One of the largest blocks of oak and prairie habitat in the Willamette Valley has a new owner – the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
The Nature Conservancy transferred its Noble Oaks Preserve to the Grande Ronde Tribe at the end of July. The 665-acre preserve, located on the western edge of the valley near Willamina, is about 10 miles from tribal headquarters in Grand Ronde. Habitats include upland and wet prairie and extensive oak savanna and woodlands.
The Nature Conservancy acquired the Noble Oaks properties in 2014-15, with much of the funding provided by the Bonneville Power Administration’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, which is administered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Grand Ronde Tribe has been actively pursuing acquisition of oak and prairie habitats in recent years and is a key partner in the Willamette Valley Oak and Prairie Cooperative. The group has identified Noble Oaks as an anchor site for the network of conservation lands envisioned in its draft 30-year conservation strategy. The tribe’s Natural Resources Department, which already oversees several other oak and prairie sites, will manage the property.