Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Oregon Capitol in Salem.

Ducks Unlimited works in statehouses around the country to advocate for legislation and policies that support DU’s conservation efforts. At the Oregon Capitol in Salem, Ducks Unlimited’s policy team had a busy legislative session advocating on behalf of our members and DU’s core mission.

Here’s a roundup of the bills that DU was following when the Oregon legislative session concluded earlier this summer:

Harney County Basin Wetlands: Ducks Unlimited worked closely with our partners in the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative on House Bill 3222 to designate $1 million to restore and maintain wet meadows, wetlands and lake conditions for birds and farmers on the Silvies River Floodplain, Donner und Blitzen River Floodplain and Malheur Refuge and to support research and collaborative partnerships. Another bill, House Bill 5066, also provides $1.5 million for irrigation infrastructure improvements in the region as part of the Drought Relief and Water Security Package.

Fish and Wildlife Commission Reform: Ducks Unlimited’s policy team worked with our partners in the Oregon Sportsmen’s Conservation Partnership to ensure that conservation interests were fairly represented in House Bill 3086, legislation that sought to reform the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. This board, consisting of seven governor-appointed members, regulates hunting, fishing and wildlife management in Oregon. One version of the bill would have required the governor to select commissioners based on population centers through congressional districts, which would have given Eastern Oregon little representation. However, the sportsmen community successfully offered an alternative that would require Commissioners to be appointed by watershed boundaries, giving Oregon’s natural resources and rural constituencies fair representation across the state.

Green Infrastructure Grant Program: Ducks Unlimited worked with legislators to ensure that wetlands restoration was included in the list of eligible projects outlined in House Bill 3016, which creates a new community grant program to fund green infrastructure projects in Oregon.

Source Waters Protection: Working with our partners at the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts, House Bill 2813 includes $5 million to establish a new program at the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. These funds will provide grants to protect, restore, and enhance headwaters and healthy watersheds that are the sources of drinking water supplies and feed our rivers, stream, and wetlands.

Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program: The Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program is a new program that supports agricultural conservation easements and supports family farms. Ducks Unlimited helped initiate this program and secure its first $5 million in funding last year. While the bill did not secure significant funding this year, DU will work closely with legislators and the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts to grow this important program next session.

Firearms Legislation and Conservation Funding: Ducks Unlimited and its partners successfully worked with lawmakers on the following firearms bills as they relate to conservation funding and youth hunting in Oregon:

  • House Bill 2005: This bill would have banned semi-automatic shotguns, commonly used in hunting and high school shooting sports, for those under 21. Ducks Unlimited teamed up with the Newberg High School Trapshooting Team to educate legislators in Salem about the safe use of semi-auto shotguns in youth sports and about hunters’ significant contribution to Oregon conservation funding through firearms and ammunition taxes and license and stamp sales. In the end, this bill only banned the sale and possession of firearms without serial numbers.
  • Senate Bill 348: This bill would have implemented provisions of Ballot Measure 114, the controversial gun-control ballot initiative that narrowly passed last year and has since been challenged in court. Ducks Unlimited’s main concern with SB 348 was that it would have created new onerous permit and gun safety training requirements. These requirements would not have counted hunter safety training as approved training. The bill also didn’t include enough funding to carry out the permitting requirements; something that would have prevented untold numbers of otherwise legal hunters and recreational shooters from obtaining and using legal firearms. Through an amicus brief and letters to legislators, Ducks Unlimited demonstrated how those requirements would harm youth hunting, hunter recruitment and retention. Ducks Unlimited also highlighted how the program would create a shortage of funds for wetlands conservation and other important wildlife funding in Oregon. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Ducks Unlimited and our coalition partners, SB 348 did not pass this session. Meanwhile, Ducks Unlimited and our legal advisors are closely following court cases surrounding Ballot Measure 114.


OR statehouse coalition partners.jpg

Matt Little

Kerry Spurgin, Oregon State Shooting Association, Matt Little, Oregon director of public policy, Wyatt Schliesleder, captain of the Newberg High School Trapshooting Team, Keely Hopkins, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Melissa Craig, Oregon State Director for USA High School Clay Target League and David Craig, head coach of the Newberg High School Trapshooting Team


Ducks Unlimited also continues to work in our nation’s capitol on behalf of Oregon’s natural resources. This past year, volunteers and staff traveled multiple times to Washington, DC to support the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Farm Bill, as well as begin developing a new wetlands funding bill for the Northwest region.

Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing wetlands. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved 16 million acres in the U.S. and more than 131,000 acres in Oregon. For more information, visit, and be sure to Follow DU's Twitter feed – @DucksUnlimited and @DUConserve – to get the most up-to-date news from Ducks Unlimited.

Media Contact: 

Ryan Sabalow, Western Region - Communications Coordinator 

(916) 805-1210