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Native fish, wildlife and their habitat
On the Ground: The Oregon Conservation Strategy at Work

April 2016


Monarch butterflies need your help
Plan now for pollinators
Streaked Horn Lark: Survey protocols and monitoring strategy
White-Nose Syndrome reporting site
Aspen restoration funding available
Check it out!
2015 Oregon Conservation Strategy update
Let’s get social!

Monarch caterpillars
Monarch caterpillars rely on milkweed for food. Photo courtesy Shawn Woods

Click on images to enlarge


Monarch butterflies are in serious need of help.

The Xerces Society and the USFWS need volunteers to submit data on milkweeds and monarch butterflies. Monarchs breed across the continental U.S. and parts of southern Canada yet very little is known about where and when they breed west of the Rockies.

Sarina Jepsen, Director of Endangered Species and Aquatic Programs at Xerces said monarch populations at western overwintering sites have been tracked since 1997 through an annual Thanksgiving Count, but more data is needed.

“In just 19 years, California’s overwintering monarchs have declined by an estimated 74 percent,” Jepsen said. “The fact that such a common and widespread insect has undergone such a dramatic decline is alarming.”

Monarch butterflies
Monarch butterflies. Photo courtesy USFWS.

Data collected will help agencies and organizations engaged in monarch conservation understand where and when monarchs breed and where milkweed plantings would be most effective. Data collected will contribute to a habitat suitability model for western monarchs that the USFWS’s Pacific Region and The Xerces Society are building.

While the precise cause of the western monarch’s population decline isn’t fully understood, Jepsen said key threats are loss of milkweed and wildflower habitat, drought, pesticides, diseases and natural enemies. Milkweeds, which monarch caterpillars rely on for food have declined from the eastern U.S., and may also have declined from key breeding areas in the West, threatening the future existence of one of our nation’s most recognized and beloved butterflies.



Buzzing bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects are coming soon to visit you. Now’s the time to plan your garden and landscape to help these pollinators.

Free webinars teach everything from creating habitat for pollinators and beneficial insects to farming for bees. Information helps everyone from backyard enthusiasts to farmers, foresters, biologists and conservationists.

Western bumble bee
(note this photo is copyrighted) The Western bumble bee is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species. Photo courtesy Rich Hatfield, The Xerces Society.

Pollinator conservation specialists with The Xerces Society worked with the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), developing free webinars on pollinator and beneficial insect conservation. Just search using “pollinators,” “beneficial insects,” or “Xerces.”

The Xerces website offers many resources. Check out specific pollinator pages for Pacific Northwest Region and Maritime Northwest. The NRCS has an online technical note with in-depth information about establishing, maintaining, and enhancing habitat and food resources for native pollinators.

The Xerces Society also has the books, Gardening for Butterflies and Attracting Native Pollinators available for purchase.



Although Streaked Horned Larks (larks) are listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act, no consistent survey protocols were established with the approval of the USFWS until now.

A survey protocol and monitoring report was developed by the Streaked Horn Lark Working Group of representatives from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the Center for Natural Lands Management, ODFW and Oregon State University.

The group met regularly over the years, identifying data gaps and priority action items for the lark’s recovery. Developing this report was a priority for the group, especially once the bird was federally listed in 2013.

Streaked Horn Lark
Streaked Horn Lark chick.
Photo courtesy Shawn Woods

Scott Pearson, WDFW Senior Research Scientist and lead author said the effort by these organizations working together created protocols that can be used in both species monitoring and regulatory efforts.

“With established protocols, we can survey larks with greater assurance to get a better handle on their population distribution, abundance, and trends,” said Ann Kreager, co-author of the document and biologist with ODFW’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program.

Finding these birds is influenced by many factors such as survey timing, skill level of the surveyor, methods used, or environmental conditions such as weather or noise.

“We also know the probability of detecting larks increases with the number of visits to a site,” Kreager said. “Data shows we find larks 84 percent of the time with three site visits, 91 percent with four visits and 95 percent with five visits.”

The USFWS requires reliable surveys be conducted where an action may affect a listed species. The USFWS approved the document in March. It is posted on the Cascadia Prairie-Oak Partnership website.

The Streaked Horned Lark is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species, and WDFW lists it as endangered.



Swabbing bats
Checking bats for White-Nose Syndrome. Photos and video captured March 1, 2016, by Larisa Bogardus, BLM. Video produced by Larry Moore, BLM. Music by
View on YouTube.

With the recent confirmation of White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) in a little brown bat in Washington State, ODFW activated an online bat reporting website. Anyone finding a dead bat or observes bats flying during the day or during freezing weather should report this via the online site or call the ODFW Wildlife Health Hotline at 866-968-2600.

“WNS could potentially transmit to our Oregon Conservation Strategy Species, and it could decimate populations of common bat species, putting them in conservation concern,” said Andrea Hanson, ODFW’s Conservation Strategy Coordinator.

WNS is a fungal disease occurring in hibernating bats and has killed more than six million bats since 2006 when it was discovered in New York. This disease quickly spread to 28 states and five Canadian provinces. Eastern Minnesota and eastern Nebraska were the farthest west that WNS was detected before it made an apparent 1,300 mile geographic leap to Washington.

The USFWS leads a national WNS response effort, working with state and federal partners to survey for the disease. Cave surveys by ODFW and federal partners over the last two years show no evidence presently of WNS in Oregon’s bat population. ODFW will continue intensive surveillance, education and outreach to help protect this important group of animals in Oregon.

Visit to follow the latest news, research, and resources.



Aspen Flyer

Farmers, ranchers and non-industrial private forest landowners in Eastern Oregon have until May 20 to apply for aspen restoration funding through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Funding is available for projects in Baker, Crook, Grant, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wheeler counties and priority is given to lands within designated Mule Deer Initiative areas.

Aspen woodlands provide vital resources for wildlife including forage, nesting habitat, and hiding cover. Elk, mule deer, breeding and migratory birds, bats and other wildlife rely on aspen stands which also provide grazing opportunities for livestock.

Aspen woodlands are an Oregon Conservation Strategy Habitat.

In the Northern Basin and Range Ecoregion, approximately 79 percent of aspen woodlands have been lost since the 1800s, and they continue to decline. Many existing trees are reaching the end of their natural lifecycle, and without young aspen trees to replace them, the aspen stands will be lost completely.

Check the NRCS website for more information and to check basic funding eligibility criteria.




  • Sandy River Delta Eco-Blitz – Volunteers needed to id plants, amphibians and insects. April 23, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Bald Hill Farm – Volunteers view parts of this unique Corvallis conservation area not often seen by trail visitors. Help is needed to remove barbed wire fence. April 23, 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Native Plant Sale, Portland – Oregon wildflowers, shrubs and trees available for purchase from Audubon Society of Portland. April 23-24, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.




  • Big Day Fundraiser – Umpqua Valley Audubon Society’s first Big Day Fundraiser. Teams will count geese, herons and black swifts. May 6-7.
  • Mountain Bird Festival – Held in Ashland, the festival offers guided bird walks, workshops, fine art galleries, local wine and craft beer. May 20-22.


Streaked Horn Lark
Pika with huckleberry branches.
Photo courtesy Kieth Kohl

2015 Oregon Conservation Strategy Update

Oregon is once again at the forefront of conservation – the Oregon Conservation Strategy is one of the first State Wildlife Action Plans in the nation to be completely web-enabled and interactive. Once the USFWS formally approves the revision, ODFW will roll out the new website.

The USFWS began reviewing the 10-year revision of the Strategy, including the Oregon Nearshore Strategy component in March 2016. At press time, we do not have an estimated approval date.

Until the revision is approved, the 2006 version continues to be the official Strategy. Stay tuned.



We recently changed the name of our Facebook Oregon Wildlife Viewing page to ODFW Conservation. We will add in more conservation news, and highlight current conservation projects, efforts and concerns while continuing to promote wildlife viewing and profile Oregon’s amazing wildlife.

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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.



Newsletter archives from 2006

Meghan Dugan
Oregon Conservation Strategy Communications Coordinator

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