Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: Financial Condition Review
- Growing costs and long-term declining revenues produces a recurring cash flow problem for ODFW.
A review of ODFW’s financial health found a recurring cash flow problem that has repeatedly put the agency’s financial health at risk.
ODFW’s expenses have grown faster than revenues for many years. Personnel expenses and inflation are driving up costs, and there is also a growing backlog of facilities maintenance. Further, ODFW’s scope of responsibilities has expanded over the years due to increased activities within the state that affect fish, wildlife, and their habitats.
A steady decline in users since the 1970’s has put pressure on license revenues. The agency relies heavily on users to fund its broad range of fish, wildlife, and habitat activities. While periodic increases in license and tag fees has helped to stabilize these revenues, continuing fee increases risks pricing users out and further decreasing revenues.
Federal support for ODFW’s activities has increased in the past decade, though that trend is not expected to continue. State support provides a small portion of its budget. Moreover, ODFW’s federal and state revenues have many spending restrictions.Although shortfalls have been addressed, in part, by fee increases, this and other solutions have not been able to address the underlying nature of this problem.
While this report offers financial highlights, it did not completely assess the reasons that led to the current situation. Further audit work will analyze activities and explore additional strategies for managing the gap between responsibilities and resources.
The agency director agreed with the audit’s financial assessment and identified several initiatives to address the challenges faced by the agency. For example, actions are underway to restructure fees, seek efficiencies, and explore other revenue sources.
Link to full report: