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Nehalem Bay
If the Lower Nehalem Community Trust realizes its vision the north edge of Nehalem Bay will be restored to as near a natural state as possible.
Lower Nehalem Community Trust photo.
Click to enlarge

On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

June 2010

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew. Marshall McLuhan

Nehalem Bay Goes Back to Nature
New Willamette Valley Conservation Map Available
Got Feral Swine? Get a plan
McKenzie Watershed Council Fights Invader
ODFW Issues Beaver Relocation Guidelines
Greater-sage Grouse Conservation Plan Out for Public Comment
One Small Thing

Nehalem Bay
Restoration of the estuary edge lands will benefit salmon, frogs, pelicans, marbled murrelet and migratory and shore birds.
Lower Nehalem Community Trust photo.
Click to enlarge


Two years ago, when the Lower Nehalem Community Trust began work to restore and preserve the north border of Nehalem Bay estuary, the group didn’t know how long it would take to raise funds and implement plans but, today, they are well on the way to achieving their vision. Phase one of a two-phase project that will eventually connect and restore two miles of estuary edge lands is complete. 

“It’s been a challenge, but we have a lot community support,” said Nancy Chase, a Trust board member. “We’re doing it the hard way, one piece at a time, but it’s getting done. We’ve acquired 42 home sites, about 14 acres, so far.”

The benefits of estuary edge conservation are many—the wildlife corridor will be restored, water quality in the bay improved and invasive species removed. Tourist experience will also be enhanced. Nehalem Bay State Park at the west end of the estuary attracts many visitors.

“There is a great opportunity for conservation education,” said Chase.

Funding from the project comes from community contributions, OWEB, a federal Coastal Wetlands grant and individual property donations. The Lower Nehalem Community Trust is a member supported, nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of natural lands in the Lower Nehalem Watershed. Visit their website to learn more.

Population in the Valley is expected to nearly double by 2050. The time is now to identify and maintain habitat connectivity and migration corridors for the area's fish and wildlife.
Photo by ODFW
Click to enlarge


There was never a more luscious piece of pie than the wedge of land that is the Willamette Valley. Generations of Native Americans, waves of trappers, pioneers and farmers settled the verdant land. Time, transportation and technology gave rise to the state’s largest cities and suburbs and today, about 70 percent of the state’s population calls it home. Gone are ninety-nine percent of the Valley’s oak and prairie habitats and 80 percent of its riverine habitat.

“Given the environmental impacts on the Willamette Valley and projections for future population growth, those who are interested in conservation of the area’s biological diversity and wildlife habitat must work strategically in the next decade or we may lose our best opportunity,” says Dan Bell, Willamette Basin Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy.

This sense of urgency led The Nature Conservancy and partners to develop a new map of conservation priority areas—one that “synthesizes” six earlier conservation assessments of the Willamette Valley and incorporates recent knowledge. As a result, the current Conservation Opportunity Areas as defined in the Strategy have been updated and refined and some new areas that would improve connectivity and watershed function have been added. 

“Our objective is to provide a unifying vision, based in the best available science, that all stakeholders can work towards in the Willamette Valley,” said Bell. “The synthesis map helps ensure that we will make sound decisions about the best places to do conservation work.”

Bell is working on an interactive version of the map. A pdf version is available on the Strategy section of ODFW’s website, Willamette Valley Synthesis Map and Conservation Opportunity Areas.

Feral swine
Feral swine are prohibited in Oregon; they reproduce rapidly and destroy crops and riparian habitat.
Photo by ODFW
Click to enlarge

The new map will be incorporated in the Strategy next year as part of a five-year review and update. The six planning efforts reflected in the new map are: The Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Valley Ecoregional Assessment; The Pacific Northwest Ecosystem Research Consortium’s Willamette River Basins Alternative Future’s Project; the ODFW-led Oregon Conservation Strategy; Critical Habitat Designations and Recovery Plans for Willamette Valley Fish and Endemics; The Wetlands Conservancy Priority Wetlands; and Oregon Biodiversity Project. For additional information contact Dan Bell, dbell@tnc.org or www.tnc.org.


New legislation requires that landowners and managers contact their local ODFW office within 10 days of discovering feral swine on their property. After that, they have 60 days to submit a feral swine removal plan to the department for approval.

Technical assistance is available from local ODFW offices or by calling Keith Kohl, ODFW Terrestrial Invasive Species coordinator. A sample removal plan is available on the feral swine web portal.

“Private landowners hold the key to feral swine eradication in the state,” said Kohl, “and I want people to know that we can help with advice on traps and other resources.”

A new brochure for landowners and land managers is available to individuals and organizations. Contact Keith at (503) 947-6038 or Keith.L.Kohl@odfw.oregon.gov

Old Man's Beard
The McKenzie Watershed Council is fighting Old man’s beard, a non-native climbing vine, which quickly overtops mature trees.
Photo by McKenzie Watershed Council
Click to enlarge


Old Man’s Beard, Clematis vitalba,is a non-native climbing vine that smothers trees and shrubs and destroys fish and wildlife habitat. Alarmed at how rapidly the plant grows and at how quickly it can overtop even mature trees, the McKenzie Watershed Council began a project to cut and clear vines and explore eradication methods. Initial work is focused on two sites along the McKenzie River’s mainstem, and the Council is asking local landowners to contact them if they suspect the plant has invaded their property.

Crews spent several weeks in the fall of 2009 cutting and clearing vines from infested trees and shrubs and work continues this summer. Partners include the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the McKenzie River Trust and a private landowner.

According to Shannon Brubaker, Grant Program Coordinator for ODA’s Noxious Weed Control Program, “Early detection and rapid response to small infestations of clematis vitalba is the best means of conserving fish and wildlife habitat within riparian areas along streams. We feel strongly that dollars invested in these types of projects will aid in the protection of natural resources far into the future.”

Clematis vitalba is originally from Europe and southwest Asia and was introduced to Oregon as a residential ornamental. Find information about the plant and a distribution map on ODA’s website. Learn about the McKenzie Watershed Council on their website.


Many land managers and biologists are interested in putting beavers to work restoring riparian areas and creating fish and wildlife habitat, but moving beavers between locations is not a trivial matter. To aid those interested in harnessing beaver power, ODFW has issued a new set of guidelines that details the standards for moving the species on the landscape.

Beaver are considered a keystone species, that is they create habitat for other fish and wildlife species. .
iStock photo
Click to enlarge

“Our goal is to provide a consistent tool for those who are interested in relocating beaver to improve ecosystem health, said Charlie Corrarino, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program Manager.

The new guidelines are for western Oregon; the group is currently in the process of developing a companion set of guidelines for eastern Oregon. Find the ODFW Guidelines for Relocation of Beaver in Western Oregon on the agency’s website. Download a fact sheet on Living with Beavers.


ODFW staff invite public comment on the updated Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Assessment and Strategy for Oregon. The five-year revisionbuilds on the original 2005 plan and includes accomplishments to date, refined population estimates, core-area mapping and mitigation recommendations.

“It’s important to inform partners and the public of new research and conservation approaches for this species especially those who are on the ground improving conditions for sage-grouse,” said Christian Hagen, ODFW Sage-Grouse Conservation Coordinator and lead author of the plan.

An important addition to the conservation plan is categorization of sagebrush habitat based on sage-grouse lek (breeding ground) density and habitat connectivity. Category one habitats are proposed as “no development;” category two habitats are recommended as limited development with “no net loss with net benefit.” 

The draft plan is available to view on ODFW’s website (pdf). Written comments will be accepted through Oct. 1, but to be included in the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission information briefing materials, comments must be received by Aug. 17. They can be mailed to ODFW headquarters or e-mailed to sage.grouse@odfw.oregon.gov. Read the news release.

White Pelican
The American white pelican is a large white waterbird with black wing tips and a long bill that contains a pouch. Wing span is 8 to 9.5 feet. .
Photo by Dave Budeau
Click to enlarge

Join Oregon Wildlife Viewing on Facebook. Once a week, you will learn about one of the state’s native species and where to see it. In June, we highlighted alabaster nudibranchs, golden-mantled ground squirrels, white pelicans and green anemones.

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

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