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Elk WILDLIFE DIVISION
Regulating harvest, health, and enhancement of wildlife populations
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ODFW Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program

John R. Palensky Wildlife area

About John R. Palensky Wildlife Area (aka "Burlington Bottoms"):

Project Proponent: Bonneville Power Administration

Year Acquired: 1991

Conservation Values Protected: In 1991, the Palensky Wildlife Area (PWA), formerly named Burlington Bottoms, was purchased by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) as one of the first wildlife mitigation sites in Oregon to provide partial mitigation for the impacts associated with the construction of hydroelectric facilities under the Willamette and Columbia River Basins Fish and Wildlife Program. This purchase was a unique and rare opportunity to permanently protect some of the last remaining floodplain habitats along the lower Willamette River, situated between the Tualatin Mountains to the west and the southern end of the Sauvie Island (SI). The 423-acre site contributes to the protection and conservation of habitats in the northern Willamette Basin, benefitting a variety of fish and wildlife species as well as providing opportunities for restoration and enhancement.

Since 1993, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has been contracted by BPA to manage PWA, conducting both restoration and operations and maintenance (O&M) activities to protect and conserve habitats and wildlife on the site. In 2010, BPA and ODFW signed an agreement to settle BPA's remaining wildlife habitat mitigation obligations in the Willamette Basin. The agreement established BPA's mitigation obligation to before the protection of 26,537 acres and more than $117 million for fish and wildlife habitat conservation and restoration. Projects protected prior to the agreement, termed" legacy projects" and including PWA, count towards the total mitigation obligation. Over the 15-year agreement, a minimum of 16,880 additional acres of important native habitats will be protected through the ODFW/BPA's Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program (WWMP).

The Conservation Values identified for PWA include emergent and wet prairie wetlands, flowing water/riparian, and grassland habitats.  Restoration and enhancement activities benefitting the Conservation Values have occurred on the site since 1995 and have included noxious weed removal and native plant installation. Surveys and monitoring of wildlife at PWA have documented a diverse array of songbirds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians and other wildlife present on the site, including State Sensitive species such as the northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora), the western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata), and western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta bellii). Future restoration activities will continue to improve habitat quality for many native plants, invertebrate and vertebrate species that are partly or wholly dependent on Willamette Valley riparian, grassland, wetland, and aquatic systems.

Acres Protected: 175

Access: Not open to the public

Contact us

Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program Contact List (pdf)
ODFW Wildlife and Fish Biologist Contact List (pdf)

For more information

Contact Laura Tesler, Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program Coordinator, Laura.Tesler@odfw.oregon.gov

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