Oak and prairie projects recently awarded more than $900,000
The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) recently approved more than $900,000 in funding for five oak and prairie conservation projects in the Willamette Valley. OWEB is Oregon’s primary source of state funding for habitat conservation. The oak and prairie project grants, part of more than $10. 8 million awarded statewide at the board’s June meeting, will leverage more than $1.8 million in funding from other partners.
All five of the funded projects address priorities identified by the Willamette Valley Oak and Prairie Cooperative, one of five oak and prairie conservation partnerships across Oregon that Pacific Birds has been working with in recent years. Three of the projects will restore almost 500 acres of oak and prairie habitat.
Salyers Family Ranch oak woodland restoration, Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council
The watershed council will use grant funds to do restoration work on 102 acres of oak woodland near Creswell. The project is part of a long-term effort to improve habitats on than 1,600 acres covered by a conservation easement completed last year by the Center for Natural Lands Management. The working cattle ranch is an anchor habitat for Oregon Vesper Sparrow, a species proposed for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act, and other oak and prairie-dependent wildlife.
Willamette Basin Oak Habitat Restoration Project, Lomakatsi Restoration Project
This project will restore 372 acres of oak habitat on two protected sites, the Grand Ronde Tribe’s 665-acre Noble Oaks property near Willamina, and Coburg Ridge, where The Nature Conservancy holds a conservation easement on more than 1,240 acres near Eugene. Most of the work will involve removal of encroaching conifers and treatment of invasive species.
J2E River to Ridge Diversity Project, Benton Soil and Water Conservation District
Planned work in this project includes conifer removal and understory planting. This will help restore a 16-acre oak corridor to improve habitat connectivity for an adjacent population of Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly as part of a larger project in the Vincent Creek watershed northwest of Corvallis.
Building prescribed fire capacity in the southern Willamette Valley, Long Tom Watershed Council
This project is envisioned as the first step toward building long-term capacity for use of prescribed fire in managing oak and prairie habitats. The grant will fund work with stakeholders to assess existing capacity, needs and potential to incorporate tribal cultural knowledge; identify the scope of work for a future fire coordinator position; and develop agreements defining how partners will share resources for prescribed fire.
Kincaid’s lupine effectiveness monitoring, Institute for Applied Ecology
The grant will fund monitoring effectiveness of treatments at 12 sites in the Willamette Valley where the institute and partners are working to restore upland prairie habitat for Kincaid’s lupine and Fender’s blue butterfly. The lupine, listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, is the host species for the butterfly, which is classified as endangered.