|Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District is partnering with an orchardist near The Dalles to recreate Oregon swallowtail habitat in an agricultural area. Photo: Wasco County SWCD
Salem, Ore.—The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today announced that 16 grants have been awarded for the conservation of Oregon state’s symbolic species—the western meadowlark, chinook salmon, Oregon swallowtail butterfly and American beaver—in honor of the state’s sesquicentennial.
The Oregon 150 Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Restoration grant program was created by OWEB and ODFW to address the decline in key habitats that support the state’s symbolic species. OWEB dedicated $1 million in Oregon Lottery funds for on-the-ground projects that were selected through a joint review by the agencies. Six of the projects are focused on the western meadowlark; nine will benefit chinook and/or beaver; and one is targeted at the Oregon swallowtail.
“There is no better gift to Oregon than to celebrate and conserve our natural heritage,” said Ken Bierly, OWEB Deputy Director. “The grants will help improve habitat important for the long-term health of our state species.”
“We are pleased with the quality of the projects that were selected for funding,” said Michael Pope, ODFW Oregon Conservation Strategy coordinator. “To be accepted, projects had to be consistent with the priorities established in the Oregon Conservation Strategy and provide significant ecological benefits for the species of concern.”
Ash Creek Forest Management
A delta restoration project to restore historic habitat conditions at the confluence of the Sandy Channels and Columbia River will remove invasive vegetation and plant native trees and shrubs to benefit beaver and chinook.
City of Eugene
The Willamette River side-channel habitat enhancement project at Delta Ponds will benefit beaver and chinook.
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
The Wanaket Wildlife Area in Pendleton grassland restoration project will benefit the western meadowlark through revival of native grasslands.
Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District
This project will improve habitat for western meadowlark and other species on a private ranch in Douglas County by removing invasive vegetation, replanting with native plants and managing livestock grazing rotations.
Heritage Seedlings, Inc.
The Jefferson Farm upland prairie restoration will benefit beaver and western meadowlark in the North Santiam area.
Institute for Applied Ecology
The western meadowlark habitat project will enhance 1,500 acres in one of the core remaining breeding areas for the western meadowlark in the Willamette Valley.
Mid-Coast Watershed Council
The Yaquina River beaver habitat rehabilitation project will restore riparian conditions on a tributary of the Yaquina River to enhance habitat for beaver by planting a diverse array of wood forage. Invasive species will also be controlled.
Nez Perce Tribe
A native shrub restoration project in the Upper Joseph Watershed will benefit beaver.
North Santiam Watershed Council
The Stout Creek salmon habitat restoration project will complete six on-the-ground in-stream projects to benefit chinook salmon and beaver. The work will include wood placement, bank shaping and vegetated soil lifts on Stout Creek, a tributary of the North Santiam River.
The Middle Fork John Day channel relocation and riparian restoration project will benefit spring chinook in the John Day River basin through reactiving flow, restoring aquatic and floodplain vegetation and improving channel-floodplain connectivity.
Chinook and other species will benefit from invasive species removal and the planting of native shrubs and trees in an important confluence area.
South Santiam Watershed Council
The Crabtree Creek salmon habitat restoration and enhancement project will complete five on-the-ground restoration projects to remove invasive vegetation, establish riparian buffers with plantings of native vegetation, habitat structures and vegetated soil lifts to benefit chinook and American beaver.
The Nature Conservancy
A grasslands and savanna restoration will benefit western meadowlark at four sites in the Willamette Valley.
Upper Sycan Watershed Council
The Withers Ranch western meadowlark habitat enhancement project will restore sage steppe habitat in the Summer Lake watershed in an area that has an existing population of meadowlarks. Treatments will include removing juniper and reseeding with native plants.
Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District (two grants)
The Omeg Orchards project in The Dalles proposes to restore two acres of native grasslands to benefit the Oregon swallowtail butterfly on agricultural land. It will build on butterfly resources offered by oak habitat.
The Ernst Ranch wildlife restoration project will increase pools in three miles of Dry Creek to benefit beavers by moderating flows. Riparian plantings will increase food sources for beaver. Relocation of a road will allow for expansion of an existing beaver pond. Planting of native vegetation on adjacent 35 upland acres will benefit western meadowlarks and swallowtails.
Funding for the grants will be administered by OWEB.
In 1969, the Legislature recognized the American beaver’s contribution to the state’s early economy by naming it the state animal. Beavers enhance habitat for many fish and wildlife species through their dam-building activities, and their ponds provide areas for people to fish, hunt and view wildlife.
The distinctive song of the western meadowlark signaled the arrival of spring to Oregon residents for many years. In 1927, the western meadowlark was selected as our state bird by Oregon’s school children and confirmed by Governor I. L. Patterson.
Declared state fish by the 1961 Legislature, the chinook salmon is the largest of the salmon species. Chinook salmon are also known as king salmon, tyee salmon, springer and blackmouth.
This butterfly was designated as Oregon's official insect on July 16, 1979 by the Legislature. It was chosen as a state symbol because it is native to the state, has “Oregon” in its common and scientific names and is considered of great aesthetic value.
For more information on these species, visit ODFW’s website.
About the Sesquicentennial
Governor Ted Kulongoski is honorary chair of Oregon 150 the non-profit agency planning the festivities for Oregon’s 2009 Oregon Sesquicentennial. A number of activities and projects are planned for the statewide celebration which kicks off in February 2009. Oregon 150 “Sustain the Spirit,” http://www.oregon150.org/index.html
About the Oregon Conservation Strategy
The Oregon Conservation Strategy offers a blueprint for the long-term conservation of the state’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. To find out more visit, ODFW’s website, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/index.asp
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
OWEB is a state agency that administers a grant program which invests in local voluntary actions to restore salmon runs, improve water quality, and strengthen ecosystems. OWEB funding comes from the Oregon Lottery as a result of a citizen initiative in 1998, sales of salmon license plates, federal salmon funds and other sources. For more information, visit the OWEB website, http://www.oregon.gov/OWEB/index.shtml