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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Audit Suggests Oregon Department Of Fish And Wildlife Lacks Long-Term Strategy

Oregon Secretary of State's office
A rotting fish screen is the result of deferred maintenance at an ODFW fish hatchery.

The state agency that manages hunting and fishing in Oregon is lacking a long-term strategy according to an audit by the Oregon Secretary of State's office released Thursday.

The audit says the Oregon Department Of Fish And Wildlife, known as ODFW, has a recurring cash flow problem. The agency has managed to stay afloat by reducing staff, raising fees, and delaying maintenance on facilities such as fish hatcheries.

But the audit says that cash flow problem will worsen as the state has seen a steady decline in the number of people who hunt and fish. License fees make up roughly a third of the ODFW's budget.

The audit says the ODFW has not done agency-wide long-term strategic planning in at least a decade and has instead focused on short-term fixes.

In a response, ODFW director Curtis Melcher said the agency has recently begun to develop a six-year plan.