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Conservation News

On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

JANUARY 2007

January invites us to look at the year ahead through the lens of what we want to accomplish in the next 12 months. It has been almost a full year since Oregon’s Strategy was approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and, while we are making progress on the ground, the new year brings a focus on funding and implementing the Strategy. We look forward to working with you on this important work.


CONTENTS

ODFW Creates New Position to Focus on Strategy Implementation
Tracks in the Snow
Check-off for Oregon’s Wildlife
ODFW Helps Fund Oak Savanna Restoration
Wildlife Crossing
Larks on the Edge


ODFW CREATES NEW POSITION TO FOCUS ON STRATEGIC IMPLEMENTATION


Underscoring the importance of the Conservation Strategy, ODFW Director Virgil Moore has appointed Holly Michael to the role of Conservation Strategy Leader. In this position, Holly will work with ODFW staff, other state agencies, conservation organizations, and hunting and fishing groups to build partnerships that will move towards full Strategy implementation. This includes building support for new, dedicated and continuing funding to fully implement the Strategy.

According to Virgil, “The Conservation Strategy is extremely important to ODFW’s mission. By focusing on habitat restoration and maintenance, it addresses the needs of game and nongame species alike and will benefit hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers and everyone who cares about fish and wildlife.”

An ODFW management team including Chris Wheaton, northwest regional manager, Ron Anglin, wildlife division administrator, Roger Fuhrman, information and education division administrator, Charlie Corrarino, fish conservation and recovery program manager, Ed Bowles, fish division director, and Maggie Sommers, marine resources program assistant manager, will work with Holly to guide agency implementation of the Strategy.

Holly joined ODFW in 1994 and has held several positions including habitat biologist, wildlife diversity biologist and conservation strategy coordinator. She has worked in natural resource conservation for over 30 years. Contact Holly at 503-957-6072 or holly.b.michael@dfw.state.or.us

Peg Boulay steps into Holly’s former position as Interim Oregon Conservation Strategy Coordinator to work on current implementation efforts by ODFW and partners. Contact Peg at 503-947-6316 or peg.c.boulay@state.or.us

TRACKS IN THE SNOW

When ODFW biologist Terry Farrell watches the weather this time of year, he’s looking for a storm brewing in the higher elevations. Two or three days after a snowfall, he packs the snowmobile with snowshoes and survival gear and heads out on one of nine 25-mile routes in the southwestern Oregon Cascades that biologists have been surveying since 1989.

Terry, based in Roseburg, and his colleagues are tracking mammals, documenting population trends in species over time. “Three or four inches of fresh snow on top of a hard-packed base are ideal for reading tracks in the powder,” he says. Commons species—deer, elk, bobcats, cougars, voles, rabbits, foxes, squirrels and the occasional bear—are documented within a grid. Uncommon carnivores—marten, fisher, long-tailed weasels, wolverines—are cited with a GPS reading.

Winter after winter in the still, snowy landscape, Terry studies the ebb and flow of wildlife, compiling data that is used in species management plans and often translates into action. The U.S. Forest Service consulted with Terry when setting aside American marten reserves in the Umpqua National Forest. “Based on historical data, we were able to pinpoint what areas would offer the best success for conserving the species.”

The rarest species Terry identified last winter was the Pacific Fisher, a Strategy species. He’s still hoping to document fisher or wolverine tracks on one of the white days left this winter. E-mail Terry at terry.p.farrell@dfw.state.or.us


CHECK-OFF FOR OREGON'S WILDLIFE

You can pledge your support for the amazing diversity of Oregon’s wildlife with a checkmark on your 2006 state tax return. Money received from the Nongame Wildlife Fund helps support the needs of the state’s 600 or more nongame species—native freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals—that are not hunted, fished, or trapped.

You can contribute by checking the box on line 56 of the 2006 Oregon Individual Income Tax form 40 (line 26 on form 40S). Your contribution has the potential to be matched three to one by federal grants and funds, so your dollars readily increase.

If you are not getting a tax refund, or want to make a business or corporate contribution, you can send a check to: Nongame Wildlife Fund, ODFW, 3406 Cherry Avenue N.E., Salem, OR 97303-4924.


ODFW HELPS FUND OAK SAVANNA RESTORATION

Less than one percent of Oregon’s native oak-dominated habitats are protected in parks or reserves so their survival depends on individual landowners. ODFW recently committed funding through the Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) to Forest Restoration Partnership for the enhancement and restoration of 109 acres of remnant Oregon white oak and Willamette Valley ponderosa pine habitat.

The area, 15 miles southeast of Eugene, was purchased by the Carnine family to protect and restore habitats for Strategy species. The land is unique in that it contains patches of native plant communities dominated by California and Roemer's fescue, both increasingly rare grasses.

View a photo of California fescue

View a photo of Roemer’s fescue

The LIP-funded project will expand the oak savanna by thinning dense stands of oak; restore woodland and savanna as well as understory structure and composition; release remnant valley pine; and reduce and control noxious weeds.


WILDLIFE CROSSING

ODFW staff and partners continue with plans for identifying wildlife corridors in Oregon with the goal of protecting wildlife as they move between habitats in search of food, mates and shelter.

At the April meeting of The Wildlife Society in Pendleton, ODFW will host a two-hour technical session to provide an opportunity for expert review of ODFW's approach to conducting future workshops and discussion of how results will be applied to answer important questions for transportation and land use planning. Later this year, four full-day workshops for wildlife experts, land managers, land trust organizations and county planners will be held, one in each region of the state. Watch this newsletter for dates and locations.

If you are planning to attend the TWS meeting and would like more information on the work session, please contact Audrey Hatch prior to March 31.

Contact Audrey at Audrey.C.Hatch@state.or.us or 541-757-4263 x 242.


LARKS ON THE EDGE

The streaked horned lark, a slender, long-winged bird with distinctive feathered "horns", was once abundant in the meadows and grasslands of Oregon. Now confined mostly to the Willamette Valley, populations are at-risk of further decline and are considered a "candidate species" by the USFWS. Currently, Dr. Randy Moore of Oregon State University is doing surveys of the bird in the Rogue River Valley, completing a winter survey effort begun in the winter of 2004.The project's goals are to define winter range, estimate population and determine habitat requirements. The research team is also collecting samples to determine what adult larks eat in winter habitat. The answer to that question will provide information critical to future habitat restoration efforts. Cooperative conservation efforts aimed at such restoration projects could reverse the situation for Oregon's streaked horned larks.

Information from the OSU research on population size and distribution, as well as general habitat associations, will help researchers develop management recommendations and cooperative efforts with landowners. Funding and assistance is being provided by USFWS, ODFW and others. More information on the species


Send us Your News
Peg Boulay, ODFW Conservation Strategy Coordinator
Meg Kenagy, Editor and ODFW Strategy Media Coordinator


Contact Information
Meg Kenagy
503-947-6021
meg.b.kenagy@state.or.us
Oregon Conservation Strategy
http://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/

 

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