2022 Legislative Agenda

by Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director

Historically, the Oregon Legislature met every other year for a session that spanned upwards of six months. In 2010 the legislature approved what is called a “short session” in the off years. Only 35 days long, this session moves very quickly, and legislation that is not scheduled for a committee hearing in the first week is largely dead on arrival. Despite the exceptionally fast pace, Bird Alliance of Oregon is prioritizing several important wildlife bills that have already cleared this first hurdle.

A landscape of the a creek flowing through the Elliott State Forest.
Elliott State Forest, photo courtesy of Cascadia Wildlands

Our top priorities for the 2022 Legislative Session are passing legislation to create an Elliott State Research Forest and enact new riparian protections across more than 10 million acres of private forestland in Oregon. Both are the result of years of work and offer the opportunity to transcend decades of conflict.

  • Senate Bill 1546-1 will create a new Elliott State Research Forest owned by the State of Oregon and managed by OSU, with strong oversight and accountability measures and strong protections for the Elliott’s older forests, riparian corridors, and imperiled species. It will also create the largest reserve in the Coast Range, more than 34,000 acres. For nearly three years, Bird Alliance of Oregon served on the stakeholder advisory committee that developed this plan. It has the support of diverse stakeholders, including more than 25 conservation organizations, tribes, timber interests, recreational interests, education interests, and Coos County.
  • Senate Bills 1501 and 1502 will significantly strengthen riparian protections on over 10 million acres of private forestland in Oregon governed under the Oregon Forest Practices Act. Bird Alliance of Oregon was honored to have participated in more than a year of direct negotiations between conservation and timber interests overseen by the Governor’s Office.
Rocky Habitats Wildlife Tidepools

Legislation we are supporting in this session either directly or through the Oregon Wildlife Coalition:

  • House Bill 4130-1, which would allocate $5 million for wildlife crossings in Oregon.
  • House Bill 4128, which would help prevent and respond to zoonotic disease outbreaks linked to the import, trade, and handling of wildlife by strengthening state agency coordination, monitoring, and response plans.
  • General Fund request for funding for one staff position at the Department of Land Conservation and Development to support implementation of the Rocky Habitat Plan, which covers more than 40% of the Oregon Coast and provides essential habitat for seabirds and other wildlife.
Gray wolf resting in field of tall dried grass
Gray Wolf, photo by John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS

We are opposing two bills that would harm wildlife:

  • House Bill 4127, which would allocate $1 million for an unaccountable Wolf Compensation Fund beyond $400,000 that has already been allocated and could be used for payments for “missing” livestock (as opposed to direct depredation loss) that are not verifiable.
  • House Bill 4080, which would authorize formation of Predator Damage Control Districts to raise money to subsidize federal lethal wildlife control programs.

To date, it appears most of our priorities are advancing, but they will still have to travel a long legislative road on a short timeline. By the time this issue reaches mailboxes, much of the session will have passed and we are likely to be in a final push to secure passage. Look for a flurry of action alerts in late February and early March and please send emails to legislators—it makes a huge difference in a fast, crowded session.