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On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

September 2007

On the autumnal equinox, day and night hang in balance—a good reminder of the balance we seek on the landscape between human development and wild areas, between consumption and conservation, between individuals and all citizens. Used wisely, the Conservation Strategy can facilitate those dialogs and the move toward balance.


Untangling the Mess of Derelict gear

Lost and abandoned fishing gear—nets, lines, pots and other debris—is more than unsightly. It can be destructive. Lost gear can entrap and wound or kill fish, shellfish, birds and marine mammals. It can degrade sensitive habitats. It creates safety hazards and interferes with other commercial and recreational activities in the ocean.

To address this growing problem, a group of partners launched a pilot program in the fall of 2006 which focuses on retrieval of derelict commercial crab gear from marine waters. Currently, the group is testing what types of boats and methods are best used to collect the gear with the goal of establishing a long-term program.

“It’s gratifying to see progress being made on this issue,” said Cristen Don, ODFW Habitat and Nearshore project leader. ”The Nearshore Strategy identifies abandoned commercial and recreational fishing gear as a factor that can negatively impact nearshore species and habitats.”

The pilot gear-retrieval project is funded through a federal Marine Debris Program grant, matched with funds from the ODFW Restoration and Enhancement Program, the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission and the Oregon Salmon Commission. Other major partners include the Oregon Fishermen’s Cable Committee, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State Police, US Coast Guard and Tyco International. Commercial fishermen are active participants. The Gear Reporting Hotline is 800-707-CRAB.

For information about the program, contact Cristen Don

Information about the Oregon Nearshore Strategy, the marine component of the Conservation Strategy

Environmental Reporter Tackles Invasive Species

Beth Casper, environmental reporter for the Salem Statesman Journal, has been brewing the idea for an in-depth series about invasive species in Oregon for nearly three years—long enough that she doesn’t remember exactly what triggered her interest.

“It was a growing awareness that a noxious weed is more than a nuisance—it can affect native plants and wildlife to a greater extent than I was aware. And, the more I learned, the more I understood that to successfully control invasive plants and animals, the public has to be involved. A few agencies can’t do it.”

Beginning in September and lasting through June, each month The Statesman Journal will look at an established Oregon invasive species and a species that still can be eradicated from Oregon. Beth is producing six of the articles and associated Web content; Outdoor Writer Henry Miller is working on the other four which will focus on aquatic invaders and microorganisms.

Articles published in September include:

  • Oregon threatened by invasive species; Experts look for ways to stop the spread
  • Mistake or not, humans to blame

Read these and other articles (Click on the large icon that says "Invasive Species of Oregon.”)

The Strategy (pdf) identifies invasive species as one of Six Key Conservation Issues of statewide concern

Oregon department of agriculture adds Strategy to toolbox

Shannon Brubaker, Grant Administrative Analyst for the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Control Program, has a big job to go with her big title. Soliciting, reviewing and overseeing grant funding gives her insight into the myriad projects proposed to address the problems caused by invasive plants. Prioritizing projects and determining which to fund is always the challenge.

“We use a number of resources for decision making and have recently added the Conservation Strategy to our toolbox,” said Shannon. “We are especially interested in using the Conservation Opportunity Areas as defined in the Strategy as a guideline for where work needs to be done.”

Conservation Opportunity Areas are landscapes where broad fish and wildlife conservation goals can best be met. Working in these landscapes can increase effectiveness of conservation actions at larger scales than individual projects scattered throughout the state can. More information on Opportunity Areas.

Iinformation about the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Noxious Weed Control Program

Caution: Wildlife Crossing

How does a community reduce vehicle-wildlife collisions within the parameters of an existing road system and known wildlife corridors? Fortunately for the safety of wildlife and the traveling public, there are a lot of biologists, land use and transportation planners who are interested in tackling this issue. Some 40 professionals gathered in La Grande this month to participate in a Northeast Region Wildlife Linkage Workshop hosted by ODFW. Agencies represented included ODOT, USFWS, BLM and USFS.

“Our goal is to reduce vehicle-wildlife collisions,” said Paul Kennington, ODOT Environmental Program coordinator. “It’s a complex issue, one which our maintenance crews deal with on a daily basis. Due to their familiarity with these problem areas, we have a huge data base and know what species are being hit where. This allows us to focus our efforts on problem areas.”

“We are thrilled to have so many folks interested in finding solutions to the problem,” said Audrey Hatch, ODFW Conservation Strategy Monitoring coordinator. “During the workshop we identified key movement areas—linkage areas—for mammals, amphibians and reptiles. This is an important first step in solving an important problem.”

Follow-up actions will include prioritization of linkage areas and development of tools and education programs to make the roads safer for people and wildlife. The La Grande workshop is the third in a series of four regional workshops that are being held around the state. The next workshop will be held on October 17 at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center near Alsea. For more information, contact Audrey at 541-757-4263 x 242 or

Threatened Trout get a Boost from Partners

The Lahontan cutthroat trout multi-year, multi-agency restoration project slated for McDermitt Basin in southeast Oregon is nothing if not ambitious. “Our goal is to reach a point where there are viable, self-sustaining populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout in the McDermitt Creek Basin, and to eventually de-list the Lahontan,” said ODFW Malheur Watershed District Biologist Tim Walters.

Lahontan cutthroat trout populations have declined in the region primarily due to loss of habitat, crossbreeding with introduced rainbow trout and competition with other introduced species of trout. Restoration activities include construction of barriers on Upper McDermitt, Lower McDermitt and Cottonwood Creeks. Non-native fish species will be removed from different stream segments in sequential years after which native Lahontans will be stocked.

The first phase of the project was completed in late September 2007 with the removal of non-native trout from Cottonwood and Indian Creeks and construction of some of the barriers; one more installation is scheduled for next month. 

A native species that was first listed as endangered throughout its range in 1970 and subsequently reclassified as threatened in 1975 to facilitate management and allow regulated angling, the Lahontan cutthroat trout is a Strategy species.

ODFW partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Trout Creek Mountain Working Group.

Contact Tim at

Information on the Northern Basin and Range ecoregion (pdf)

teaming with wildlife update

This report from the National Teaming with Wildlife Coalition: Thanks to a last minute push by coalition leaders around the country, we've soared past our goal of 5,500 groups to an amazing total of 5,587. View the full list (pdf).

Oregon’s Teaming With Wildlife coalition grew to 116 as Outdoor Visions joined the ranks of those who support increased funding for Oregon’s wildlife.

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

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