Department of Fish and Wildlife Records Guide
Agency History - Current Organization
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission consists of seven members appointed by the governor for staggered four-year terms. One commissioner must be from each congressional district, one from east of the Cascades and one from the west. Commissioners formulate general state programs and policies concerning management and conservation of fish and wildlife resources and establish seasons, methods and bag limits for recreational and commercial use. The department consists of the commission, the director (appointed by the commission) and a statewide staff of 1300 employees and operates under ORS chapters 496 through 513.
The department headquarters are in Salem, with regional offices in Clackamas, Roseburg, Bend, and La Grande. Twenty district offices are also strategically located statewide. The department operates a variety of facilities designed to enhance fish and wildlife resources, including 34 fish hatcheries, 16 wildlife areas, public shooting grounds, hunting and fishing access sites, and several research stations.
There are three main program divisions within the department: Fish Division, Wildlife Division and the Habitat Division. Each division has a director along with deputy directors, program leaders and coordinators, and section managers.
The Fish Division manages fish populations by setting regulations for gamefish species, monitoring populations and operating 34 fish hatcheries which produce up to 80 percent of all salmon, trout and steelhead caught in Oregon each year. The division works cooperatively with other state and federal agencies on habitat and fishery management issues for inland and ocean waters, works with landowners to improve and protect habitat and coordinates law enforcement needs and activities with the Department of State Police.
The Fish Division includes the following program areas: Interjurisdictional & Marine, Fish Conservation, Fish Passage, Fish Propagation, Fish Screening, Fishery Restoration, Freshwater, Natural Production Program, Marine Resources Program, Corvallis Research Lab, and an engineering section. More than two-thirds of the agency workforce and greater than half the department's total budget are devoted to fish management, production and research. Through its administrative structure comprising six regional offices around the state, the division oversees the work of biologists on the ground in 23 districts, several research project sites, and marine resources program activities based in Astoria, Newport and Charleston.
The department's Wildlife Division has responsibility for more than 600 animal species, both hunted and non-hunted, manages game species by setting hunting and trapping regulations, relocates wildlife or applies other management techniques. The division manages non-hunted species through the Wildlife Diversity Program; works cooperatively with other state and federal agencies on habitat and wildlife management issues; works with landowners to improve habitat or manage animal damage complaints; and coordinates law enforcement needs and activities with the Department of State Police. Field biologists and technicians work from 22 district offices and operate 13 wildlife management areas around the state. These areas comprise more than 200,000 acres of agency-owned or leased lands managed for the benefit of wildlife and recreational access. Unlike fisheries programs, the Wildlife Division receives little General Fund revenue &emdash; depending primarily on hunting license and tag sales and excise taxes distributed through the federal Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Fund.
The Wildlife Division includes the following program areas: Access & Habitat Program, Bear/Cougar/Antelope/Sheep, Deer & Elk, Game Bird Program, Game Program, Small Mammals/Furbearers, Upland Game Bird Program, Wildlife Diversity Program, and Wildlife Mitigation.
The Habitat Conservation Division provides technical assistance to state and federal agencies, Oregon counties and other local governments, private consultants, landowners, industries and developers. The division coordinates development of comprehensive habitat conservation policies and standards, collects natural resource damage assessments, and maintains comprehensive databases to assist in informed decisions affecting fish and wildlife habitats. The division also provides headquarters staff level support for fish and wildlife field responsibilities ranging from forest management plan reviews to land and water use debates.
Sustainability became the watchword of the 1990s for fish and wildlife managers as they dealt with past land and water exploitation and tried to provide for future habitat needs. Because the agency has little or no authority to manage most lands and waters, it must work through the programs and activities of other regulators, such as the Water Resources or Forestry departments.
Program areas of the Habitat Division include Forest Practices, GIS, Hydropower, Instream Water Rights, Land Resources, Special and Stream Net Projects, Water Policy/Instream Contested Cases, Water, and the Waterway Alterations/Land Use.
The Information and Education Division educates and informs citizens, landowners, anglers, hunters, school and civic groups about fish and wildlife biology, habitat needs, state policy and regulations, hunter safety, and other related issues. Staff persons include outdoor skills coordinators and regional outreach specialists.
The Administrative Services Division oversees the department's fishing and hunting licensing responsibilities, information systems, fiscal management, business services and realty, budget and contracts management and economic forecasting and monitoring for the agency. Organizationally, the division is divided into the following sections: Business Services, Fiscal, Information Systems, Licensing, Realty, and Budget Services.
The Human Resources Division serves 1,300 employees statewide. This division provides programs to recruit, maintain, train and reward an effective and diverse workforce in a safe environment.
The 2001 Legislative Assembly approved a bill to move the headquarters of the Fish and Wildlife Department "promptly" from Portland to Salem in an effort to enhance efficiency and accountability.
Note: Current Department of Fish and Wildlife programs and records are described in a records retention schedule produced by the Oregon State Archives.