmen for special management programs.
Considerable attention was focused on water policy and law and several changes were made to the water law in 1985. Creating most interest was the passage of House Bill 2990 dealing with the siting of small hydroelectric projects in state waters. Finally, 1985 legislation (House Bill 2111) provided for the exemption of STEP (Salmon Trout Enhancement Program) volunteers from having to obtain water rights for fish egg incubation boxes using less than 30 gallons per minute of water.