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On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

MARCH 2007

While students are pouring out of schools for Spring Break conservationists around the state are focusing on education—an important part of Strategy implementation work. Connecting people to nature, providing opportunities for them to learn about their natural environment and educating them about key issues, are all necessary to the Strategy goal of healthy wildlife and healthy habitats. Read about some of their work in this issue.


Oregon Zoo Takes You Home
Quagga Mussels Hitchhiking their Way West
Sign Up to Save the Turtles
Is There Room for Wildlife on your Acreage?
Keep Oregon Blue
Speaking up for Snakes and Salamanders
ODFW and Partners Study Funding

Oregon Zoo Takes you Home

When Oregon Zoo Director Tony Veccio wanted to create a Pacific Northwest exhibit that would allow visitors to walk though a native Oregon forest peppered with bears, cougars, bobcats and eagles, there were, as might be expected, detractors. Aren’t zoos, after all, for exotic animals—tigers and elephants and giraffes?

“Not if we want to get kids excited about the outdoors,” said Tony. “We can’t afford to lose a generation of kids to video games and malls. By taking them into a native northwest forest, we show them what animals live in our state, how to recognize their tracks, what a bald eagle looks like at eye level, what fish are swimming in our rivers.”

In fact, not many Oregonians who visit the zoo have seen a black bear or a cougar in the wild. “Even if you live in rural Oregon, bears and cougars are secretive animals and are not observed very often,” said Chris Wheaton, ODFW northwest region manager. “However,&rdquo he adds with a smile,” they are actually a lot more common than most Oregonians realize. Even if you don't see them, they may be watching you.”

Visit the Oregon Zoo website to learn more about the new exhibit, and find a kid to take along with you on the adventure. All of us who have visited the exhibit agree—it’s a dynamic investment in the future of our state.

The Great Northwest Exhibit

Visit ODFW’s website for information on what to do if you encounter a black bear or a cougar outside the zoo.


When they come, it will be by boat. Stashed in bilge water, attached to hulls or hitchhiking on trailers, invasive quagga mussels are working their way west. And local invasive species experts are worried. “To stop quagga mussels from entering Oregon’s waters is going to take a huge education and enforcement effort,” said Jim Gores, ODFW invasive species coordinator. “Not only would they do extensive damage to water pipes, irrigation and fish screens, they would disrupt the freshwater food chain, stressing our native fish.”

Since the mussels were found in Lake Mead, Nevada in January, experts in the Pacific Northwest have pulled together to educate marine enforcement officers, boaters, marine suppliers and agency personnel. The Columbia River Basin Team of the 100th Meridian Initiative meets regularly to plan education and outreach programs. For more information contact Jim Gores, James.K.Gores@

Visit the 100th Meridian Initiative website to learn more.

sign up to save the turtles

We know Oregon’s western painted and western pond turtles are disappearing from the landscape. We know there are things we can do to help. We know it’s not enough to preach to the conservation choir. But how do we get the message to Christmas tree farmers, golf course superintendents, rural landowners, state park managers and other private and public landowners?

At an all-day workshop at the Oregon Zoo on Friday, April 20 several groups hope to start the dialog. Sponsored by the Oregon Zoo, Lower Willamette Valley Turtle Group and ODFW, the workshop is open to citizens, landowners, land managers, biologists—anyone interested in having an impact on the future of turtles. For more information, contact Sarah Erskine at 503- 226-1561 ext. 5777 or

For information on the event and Willamette Valley turtles

Is there room for wildlife on your acreage?

If you live in Central Oregon, stop by the Tri- County Living on a Few Acres expo on Saturday, April 14 at Redmond's Deschutes County Fairgrounds and find out. Billed as an idea-and-opportunity event for residents of Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson Counties who live on acreage, the event offers information on dealing with noxious weeds; exploring alternative markets; welcoming wildlife to your backyard; herbicides, irrigation and composting; and more.

ODFW’s Audrey Hatch will conduct a training session on the Oregon Conservation Strategy; associated tools for landowners; recommended conservation actions for wildlife and fish; how to find resources through incentives programs; the on-line Registry of Conservation Actions; and measuring conservation success.

For a copy of the event flyer (pdf)

For more information or to register, contact Pam or Emily at OSU Crook County Extension Service, 541-447-6228, or


Once common in the grasslands and prairies of the Willamette Valley, the Fender’s blue butterfly is endangered. Habitat restoration and control of invasive plants are necessary to the future viability of the species. On a 338-acre historic farm north of Jefferson owned by Jolly and Mark Krautmann, work is underway that will help. Over 135 acres of oak savanna, upland and wet prairie are being restored in work that will benefit a number of other prairie habitat dependant plant and wildlife species.

Besides restoring Kincaid's lupine, an endangered plant and nectar source and host plant for Fender's blue butterfly, these include the Willamette daisy, Nelson's checkermallow, and Bradshaw's desert parsley―all plants listed under the Endangered Species Act. And what makes the butterfly happy makes the birds happy: the Acorn woodpecker, Grasshopper sparrow, Oregon vesper sparrow and Western Meadowlark will all benefit. An exciting goal of this project is reintroduction of the Golden paintbrush, a native plant now considered extinct in the state.

The Jefferson Farm restoration project, which implements the Strategy on private lands, is a collaborative effort funded by ODFW's Landowner Incentive Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Natural Resource Conservation Service arm Bill Programs.

For information about Fender’s blue butterfly, visit

Speaking up for Snakes and Salamanders

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) is stepping up regional coordination with a Northwest working group that includes Oregon Conservation Strategy staff and partners. Its goal is to conserve reptiles and amphibians and their habitats.

On-the-ground work slated to be done in the northwest includes developing monitoring techniques and identifying key areas on the landscape for Strategy amphibians and reptiles. PARC’s education outreach includes distributing information on Habitat Management Guidelines, animal collecting and pet store issues. For more information, contact Audrey Hatch, or Dede Olson,

On a national level PARC is working with a number of other states to help implement local Conservation Strategies. Visit PARC online at

Wonder what herpetofauna may be underfoot in Oregon? Visit

odfw and partners study funding

Lead by Holly Michael, the ODFW Conservation Strategy Leadership team is working to build a framework that allows ODFW and our partners to create and sustain the shared conservation vision outlined in the Strategy. Currently, the team is assessing ODFW’s needs for strategy implementation, how we can help our partners and what level of permanent new funding is needed to get the job done.

This summer, department leaders will be traveling around the state to meet with ODFW field office staff, conservation partners, constituents, local officials, tribes and other agencies to hear suggestions on how to build what we need to be successful. An external Strategy Budget Working Group will be established within a few weeks t work with the team to develop the framework and budget projection. If you’d like to provide comments or recommendations, contact Holly at 503-947-6072 or

Send us news about your strategy-related projects

Peg Boulay, ODFW Conservation Strategy Coordinator

Meg Kenagy, Editor and ODFW Strategy Media Coordinator

Contact Information

Meg Kenagy

Oregon Conservation Strategy


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