Zoo, Oregon leaders work to fund wildlife conservation

April 10, 2019 - 6:54am

HB 2829 would provide conservation funding before species become endangered

The Oregon Zoo and its partners in conservation are asking Oregon lawmakers to support House Bill 2829, which would allocate $17 million annually to support underfunded non-game species programs.

"At the zoo, we're funding projects that advance conservation science in the Pacific Northwest, and working with partners to bring back imperiled butterflies, condors and turtles from the brink of extinction," said Dr. Don Moore, director of the Oregon Zoo. "There are many other species that are at a crisis point, facing a multitude of threats on an unprecedented scale. We need to invest in a better future for our wildlife."

In Oregon — as in most states — conservation funding largely comes from hunting and fishing license fees, and is spent on managing species that are hunted or fished. For most of Oregon's wildlife — nearly 90 percent of all species living here — there is no dedicated stream of support.

Conservation organizations like the Oregon Zoo help make up for the lack of state resources to protect species, but these efforts are still insufficient to protect most imperiled species and their habitats. Often, no conservation action is taken until a species is listed under the Endangered Species Act, by which point recovery becomes more challenging and costly, with more severe human impacts.

Oregon House Bill 2829, introduced in January 2019, would provide much needed funding in support of healthy habitats, fish and wildlife, in addition to improving education and outdoor recreation opportunities to the public. The money would come from Oregon's General Fund, helping to balance conservation funding across all Oregonians.

The bill will also create a critical state match for a much larger source of federal nongame conservation funding, which will significantly enhance Oregon's ability to conserve its native species.

Supporting messages

  • There is no dedicated stream of conservation funds for Oregon's 850 native species of fish and wildlife.
  • Historically, wildlife research, management, habitat improvement, enforcement and conservation have been funded by fishing and hunting license fees, but this model is not sufficient or sustainable.
  • Proactive (as opposed to reactive) conservation can benefit taxpayers and business by reducing costs imposed by the Endangered Species Act.
  • Oregon has a conservation strategy in place that identifies habitats and species at risk and offers a wide range of tools and methods to conserve them. This bill will finally turn that strategy into action.

Consider sending a message urging the Joint Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee to support H.B. 2829. Please address your email to the Subcommittee on Natural Resources.