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Horseshoe Lake conservation extends protected corridor along Willamette River

August 28, 2012

Corvallis, Ore.— A new conservation acquisition will permanently protect important habitat for species including Chinook salmon, cutthroat trout, Oregon chub, Pacific lamprey, western pond turtles and red-legged frogs.

The 175 acre Horseshoe Lake property has been protected by the Greenbelt Land Trust and consists of Willamette River frontage near Albany, Ore., in Linn County that will benefit fish and wildlife identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy. The purchase was made possible through a strong partnership with the existing landowners, the land, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Bonneville Power Administration and the Meyer Memorial Trust.

“This dynamic river section, with its complex side channel systems, floodplain forests and  cold water sloughs offers an unprecedented opportunity to conduct large-scale restoration to re-establish an active floodplain for the benefit of declining fish and wildlife species, as well as assisting with erosion control, water storage and flooding,” says Greenbelt Land Trust Director Michael Pope.

Horseshoe Lake extends the footprint of conservation in this region, which now totals over 1,600 acres of protected lands, including many Willamette greenway properties such as Truax Island, Half Moon Bend Landing, Riverside Landing, Tripp Greenway, Bowers Rock State Park, and the land trust’s easement on a nearby 200 acre floodplain property.

Conservation easements allow for some traditional uses of the land, such as farming, by the landowner but permanently protect important wildlife habitat. They also allow conversion of farmland to restoration and conservation purposes. They are particularly effective in the Willamette Valley where 96 percent of the land is privately owned.

The conservation of Horseshoe Lake was made possible through a partnership with landowners Art and Judy Waggle, Bill and Barbara Stellmacher, and the family of Maria Carnegie.

Funding from this project was dedicated through:

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board through its Willamette Special Investment Partnership (SIP). The goal of the Willamette SIP is to identify and implement high-priority land conservation, fish passage, and habitat restoration projects that contribute to the enhancement of resident and migratory fish populations in the mainstem and tributaries of the Willamette River. The Meyer Memorial Trust through the Willamette Initiative assisted Greenbelt Land Trust with the capacity to manage this complex transaction.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, which was created to manage the funds dedicated to the State of Oregon by the Bonneville Power Administration for wildlife habitat mitigation in the Willamette Valley. The agreement requires a substantial investment in wildlife and fish habitat restoration over the next 15 years.

Bonneville Power Administration funding helps fulfill an agreement that the State of Oregon made in 2010 to protect nearly 17,000 acres of Willamette Basin wildlife habitat. The agreement dedicates stable funding from electric ratepayers for 15 years to safeguard Willamette habitat for native species, supporting state efforts to protect the Willamette Basin and fulfilling BPA’s responsibility under the Northwest Power Act to offset the impacts of federal flood control and hydropower dams.

NOTE: Greenbelt Land Trust will host a public “Willamette Celebration” event at Horseshoe Lake on Friday, September 14 from 4-6 p.m. that will include tours and River musings from honored speakers and landowners. To learn more and to obtain directions, contact jessica@greenbeltlandtrust.org.

   

Contact:

Meta Loftsgaarden, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Deputy Director, (503) 986-0203
Doug Johnson, Bonneville Power Administration, Public Affairs Specialist, (503) 236-5840
Jessica McDonald, Greenbelt Land Trust, Development Director (541) 752-9609
Meg Kenagy, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Communications coordinator, (503) 947-6021

 
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