The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended seven projects to the Bonneville Power Administration for funding in 2012 under terms of the Willamette River Basin Memorandum of Agreement regarding wildlife habitat protection and enhancement.
All projects, says the agency, meet the requirements of protecting and/or acquiring wildlife mitigation habitats in the Willamette Valley. Five of the projects are within key Conservation Opportunity Areas as identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy.
-- Metro will be awarded $100,000 to help acquire the 107-acre Birkeland property near Sherwood which contains one of the few large unique wetland habitats that remain in the area. Protection of this property will build on and fill important gaps in regional acquisitions by the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge and 15 years of acquisition work by Metro.
-- The Western Rivers Conservancy will receive $1 million as part of the acquisition cost of the 160-acre Gray farm near Stayton. Located in the Lower and North Santiam rivers Conservation Opportunity Area, it provides riparian floodplain function and flood refugia habitats for ESA-listed chinook salmon, steelhead, Oregon chub and many other aquatic and terrestrial species identified as being in need of conservation help.
-- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will receive $150,000 toward the acquisition of the 44-acre Six Corners property near Sherwood which is directly adjacent to the Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge in the Tualatin River Conservation Opportunity Area. It has high restoration potential at low cost and will benefit a variety of species.
-- The Mckenzie River Trust will receive $37,000 to purchase the 57-acre Swango property near Harrisburg. The island property has not been farmed or developed and remains in its natural state. It is located in the Willamette River Floodplain Conservation Opportunity Area and has excellent habitat for native fish species. Other species to benefit include red-legged frogs, dusky Canada geese and American bitterns.
-- The Mckenzie River Trust will receive $350,000 to help purchase the 170-acre Harper property near Junction City. The area contains an extensive network of off-channel habitat and cold water sloughs, shallow gravel bars and native riparian vegetation. It is located in the Willamette River Floodplain Conservation Opportunity Area and provides habitat for chinook salmon and Oregon chub. Other species that use the area include American bitterns, olive-sided willow flycatchers, white-breasted nuthatches, American kestrels, dusky Canada geese, hooded mergansers, red-legged frogs, western pond turtles, ospreys and bald eagles.
-- The Nature Conservancy will receive $47,000 to purchase the Rattlesnake Butte property, a 97-acre parcel near Monroe. BPA will hold a conservation easement on the property which will be transferred to the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. It is located in the West Eugene Conservation Opportunity Area and has one of the very few remnant populations of the western rattlesnake known in the Willamette Valley. The south facing rocky slopes harbor populations of virtually every reptile native to the Willamette Valley. It is widely recognized as a significant area by the state’s herpetologists.
-- The Trust for Public Lands will receive $800,000 to acquire a conservation easement on the 284-acre Koelling property near Yamhill. The property hosts one of the northernmost known populations of Fender’s blue butterflies in the valley. Large populations of Kincaid’s lupine and other nectar species are present. It is about 10 miles from the Yamhill Oaks Conservation Opportunity Area.
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.
ODFW Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/willamette_wmp/index.asp