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On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

Oregon Conservation Strategy Implementation Grants Application

May 2007


An explosion of new growth reminds us of the plethora of projects that demand attention in the state. It is heartening to see so many landowners and groups consulting the Conservation Strategy to focus their attention on priority issues within their ecoregion and Conservation Opportunity Areas. If you are unsure of the Opportunity Areas in your region, view the Conservation Strategy on the ODFW website—go to the section for your ecoregion and learn what actions are needed in your hometown. You will also want to check the Conservation Opportunity Area Explorer

Students Search for Bobolinks

One early morning last week, Vic Coggins, ODFW district biologist, heard a bobolink call. It is a distinctive call rarely heard in Oregon. Bright and bubbly, often made on the wing, it is one that Vic and many residents of eastern Oregon would like to hear more often. But, due to land use change and other factors, this grassland bird species is declining in Oregon. Before interested Oregonians can help stabilize or increase populations of the Strategy species, more information is needed.

“We believe we have small sustaining populations of bobolinks in eastern Oregon, but we’d like to have a better population estimate and determine what habitats the birds use,” said ODFW Wildlife Technician Mike Hansen. “We’d also like some insight into where the birds winter and how many return to the same nest sites each year.”

Hansen, who was awarded an ODFW Conservation Strategy Implementation grant for a bobolink survey of Wallowa County, will work with Enterprise High School Biology Teacher, Mike Baird, to gather this data. Over the next two summers, Baird and two or three students will attempt to trap and band bobolinks as part of their research.

"The opportunity to involve students in field research provides a more valuable learning experience than I could ever offer in a traditional classroom setting,” said Mike Baird. “I want the students to have a chance to work with members of the community and see what science means when professionals go to work and face problems, small and large, on a daily basis.”

To see bobolink photos and listen to its call which noted Ornithologist A.C. Bent described as “a bubbling delirium of ecstatic music that flows from the gifted throat of the bird like sparkling champagne,” visit What Bird at

To learn more about bobolinks, see the Species: Conservation Summaries for Strategy Species section of the Conservation Strategy, page 313,

Deer and Cars on Collision Course in Central Oregon

Between October 2005 and February 2007 there were 564 documented deer-vehicle collisions along sections of Highway 97 and Highway 31 in south central Oregon. In an effort to reduce accidents within this corridor, ODFW staff are trying to define migration routes and distribution patterns of mule deer. This involves capturing, collaring and monitoring populations within the study area.

A large database of information is being compiled including biological samples, highway configuration, vegetation density and temporal data. This data will be combined with the movements of the radio-collared deer along the highway corridor to provide information to ODOT* for the proposed expansion of Highway 97. Funding for the project comes from ODOT, ODFW, USFS*, BLM*, Oregon Hunters Association, Traditional Archers of Oregon and the Sunriver Homeowners Association.

The Strategy names “barriers to fish and wildlife movement” as one of six key statewide conservation issues. For more information, contact Autumn Larkins, ODFW wildlife technician, or Audrey Hatch, ODFW Conservation Strategy Monitoring Coordinator.

Oregon L egislators Support State Wildlife Grants

Late this month, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee allocated $85 million for the State Wildlife Grants Program, the nation’s program for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered. In April, 222 Members of Congress supported the increase to $85 million in a bi-partisan letter to the subcommittees.

Oregon legislators who signed Dear Colleague letters are: Senator Gordon Smith (R), Senator Ron Wyden (D), Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D), Rep. Darlene Hooley (D) and Rep. Dave Wu (D). For more information, view the news release

OHA Restores Habitat on Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

Oregon Hunter Association members have just completed their eleventh annual habitat restoration project in The Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, one of the most expansive, domestic livestock-free wildlife habitats in the west.

This year, the group continued their work removing Mediterranean sage, an invasive species that overruns native plants that provide valuable wildlife forage. Volunteers also removed old barbwire fencing to keep wildlife from becoming tangled, planted willows along the creek, and cut junipers to restore stream flows and rejuvenate springs. OHA Lake County and Klamath Chapters also donated picnic tables for day-use and camping areas for visitor enjoyment.

“We’ve made a big impact on controlling invasive Mediterranean sage on the refuge because we have kept at it year after year,” said OHA project coordinator Gordon Ohman.

The 278,000-acre refuge is home to more than 300 species of wildlife. Key Strategy species include pronghorn antelope, sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, Swainson's hawk and Catlow Valley redband trout. The refuge is in the Northern Basin and Range ecoregion (pdf).

For information about the OHA project, contact Gordon Ohman at (541) 882-6803. Information about refuge

Information on Mediterranean sage can be found on the Department of Agriculture website.

Invaders in Your Neighborhood

Non-native—invasive—species are arriving and thriving in Oregon. From plants to fish to animals, invasive species can create economic and environmental harm, often negatively impacting native fish and wildlife. For information on what species have invaded your local area, see the appropriate ecoregion section in the Conservation Strategy. Each region has two lists: one of known invasive non-native animal and plant species and one of non-native animals and plants of potential concern. See the Invasive Species website for Oregon’s 100 most dangerous invaders.

Grant Application Deadline: June 15k

There is still time to apply for an Oregon Conservation Strategy Implementation Grant. For more information or assistance with your application, contact Peg Boulay, (503) 947-6316, or Audrey Hatch, (541) 757-4263 ext. 242

Application materials

Send Us News about Your Strategy-related Projects

Meg Kenagy, editor and Conservation Strategy media coordinator
Peg Boulay, Conservation Strategy outreach coordinator

Contact Information

Meg Kenagy
(503) 947-6021

Oregon Conservation Strategy

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* To keep articles short, we have used acronyms for the following organizations: U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).







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