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.
Blackmer: "On the spending side, they have had new responsibilities put on them for all the other species in Oregon, in particular those that are endangered. And they've also had a deferral out of their maintenance because they simply didn't have enough money to cover those things."
Blackmer says the ODFW is looking at program reductions, more fee increases, and a request for more general fund support. A second audit is being conducted to explore matching the Department's workload with its resources.
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