Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

A decline in revenue at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is putting the agency's financial health at risk. A recent audit from the Secretary of State is raising questions about the Department's business model.

Since the 1970's, fewer people have been buying hunting and fishing licenses, which analysts say is a reflection of a nationwide trend. The licenses are the largest part of the ODFW's annual operating budget; it generated more than a billion dollars in 2013. Gary Blackmer is the Director of the Secretary of State's Audit Division.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has some new tools to help anglers avoid fishing in designated marine reserve areas off the coast. There's a new app for both apple and android smart phones called "Fish Alerts" that displays borders for all protected areas and includes rule summaries. Stacy Galleher is ODFW's Community Outreach Coordinator.

Galleher: "It's hard to pop out a paper map and know exactly where you are, and it's just more intuitive as we keep going with technology that people are looking to their electronic devices to know where they are."

A remarkable rebound for salmon in Oregon has led to a bountiful fishing season. It's also meant fishing quotas are being met early, resulting in the closure of one river.

Wild coho season on the Umpqua River will end October first, when biologists predict the quota of 2,000 fish will be met. Jessica Sall is with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Sall: "We do want to remind anglers that the river is still open for hatchery coho, or those fish that have their adipose fin clipped."

Michelle Alaimo / Smoke Signals

The spring chinook salmon fishing season is now underway in Oregon. Lots of Oregonians take salmon fishing seriously, but possibly none take it as seriously as the tribes of Grand Ronde, a group that's had a role in restoring the health of the fish that's become a symbol of the Northwest.

In a way, the journey of some salmon starts here....

(Sounds of casino)

Oregon Ocean Information

The Oregon legislature recently designated two areas along the coast as marine reserves. The state hopes to involve the public in the new sites.

Cape Perpetua north of Florence and Cascade Head near Lincoln City join two marine reserves already protected by a 2012 law. In 2016, Cape Falcon near Cannon Beach will round out the coastal sites.

Oregon's coastal ports are used for commercial and recreational purposes and are an integral part of the state's economy. Years of federal budget cuts have left the ports in need of maintenance and dredging.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is allocating $20-million in new funding for Oregon ports. Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio had lobbied for additional money for ports in his Southwest Oregon district, which he said are in dire need of dredging.

Author Dylan Tomine’s new book Closer to the Ground details time spent reconnecting his family to nature via foraging, cooking and eating from the woods and sea. He speaks with Eric Alan about why kids prefer food they find, and the resulting sense of stewardship instilled in them.