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Fender's Blue
The endangered Fender's blue butterfly is native to Willamette Valley prairies. TNC photo. Click to enlarge.
On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

November 2011

Conservationists were busy as beavers this fall. In fact, the ODFW-led Beaver Work Group completed two projects—a landowner survey and statewide relocation guidelines. The Nature Conservancy wants your input on an update to the Willamette Valley Synthesis Map, and ODFW is sponsoring an art contest for its new Habitat Conservation Stamp.


Research Study Focuses on Beavers and Landowners
Statewide Beaver Relocation Guidelines Now Available
TNC Seeks Nominations for Updates to the Willamette Valley Synthesis Map
Enter ODFW’s Habitat Conservation Stamp Art Contest
One Small Thing

Beavers, once trapped to near extinction to drive Oregon’s early economy, are now common in many areas of the state. iStock photo.
Click to Enlarge Photo


Oregonians know a lot about beavers and in general, they like them.

“We were surprised at how knowledgeable so many people are about beavers,” said Associate Professor Dr. Mark Needham of the Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society at Oregon State University who recently completed a survey designed to quantify landowner attitudes toward beavers and about allowing them on their property. This statewide survey drew responses from more than 1,500 people.

“Seventy-five percent of respondents know that beaver dams create important habitat for fish, 97 percent think beavers create wetlands that are good for the environment and 62 percent know that beavers don’t eat fish,” said Needham.

“Compared to our previous research on public knowledge about other species such as deer, elk and bears, that is a very high knowledge level about a species,” said co-investigator and Assistant Professor Dr. Anita Morzillo of the same department at OSU.

Although people are knowledgeable about beavers, the research also indicates public interest in getting more information about how to coexist with the species—especially those animals whose building activities result in impacts such as flooded fields and downed trees.

Mark Needham
Dr. Mark Needham of OSU recently completed a survey about beavers in Oregon. OSU photo.

“It is important that we manage beavers within existing laws, so we need to know what people think about beavers and what they are willing to tolerate should they experience beaver damage on their land,” said Dr. Tim Hiller, ODFW Carnivore-Furbearer coordinator.

On private land, beavers are considered predatory animals and can be lethally removed at any time they are causing damage. On public land, they are protected furbearers. 

Needham and Morzillo said the survey results show that the majority of respondents are willing to consider options such as wrapping trees, receiving compensation or having experts provide information about coexisting with beavers instead of removing them.

“There is a lot of interest in beavers and beaver ponds as we learn more about how they contribute to water quality and quantity issues,” said Charlie Corrarino, ODFW Fish Conservation and Recovery Program manager. “It is well known that they provide critical overwintering habitat for juvenile coho salmon.”

The final report, Landowner Incentives and Tolerances for Managing Beaver Impacts in Oregon, describing these survey results is available in the Living with Wildlife section of ODFW’s website. It was produced by Dr. Needham and Dr. Morzillo of OSU, and jointly funded by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Bonneville Power Administration and ODFW.

Contact Charlie. Contact Mark.


Tim Hiller
Tim Hiller, ODFW Carnivore-Furbearer coordinator, with a tranquilized fisher that was being radiomarked for a monitoring project.

Many land managers and conservationists are interested in putting beavers to work restoring riparian areas and creating fish and wildlife habitat, but moving beavers between locations can be challenging. To help clarify the process, ODFW has issued a set of guidelines, which detail the standards for moving beavers on the landscape.

Beaver relocation requires approval and a permit from ODFW and a commitment by the permit-holder to site selection and monitoring.

Tim Hiller, ODFW Carnivore-Furbearer coordinator, is interested in talking to people who want beaver on their property and those who have beaver they would like moved.

“We would like to know what kind of interest there is,” said Hiller. “Eventually I’d like to construct a database to be able to match beaver donors with receivers if the interest is there.”

The ODFW Guidelines for Relocation of Beaver in Oregon and associated forms are available on the agency’s website in the Living with Wildlife section. The Beaver Work Group includes ODFW staff and partners from governmental agencies, private timber industry and other groups.

Contact Tim.


The Nature Conservancy is asking for input on the conservation opportunity areas identified in the Willamette Valley Synthesis Map, a tool that identifies the highest priority areas for conservation and restoration in the Willamette Valley.

Dan Bell
Dan Bell, The Nature Conservancy, is asking for public, partner and practitioner updates to priority conservation areas in the Willamette Valley. TNC photo.

“We are updating the Synthesis map in order to incorporate the best available data and on-the-ground information,” said Dan Bell, TNC’s Willamette Basin Conservation director. “We want people to look at the current opportunity areas and make recommendations about modifying them, adding new ones or deleting existing ones.”

The deadline for nominations and recommendations is Jan. 3, 2012.

Areas nominated for proposed changes should: further recovery of listed species and protect habitat for other Oregon Conservation Strategy species; protect priority ecological systems or plant communities; promote landscape connectivity; create conservation efficiency by providing opportunity to address multiple conservation values in one area; or conserve or improve ecosystem functions that benefit Oregonians, i.e. drinking water sources.

After you have reviewed the map and decided on your recommendation, the nomination process should only take about ten minutes. Visit TNC’s website to access the nomination form. When you complete it, you will be directed to the online mapping site where you can use a draw feature to create a sketch of the area of proposed modification. Then, use the “Save PDF” tool to save a copy of your map. Email it to Ed Alverson at TNC.

The Willamette Valley Synthesis Map combines six planning efforts: The Nature Conservancy’s Willamette Valley Ecoregional Assessment; the ODFW-led Oregon Conservation Strategy; The Pacific Northwest Ecosystem Research Consortium’s Willamette River Basins Alternative Future’s Project; Critical Habitat Designations and Recovery Plans for Willamette Valley Fish and Endemics; The Wetlands Conservancy Priority Wetlands; and Oregon Biodiversity Project.

The interactive, GIS-based map is available on TNC’s website. Contact Ed Alverson by email or phone, (541) 343-1010 ext. 304.


StampODFW is accepting entries for its Habitat Conservation Stamp art contest. Deadline for entries is 5 p.m. Feb. 29, 2012. The winning artist will receive $3000.

Artwork must feature one of the fish or wildlife species identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy in its respective Strategy habitat. Some examples: An artist could depict a short-eared owl in a grassland, a tufted puffin on an offshore rock, a yellow-legged frog in a slow-moving stream or an acorn woodpecker in an oak woodland.

To see all of the Strategy species and habitat associations, see the Conservation Summaries of Strategies Species. In the Habitat section, find a description of habitats.

Download a copy of the announcement, rules and entry form from the ODFW website.

Adopted by the 2011 Oregon State Legislature, the new Habitat Conservation Stamp allows Oregonians to purchase an annual stamp to benefit conservation of Oregon’s native species and habitats. Revenue will be used for restoration of the native habitats that are home to the state’s fish and wildlife. Habitat Conservation Stamps will go on sale in 2012.


To learn more about beavers, preventing conflicts and solving problems relating to plants and trees and flooding, see a copy of ODFW Living with Wildlife: American Beaver on ODFW’s website.


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 voluntary, 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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