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Native fish, wildlife and their habitat
On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

July 2009
Unless someone like you cares a whole, awful lot, things aren't going to get better, they're NOT!
Dr. Seuss


Forestry Program Creates Advocates
Oregon Attacks Aquatic Invaders
Hunters Protect Aspen Groves
Feral Swine in Legal Crosshairs
Oregon’s Wildlife on Facebook
One Small Thing


Forestry team
Forestry instructor Nicole Strong, third from left, and Master Forest Manager volunteers during a field training in Benton County.
Photo courtesy of ODFW

Oregon’s family woodland owners collectively manage close to five million acres—40 percent of private forestland—contributing substantially to local communities. But, providing technical assistance and advice to such a large statewide group is a challenge.

“This is where the Master Woodland Manager Program comes in,” said Nicole Strong, Oregon State University Extension forester. “The program serves as a catalyst in growing the family woodland owner community. We have a cadre of active owners who want to learn more about managing their properties in a sustainable way and who are willing to share their knowledge with their neighbors and community. As foresters and biologists, we can’t be everywhere so it is worth it to invest in advocates with a passion for the work.”

Strong is responsible for the program’s curriculum and teaches the wildlife section of the course. She uses the Oregon Conservation Strategy as a tool and resource.

“I’ve taught in all the ecoregions in the state, and the Strategy works well—you can cover multiple scales, from landscape to specific habitats and associated wildlife species,” she said.

To learn more about the program and how a Master Woodland Manager can help you, visit the OSU Extension website. Follow the MWM program on twitter.


Quagga Mussel
Invasive quagga mussels attach easily to boats, docks and buoys and prove devastating to rivers and lakes.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Herod, USFWS

Acting on the old adage that “an once of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the 2009 Oregon Legislature passed a bill in the final days of the session that will raise an estimated $1.5 million a year to help keep Oregon’s waters free of invasive species. Funded by a $5 biennial fee on registered powerboats and a $5 annual permit for manually-powered boats 10 feet or longer, the bill will fuel aquatic invasive species prevention programs across the state.

“It is great to see Oregon trying to get out ahead of this issue,” said Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species coordinator. “We know that if some of these species, especially quagga and zebra mussels, get into our freshwaters, it could cost us millions of dollars a year.”

Prevention programs will be administered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Marine Board. Plans call for teams to inspect boats for invasive species, operate mobile boat decontamination equipment, provide education and coordinate with local law enforcement.

Putting prevention into practice is critical to stop the spread of invasive mussels into the state. Over the past couple of years, several contaminated boats have been found being trailed or transported into the Pacific Northwest.

Once in rivers and lakes, invasive mussels are virtually impossible to eradicate and are very expensive to control—they quickly clog pipes in power plants and water and irrigation systems, requiring extensive and regular maintenance. In freshwaters, they colonize in dense mats, smothering native plants and animals, removing nutrients from the water and devastating fish populations.

The law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2010. For information on resident, nonresident and business fees and requirements, see the Oregon Marine Board Q&A online.

Aspen tree fence
OHA volunteers constructing a fence that will be used to protect aspen trees in the Ochoco National Forest.
Photo courtesy of ODFW

For information on quagga and zebra mussels, see the ODFW invasive species website.


One of Oregon’s declining habitats got a helping hand from the Oregon Hunters Association this summer. Working in the Ochoco National Forest, volunteers from several chapters helped U.S. Forest Service biologists construct buck and pole fences around aspen groves to keep cattle, deer and elk at bay until the trees grow tall enough to withstand browsing by the animals.

“We put those buck and pole fences around the groves to protect the aspens from overgrazing so they have a chance to grow,” said Joe Purdy, a member of the Salem-area OHA Capitol Chapter.

Buck and pole fences are ideal for protecting aspen groves. They reduce the risk of wildlife entanglement as well as collecting snow in the winter, harboring moisture at a critical time of year for wildlife. And, wood fences decompose naturally—just about the time the fledgling alders are above wildlife browsing height.

Feral swine rooting
Feral swine can “rototill” a hillside in a night, destroying crops, pastureland and stream banks.
Feral swine trap
ODFW staff set a trap on private property to capture the feral swine that are tearing up pastureland.
Feral swine
A trail camera catches an image of a feral swine as it follows a trail of food into the trap.
Photos courtesy of ODFW

The Capitol, Ochoco and Bend OHA Chapter contributed time and money to the projects. Aspen woodlands are a Strategy habitat in the Blue Mountain ecoregion which encompasses the Ochoco National Forest. For more information on OHA habitat restoration, visit the OHA website,


The goal is eradication. And the time is now.

“In Oregon, we’re at a turning point,” said Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species coordinator. “If we can control and contain the pigs we have, we have a chance at eradication. If we don’t, in a few decades, we’ll be where California is today, with a million feral swine causing millions of dollars in damage every year.”

Support for feral swine containment came from the 2009 Legislature which passed House Bill 2221 this session making it illegal to sell hunts for feral swine. The penalty includes a fine and loss of hunting privileges for up to two years. It will also be illegal after Jan. 1. 2010, when the bill takes effect, to knowingly allow feral swine to roam on private property—landowners are required to notify ODFW when they become aware of free roaming feral swine.

The problem with feral swine is their awesome destructiveness. Overnight, they can tear up stream banks and agricultural fields.

“We are currently trapping pigs on private property in Central Oregon,” said Boatner. “We’re working with a landowner who is experiencing a tremendous amount of damage from pigs rooting up his pastureland. We trapped two of them, but there are probably 20 to 40 more in the drainage. A few of them have moved up onto a nature preserve and are wreaking havoc in some very pristine high desert grassland habitat.”

In addition to the negative environmental and economic impacts on landowners, feral swine are also implicated in disease transmission to wildlife, livestock and humans; they also prey on the young of livestock and wildlife.

Landowners who suspect damage by feral swine or are interested in trapping known feral swine, can contact Rick at (503) 947-6038 or by e-mail rick.j.boatner@odfw.oregon.gov


Oregon Wildlife Viewing debuted on Facebook in July. Become a fan and get a weekly “status” on one of the state’s native species and where to see it. The first three posts are about tufted puffins, garter snakes and common murre. Information posted will be provided by ODFW biologists, so look for interesting facts and photos. If you are not a Facebook member, you can view the page here: Oregon Wildlife Viewing


Watch water use this summer. Clean Water Services provides these tips: if you water your lawn, only use one-inch per week (a tuna can's worth); mow grass higher to promote deep roots and healthy soil; aerate, thatch and reseed with a Northwest grass this fall and spring; and plant natives that require less water and fewer chemicals.


On the Ground newsletter archives



The Oregon Conservation Strategy provides a blueprint and action plan for the long-term conservation of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife and their habitats through a non-regulatory, statewide approach to conservation. It was developed by ODFW with the help of a diverse coalition of Oregonians including scientists, conservation groups, landowners, extension services, anglers, hunters, and representatives from agriculture, forestry and rangelands.


Meg Kenagy
Oregon Conservation Strategy Communications coordinator
(503) 947-6021


Contact Meg Kenagy

For strategy information

Contact Michael Pope

For a copy of the Strategy

Contact Karen Buell at ODFW.

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