January 4, 2023
Deschutes County Commission
PO Box 6005
117 NW Lafayette Ave.
Bend, OR 97708
RE: Wildlife Inventory Update—Mule Deer Winter Range Inventory Maps
Dear Commissioners, Adair, Chang, and DeBone,
For the record, my name is Karl J. Findling. I’m a thirty-three-year Deschutes County resident, living in Tumalo.
Today, I speak on behalf of the Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
The purpose of this testimony to provide comments and express concerns relating to the lack of progress toward completion of the Goal 5 updates to the wildlife inventory maps, and urging the three commissioners to include it in the work plan for completion of the Deschutes County Comprehensive Plan.
This being my third such testimony, since August of 2019, when I was formally the Lands Conservation Director for Oregon Hunters Association. Since that time, even more development, in-migration and no formal movement toward the proposed public meetings, and updating a 30-year-old plan, regarding Goal 5, and specifically Inventory maps that will directly affect mule deer.
Also, since my last public testimony, July of 2022 on this subject, the process is still stalled, even though new data exists for input into updating this plan. More on this subject can be found in the previously submitted letters, and testimony, provided by multiple agencies, non-profit organizations and concerned citizens at various public comment opportunities before you all1.
In a September 23rd Deschutes County Memorandum, from Senior Planner Saltzman, to the Commissioners, she asks for direction, as how to proceed with the Goal 5 process. After acceptance of the Technical Assistance Grant in 2020, helping to facilitate the completion of these inventories, Mason, Bruce and Girard Inc. laid out the coursework, for processes leading to new data sets and working groups as well as priorities and advisement as to how to proceed.
With three options available, BHA would like to see Option One chosen; the Mule Deer Inventory process becoming the “pilot project”, thus becoming the agreed upon model for the other two. We chose mule deer for the simple reason reflected in the rapid downward trending of population, and no notable declines in elk and or Sensitive Bird Habitat proportionally. With ESA listings federally, we see ample protections for the Sensitive Bird Habitat inventory group, and the mule deer inventory can effectively become the future blueprint application for inventories, numbers two and three.
No matter the outcome here today, wildlife in Deschutes County will continue to feel the pressures of human impacts, whether from energy development, recreation, or other anthropomorphic causes. We will continue to create land use conflicts unless this new available data is incorporated into this DCCP.
Thank you for considering the inclusion of the Goal 5 Wildlife Inventory updates into the Planning Department FY 22-23 work plan.
Karl J. Findling