November 18, 2022

Merkley, Wyden Announce Nearly $700,000 Coming to Oregon for Sagebrush Conservation

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be awarding Oregon a total of $695,097 for sagebrush conservation efforts across the state. This funding will help support collaborative efforts by ranchers, growers, and agencies to improve habitat.

“Restoring and conserving Oregon’s sagebrush ecosystems can help to address the damage and dangers invasive species bring to important rangelands and habitat to promote a healthy environment and a strong economy,” said Senator Merkley, who used his position as Chairman of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to secure this funding in the infrastructure law. “This crucial funding will support collaborative conservation efforts and help ensure our rural economies are strong long into the future.”

“Sagebrush conservation in Oregon plays a crucial role in fighting destruction by invasive species, and success in that battle pays solid dividends for the rural economy and the environment,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified our state has secured these federal resources through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law I worked to pass, and will continue working to provide similar investments that build a stronger rural Oregon.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded $10 million to 42 grants nationwide in FY23 to support projects that will focus on protecting and improving sagebrush ecosystem health by addressing invasive species, wildfire, and improving economic sustainability and ecological function. The funding is provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to expand work with partners to conserve the sagebrush ecosystem. The awards to Oregon will support one new project, and four ongoing projects.

Project amounts and information can be found below:

  • Oregon All Counties Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs) Initiative to Protect and Enhance Sagebrush Ecosystems on Private Lands: $250,000 to support private landowners who engage in voluntary sagebrush conservation actions throughout Southeastern Oregon.
  • Completing Removal of Encroaching Juniper from the Lower Guano Creek Area on Hart Mountain NWR: $148,858 to support the final phase of juniper control on priority habitats on Hart Mountain NWR.
  • Southeastern Oregon Collaboration to Address Primary Threats to Sagebrush Landscapes: $119,200 to support habitat restoration (juniper and invasive annual grass control) via the Baker and Vale Local Implementation Teams (LITs) across multiple land ownerships.
  • Oregon Department of State Lands Barbwire Juniper Removal Project: $120,039 to support habitat restoration (juniper removal) on FWS CCAA-enrolled state lands.
  • Survey of Bombus (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and DNA barcoding of sagebrush biome wild bees in Southeast Oregon: $57,000 to support generating species and community data for bumble bees throughout the high desert in Southeast Oregon and will enhance available reference material for the Oregon Bee Project partners and generate species occurrence data for these specialized pollinators.