Summer 2019 Oregon Chapter News

Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area

            In 1944 a young soldier named Frank Moore landed on Utah beach in Normandy. He fought his way across France to Paris, and then on to Luxembourg. He fought for his country, and to free Europe of the scourge of tyranny, all the while desperate to return home to his young wife Jeanne.

            One could say that he served his country well and did his part for what he loved. But Frank wasn’t done yet. Settling along the banks of the North Umpqua river, Frank and Jeanne Moore made protecting the fragile watershed of Steamboat Creek their life’s work.

            The North Umpqua is a shimmering ribbon that cuts through the emerald mountains of western Oregon. Though stunningly beautiful, its true treasure lies beneath the water’s surface. Each summer, wild steelhead migrate up the main river and spawn in the headwaters of Steamboat Creek. It’s one of the last best spawning habitats in the Northwest, and the reason anglers from around the world come to the river and breathe life into the area’s rural economy. Without steelhead, the North Umpqua is just another scenic drive.

            While still carrying the emotional scars of war, Frank fought to change a culture that valued timber over fish. He lobbied lawmakers and anyone else who would listen to show them the fragility of the watershed. Over the years he built a reputation that expanded far beyond the banks of the North Umpqua. He served on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, was named Conservationist of the Year by the National Wildlife Federation, and in 2010 was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, among other honors. Jeanne taught herself botany and helped catalogue the rare plants of the Umpqua National Forest, succeeding in having a portion of it designated as a Research Natural Area.

            Those efforts caught the attention of Oregon Senators Ron Wyden (D) and Jeff Merkley (D), and representative Peter Defazio (D). Together, they introduced bills that would protect the Steamboat Creek watershed as a steelhead sanctuary. It took some time, but finally in March of this year the president signed into law the Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area. It designates 100,000 acres of forest around the tributary as critical spawning habitat for steelhead.

            In May BHA honored the Moores for a lifetime of work in conservation. They were presented at the annual rendezvous in Boise with the Sigurd F. Olson conservation award.

            Now in their nineties, they Moores still live in the same house in the forest above the river. They do their own cooking, shopping and chop their own firewood.

 

More Oregon Chapter News

 

            A bill that would expand the number of elk a private landowner can take is making its way through the Oregon legislature. SB 301 would provide virtually unlimited elk tags to private landowners who complain of elk damage, regardless of the size of the property. Current law caps the number of elk tags allotted to landowners depending on the size of the property, and with a minimum acre threshold. It also puts management authority in the hands of the Wildlife Commission, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. SB 301 would leverage much of that authority into the hands of private landowners, giving them the discretion of managing elk populations across much of the state.

             Wildlife is a public resource. It’s part of the public trust doctrine and one of the bedrock tenets of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. SB 301 would undermine that tenet, effectively stifling the voices of thousands of Oregon’s sportsmen and women. Oregon BHA will continue to fight this misguided piece of legislation.

            Oregon BHA continues to expand its leadership team. Four new regional directors have recently come onboard, along with a number of new ambassadors. The new recruits represent a growing interest in joining the BHA revolution, with more and more members wanting to take a more hands-on role in the organization.

            The chapter divides the state into four separate regions, with two directors per region overseeing a team of ambassadors and other volunteers. The move allows the chapter to better utilize the experience and knowledge local folks have about the issues and concerns in their area. It also gives the chapter a presence in the community, which can be valuable given the broad cultural diversity across the state.

           

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