Oregon Business and Conservation Interests Support Dedicated Funding for Oregon’s Imperiled Species We, the undersigned, support long-term, dedicated funding to prevent the decline of Oregon’s most imperiled fish, wildlife, and the plants and habitats they rely upon. HB 3159, Recovering Oregon’s Wildlife Fund, secures dedicated, sustainable funding for the implementation of Oregon’s Conservation and Nearshore Strategy. Recovering Oregon’s Wildlife Fund utilizes a 1.5% increase to Oregon’s state transient lodging tax, one of the lowest state lodging taxes in the nation, to offset impacts from tourism and other natural and manmade impacts to Oregon’s landscapes, wildlife, and fish.
Oregon is fortunate to have a diverse and bountiful array of flora and fauna. While many of these species are thriving, others face increasing challenges putting their future at risk. At the request of Congress, Oregon developed a State Wildlife Action Plan in 2005 to assess the health of Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and habitat and create a roadmap of conservation actions needed to sustain them. Known as the Oregon Conservation Strategy and Nearshore Strategy, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has identified at least 294 species of greatest conservation need and 11 native habitats needing proactive restoration actions. However, the current funds available for implementing the Oregon Conservation Strategy and Nearshore Strategy is only a small fraction of what is required to recover our state’s most at-risk fish and wildlife.
ODFW estimates it would cost $25 million per year to implement just 50% of the identified conservation actions in the Oregon Conservation and Nearshore Strategy. To fund this work, we recognize that the gravity of the situation warrants a bold solution.
Oregon’s population growth, development, climate change, and other natural and human-made impacts continue to contribute to growing pressures on Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and habitat. Oregon residents, businesses, and conservation organizations have a strong interest in healthy populations of native flora and fauna and the habitats that sustain them. These pressures on Oregon’s wildlife also pose a threat to Oregon’s vibrant outdoor economy.
Oregon hunters, anglers, birders, hikers, campers, outdoor recreationists, and wildlife watchers have created a robust outdoor recreation economy that depends on healthy wildlife, fish populations, and landscapes. Today, Oregon’s outdoor economy contributes $15.6 billion in total consumer spending, supporting 224,000 full and part-time jobs in Oregon with $9.3 billion in wages. Hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching account for $1.2 billion in spending.
The Recovering Oregon’s Wildlife Fund, utilizing a 1.5% increase in the state transient lodging tax generating approximately $30 million a year, is a bold, proactive solution that will directly help at-risk species. This increase to Oregon’s state transient lodging tax would still maintain Oregon’s status as one of the lowest state transient lodging taxes in the country while providing a steady, sustainable source of funds to ODFW to help offset the increasing impacts of tourism and other impacts on Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and habitats.
We, the undersigned, support the Recovering Oregon’s Wildlife Fund for the implementation of Oregon’s Conservation and Nearshore Strategy to protect and enhance Oregon’s precious natural heritage.