Oregon Wildlife Action Plan

By the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Oregon’s Conservation Strategy provides a non-regulatory, statewide approach to species and habitat conservation. It synthesizes existing plans, scientific data and local knowledge into a broad long-term vision and conceptual framework for long-term conservation of Oregon’s native fish, wildlife and habitats.

The Strategy is intended to leverage limited conservation resources – such as money, equipment and time – in a more efficient and effective manner. Moreover, it aims to encourage voluntary conservation efforts, recognize the contributions that landowners and land managers are already making towards conserving Oregon’s natural heritage, and demonstrate to landowners and local conservation groups how local conservation actions fit into a broader regional or statewide perspective.

The Oregon Conservation Strategy contains information on species and habitats most in need of conservation action, the issues and problems affecting them, and key conservation actions, research and monitoring needed to address those issues. It also presents ideas for expanding and improving voluntary conservation tools, briefly discusses education, tourism and other ways to engage citizens in conservation, and describes many successful cooperative conservation projects. These “success stories” highlight projects that benefit priority species, habitats and issues discussed in the Strategy and demonstrate how people have come together to conserve fish and wildlife.

Primary Challenges to Conserving Wildlife in Oregon

The statewide issues that impact the most species and habitats, as well as people, are conversion of land uses, invasive species, disruption of historic fire and flooding disturbance regimes, barriers to fish and wildlife movement, water quality and quantity, and institutional barriers to voluntary conservation.

The expanding footprint of human development and 150 years of landscape alteration have left much of Oregon’s fish and wildlife at varying degrees of risk. For example, the melodious song of Oregon’s state bird, the western meadowlark, is rarely heard in the Willamette Valley anymore. A grassland bird still common in eastern Oregon, the meadowlark is not going to be a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act any time soon. The state bird, however, is in trouble across a significant portion of its historic range in Oregon and needs some conservation attention. For the western meadowlark and dozens of other similarly vulnerable species including fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, invertebrates and plants, the Conservation Strategy offers hope for a more secure future.

There are significant existing challenges to maintaining Oregon’s fish and wildlife habitats and emerging issues require new adaptations. The Strategy builds upon collaborative partnerships, many of which exist in the state today as evidenced by the cooperative work to increase populations of sage grouse and salmon. Through the work of these partnerships not only will sage-grouse benefit, but so will many other sagebrush-associated species: sagebrush lizard, sage sparrow, sage thrasher, Brewer’s sparrow, pygmy rabbit and many plants and invertebrates. Salmon, pivotal to Oregon’s economy and identity, have also rallied people. Salmon populations are being restored through the innovative Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds. Together, Oregonians have restored riparian vegetation, improved salmon habitat, addressed water quality issues and removed stream barriers.

Working Together for Oregon’s Wildlife

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) involved as many people and entities as possible during development of the Strategy. While developing the draft, ODFW specialists talked to hundreds of citizens, biologists, agency personnel and elected officials to gather information and perspectives. The Strategy’s development was guided by a broad-based, geographically-balanced Stakeholder Advisory Committee representing the state’s agriculture, forestry and rangeland management interests, as well as conservation, fishing and hunting, tourism, local governments, landowners, and groups and organizations that work with landowners on conservation and restoration efforts.

The draft Strategy was distributed widely for public review and comment, as well as posted on ODFW’s website, with a link for providing comments online. Comments and edits were incorporated into the draft document sent to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. The Commission then endorsed the Strategy.

 

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies represents all of North America’s fish and wildlife agencies, promotes sound management and conservation, and speaks with a unified voice on important fish and wildlife issues.

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