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On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

August 2007

Change is in the air. Early avian migrants mass at staging areas, Vaux's swifts swirl into chimneys and gray whales move along the coast.

If you need some ideas of where to view all this activity, visit ODFW's weekly Recreation Report. Choose the area you want to visit, and click on Viewing.

cascades frogContents

Frogs at the Fair

Visit ODFW's exhibit at the State Fair and meet Oregon's amphibians. Learn about our native frogs, where they live and what kinds of habitat they need to thrive. See northern red-legged frogs, Willamette Valley natives, who like cool damp forests and wetlands. Meet Pacific treefrogs, the only native frog found throughout the entire state. Unlike the red-legged frog that only sings underwater, Pacific treefrogs are enthusiastic callers―they are often heard on movie soundtracks. Want to know which native frog doesn't croak?

At the fair, two large maps illustrate Oregon's eight ecoregions and invite attendees to learn about the Strategy species and invasive species in their area. Take-home informational flyers about each of the eight ecoregions feature a frog found in that area as well as habitat information. For copies of the flyers scroll to the bottom of the page on the Strategy website.

The 2007 Oregon State Fair runs through September 3 at the Salem Fairgrounds.

Volunteers Watch for Weeds

Tania Siemens, The Nature Conservancy's Weed Watchers program coordinator, is a woman with a mission—stop the spread of destructive invasive plants. “To be effective, we need early detection of targeted plants,” said Tania. “And that involves people on the ground.”

 For early detection, Tania depends on “weed watcher” volunteers. To inspire them, she refers to the Oregon Conservation Strategy.

“The more I read the Strategy, the more excited I became about the opportunities to make a difference in important native habitats,” said Tania. “I find when I'm doing Early Detection and Rapid Response trainings around the state, volunteers also get excited when they understand what habitats and wildlife they are working to conserve, not just what noxious weeds they find.”

Oregon's Weed Watchers program was kicked off this year and Tania is busy recruiting and training volunteers. Contact Tania,

The Nature Conservancy's Weed Watcher program

The Western Invasives Network website

Calling all Marshbirds

virginia railCounting marshbirds is not as easy as counting ducks. “They're quite elusive,” said Cathy Nowak, ODFW biologist in La Grande. “But it's important to get a population estimate—without scientific information, we can't make good decisions about bird conservation and management.”

Cathy, who was awarded an ODFW Conservation Strategy Implementation grant for a marshbird survey, will begin her work in the spring. “I start work after the migrants have passed through. If marshbirds are here in May and early June, they will likely stay to breed which means they will be vocal, and I have a chance of getting a response.” Survey work involves playing an audio tape of a bird call and waiting for a return call.

Species to be surveyed are: Virginia rails, sora, American bitterns and pied-billed grebes. “And,” adds Cathy, “I will be looking and listening with great hope for yellow rail and least bittern.”

Survey work will be done on ODFW Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area and two other sites in northeast Oregon that she believes have suitable habitat for the birds.

In July, Cathy was chosen as ODFW Northeast Region Biologist of the Year on the basis of accomplishments which include work with a variety of partners on surveys and restoration and habitat projects for game and nongame species.

Listen to the call of a Virginia Rail

The Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area

The Long and Short of It

The title is long—Conserving Grassland Birds in the Willamette Valley: Using the Oregon Conservation Strategy to Prioritize Conservation Efforts and Facilitate Cooperation with Landowners. The goal is short—return songbirds to the Willamette Valley.

Apparently, the Oregon Zoo Foundation's Future for Wildlife Conservation Fund grant application committee was able to parse through all those words, because they awarded ODFW's Wildlife Diversity Program a $10,000 grant to support grassland bird surveys in the Willamette Valley. According to AnneMary Myers, ODFW sensitive species coordinator, the group will also produce landowner outreach materials on how to create grassland habitat for songbirds. “Outreach to private landowners is critical in the Valley as so much of the land is privately held,” said AnneMary.

Grassland birds of concern include vesper sparrow, western meadowlark (Oregon's state bird) and streaked horned lark. See a photo of the horned lark and listen to its call at What

Hunters, Anglers, viewers fuel oregon's economy

Significant amounts of money related to fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing are spent in Oregon each year—$478,918,000, $378,615,000 and $772,147,000, respectively. These figures are from the recently released U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

Implementation Grants Put Money on the Ground

This month, ODFW awarded its first Oregon Conservation Strategy Implementation Grants though the federal State Wildlife Grants program. Recipients include conservation groups, watershed councils, non-profits, universities and local governments.

Projects include aspen restoration and monitoring; coordinated aquatic bird monitoring; fire-prone habitat restoration planning; fish passage restoration; marine habitat survey; native seed propagation for habitat restoration; oak assessment and restoration; riparian and rare plant restoration; rockfish research; silverspot and Fender's blue butterfly conservation; streaked horned lark research; and wetlands restoration.

“There were many good project proposals submitted,” said Peg Boulay, ODFW's Conservation Strategy and State Wildlife Grants coordinator. “To ensure thorough consideration of each application, we used a two-stage review process. Two committees looked at technical considerations, requirements such as matching funds and how well the projects implement actions identified in the Strategy.”

Information about the rockfish grant is included in this newsletter. Look for articles about other grant winners in future issues. ODFW received 67 Implementation Grant applications requesting over $ 2.1 million, but only had $425,000 SWG monies available to award.

Mapping the Nearshore Ocean

The Port Orford Ocean Resource Team, a non-profit organization comprised of fishermen and fishing family members, received an Oregon Conservation Implementation Grant to conduct a multi-beam sonar survey at Redfish Rocks. This will provide fine-scale detail of the bottom topography of the ocean floor and allow for classification of habitats.

The resulting data, along with data realized from ODFW survey work with a remotely operated vehicle in the same area, will be used to classify nearshore habitats and learn more about species-habitat associations.

“These efforts are an integral component of implementing Recommendation 7 of the Oregon Nearshore Strategy, which is to map and characterize nearshore rocky reefs, and determine species-habitat associations to provide information for management,” said Cristen Don, acting ODFW Marine Habitat and Nearshore project leader.

The Port Orford Ocean Resource Team

The Oregon Nearshore Strategy

Unique Aspen Habitat Protected

Aspen groves are uncommon in southwestern Oregon. In the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, there are only a few remnant stands left, and they are in decline from wildfire suppression, over-browsing by big game and encroaching ponderosa pines that compete with aspens for sunlight and nutrients. Aspens are important for big game, songbirds and other wildlife species.

In July, the Oregon Hunters Association teamed with the U.S. Forest Service and ODFW to restore one of these important sites. The project involved burning the understory using a prescribed burn, cutting encroaching second-growth ponderosa pines and fencing off a two-acre grove and a five-acre grove to keep the elk away.

Norm Barrett, a wildlife biologist with the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest High Cascades Ranger District where the stands are located, estimates that in about eight years the aspens will have grown tall enough that elk will be able to browse on them for forage without stunting their growth. At that point, the fences can be taken down.

"This aspen stand will improve overall forest diversity and health by creating an island of native hardwood habitat within a predominantly pine and fir forest," said Vince Oredson, habitat biologist for ODFW in Central Point. "In the future, it will provide forage, in the form of aspen buds and insects, not only for deer and elk but also for a wide variety of birds including ruffed grouse, blue grouse, tree swallows and woodpeckers." 

Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest

Oregon Hunters Association

teaming with wildlife update

Oregon's Teaming With Wildlife coalition grew to 115 as new members Deschutes Basin Land Trust, Old Peak Construction, Inc. and Ironworkers Local 29 joined the ranks. These new members reflect the diversity of organizations who believe it is important to support increased public funding for wildlife conservation in Oregon.

This month, Charlie Bruce, ODFW threatened and endangered species coordinator, joined representatives from thirty other states at the national meeting of Wildlife Diversity Program managers organized by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies where Teaming With Wildlife, future funding, climate change legislation and state Conservation Strategies were discussed.

Send us news about Your strategy-related projects
Meg Kenagy, editor and Conservation Strategy communications coordinator

For information about the Strategy
Peg Boulay, Conservation Strategy and State Wildlife Grants coordinator

Contact Information
Meg Kenagy
(503) 947-6021

Oregon Conservation Strategy


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