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Land Trust acquires iconic Bald Hill Farm

July 26, 2013

CORVALLIS, OR - Greenbelt Land Trust purchased Bald Hill Farm earlier this week in a move that will permanently preserve public access and critical habitat for wildlife at the iconic 587 acre property located outside of Corvallis in Benton County.

“Bald Hill Farm is truly a community property. With three miles of public trails, incredible vistas and endangered habitats, it is one of the last properties of its kind in Benton County. Since Greenbelt was founded in 1989 this property has been at the heart of our organization, and it is so satisfying to know that we are finally protecting this land for generations to come,” says Michael Pope, GLT Executive Director.

Greenbelt initiated a campaign to purchase Bald Hill Farm in 2010 from longtime GLT supporters, landowners Andrew and Lauralee Martin. “I grew up in Corvallis, and feel a sense of responsibility to this community to help realize the vision of a comprehensive trail system around its edges. This was a landscape that was meant to be preserved for trails and as open space,” says Andrew.

Over the last three years, Greenbelt Land Trust has managed to pull together broad community support in addition to state and federal grant funds to acquire and steward the property. Funding came from private donations, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Bonneville Power Administration through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program. Together with a generous bargain sale made by the Martins, Greenbelt led a community capital campaign to acquire and steward the land, raising $1.2 million through private funds.

Grant funds for the acquisition were secured to protect and enhance the native habitats and endangered species found on the property. Bald Hill Farm contains key upland and prairie habitats, including populations of three federally listed plant species, Willamette daisy, Nelson's checkermallow, and Kincaid's lupine. Implementing conservation and restoration activities on such a large scale allows for significant progress on Benton County’s Habitat Conservation Plan, the Oregon Conservation Strategy and the recovery measures described in the USFWS Recovery Plan for the three listed species.

Bald Hill Farm will provide important educational opportunities for linking environmental conservation and agriculture in the Willamette Valley. One of the primary goals for Bald Hill Farm is to demonstrate how multiple values, including education, ecological protection and restoration, recreation, and local food production, can be managed and integrated on one property.

Funding for this project was dedicated through:

Bonneville Power Administration funding helps fulfill an agreement with the State of Oregon made in 2010 to protect nearly 20,000 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. Funding through BPA also came in through a powerline transmission mitigation program. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program manages the funds dedicated to the State of Oregon by BPA.

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board’s Land Acquisition Program, which allocates funding to not-for-profit land conservation organizations and trusts, among other entities, for land acquisition projects that protect or restore native fish or wildlife habitats, watersheds, or water quality in Oregon.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service, under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) helps States and landowners plan and implement projects to conserve endangered species. The Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (section 6 of the ESA) provides grants to a wide array of voluntary conservation projects for candidate, proposed, and listed species.

For Information Contact:

Greenbelt Land Trust
Jessica McDonald | Development Director
jessica@greenbeltlandtrust.org ç(541) 752.9609

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Laura Tesler çWillamette Wildlife Mitigation Staff Biologist
Laura.tesler@state.or.us ç(503) 947-6086

Bonneville Power Administration
Kevin Wingert çPublic Affairs Specialist
kwingert@bpa.gov ç(503) 230-4140

Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
Miriam Hulst çAcquisitions Specialist
miriam.hulst@oweb.state.or.us ç(503) 986-0026

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