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'Adopt a drain' Saturday to help Bear Creek fish

The Oregon Stewardship program plans a Saturday afternoon work party to expand its "Adopt a Drain" program aimed at curbing polluted runoff from the Interstate 5 viaduct in Medford from flowing into Bear Creek.

The project calls for building "bio swales" between the viaduct's downspouts and the creek edge in Hawthorne Park.

The runoff, which contains petroleum products and other contaminants, flows from the viaduct down plastic tubes that empty into the ground between the Bear Creek Greenway and the creek.

A group of Medford High School and Southern Oregon University students have "adopted" a drain by clearing blackberries between the downspout and the creek, then adding gravel, willow shoots and other materials to slow and filter runoff before it hits the creek.

Several more drains are in need of adoption, says Jim Hutchins, the head of Oregon Stewardship, which teaches stewardship classes in southwest Oregon schools.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, volunteers can work on blackberry removal and swale development.

Service groups or fishing organizations that wish to be part of the program but don't want to clear blackberries can donate $100 to pay for mechanical removal.

Students from SMHS, SOU, Rogue Community College and Illinois Valley High School are scheduled to participate, Hutchins says.

Participants should meet at the Hawthorne Park parking lot near the swimming pool, Hutchins says.

For more information on the project, e-mail Hutchins at os2703@charter.net.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking to fill two openings on a volunteer board that helps fund improvements for angling opportunities and wild fish habitat.

The agency is soliciting applicants for its open sport-fishing and public-at-large representatives to the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board.

The board oversees the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program, created by the Oregon Legislature in 1989 and funded by a surcharge on sport and commercial fishing licenses and commercial poundage fees.

The seven-member board reviews grant proposals from organizations and agencies. It makes recommendations to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which has final approval on funding requests.

The seats carry four-year terms and the all-volunteer commission meets three or four times annually. Business expenses are reimbursed.

The application deadline is Nov. 20, when the board is scheduled to meet in Grants Pass. Final appointments are made in January.

For more information or to obtain an application, contact Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program coordinator Laura Tesler at 503-947-6259 or by e-mail at laura.tesler@state.or.us.

Interested applicants also can attend the meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. in the Grants Pass City Council Chambers, 101 NW A St.

Three Central Point men face misdemeanor poaching charges for their alleged roles in what state police troopers called the illegal killing of a black-tailed buck Monday, three days after Western Oregon's general rifle season ended.

Robert Lund, 37, was cited in Jackson County Circuit Court on charges of unlawful possession of a deer and exceeding the bag limit, while 31-year-old Timothy Geyer and 43-year-old Robert Och were each cited for taking a deer in closed season.

Och also faces a count of aiding in a wildlife crime, according to the Oregon State Police.

Troopers received a complaint Monday of men riding all-terrain vehicles in the hills outside Central Point where deer poaching had previously been reported, according to OSP.

A trooper in the area spied three men on ATVs, one of whom was hauling a dead buck, police said.

The were found inside a shed at a Central Point home, skinning a freshly killed buck, police said. Two other bucks were found hanging in the shed, and a third was found butchered inside a freezer there.

Police seized the four bucks and two rifles, the OSP said.

The general deer hunting season ended Friday, except for youth hunters with a tag who were allowed to hunt through the weekend.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.