September 16, 2016

Wyden, Merkley: Federal Grants Earned by Trio of Conservation Projects A Big Win for Oregon

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said Friday the award of more than $2 million in federal grants to three conservation projects in southern and central Oregon will allow them to continue building on their fresh approaches to conserving threatened and endangered species. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Section 6 grants are competitive grants that enable states to work innovatively with private landowners, conservation groups and other government entities to conserve and recover imperiled species. All told, $44.8 million in grants were awarded to 20 states.

”This terrific trio of projects in southern and central Oregon fully deserves these resources that recognize outstanding collaborative work to preserve and protect vital habitat,” Wyden said. “I applaud each project for successfully tapping into our state’s innovative mindset to find solutions that benefit the environment held dear by Oregonians.”

“Collaboration that benefits both our economy and our environment is the Oregon way,” said Merkley. “I’m pleased to see that tradition continue with these grants, from creating new conservation areas in Southern Oregon to helping our irrigation districts in Central Oregon address endangered species challenges while helping our farming and ranching economy continue to thrive.”

 Oregon is receiving $2.2 million for the following three projects:    

  • The Mountcrest Working Forest Conservation Easement ($1 million) to acquire permanent conservation easement on more than 2000 acres of privately-owned mature forestland straddling the Siskiyou Crest that divides the Rogue River and Klamath River watersheds, strategically linking habitats for the northern spotted owl.  The property is also used by Pacific fisher and other species of the Pacific Northwest forests.
  • The Rogue River Recovery Project ($500,000) will help the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy to acquire a 352-acre property, including two miles of Rogue River frontage in Jackson County. More than 100 species of birds and 300 plant species are found on the property.
  • The Deschutes Basin Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan ($700,000) is being prepared by eight irrigation districts and the City of Prineville to maintain and improve habitat for the federally-listed Oregon spotted frog, bull trout, Middle Columbia River steelhead, sockeye salmon, and Chinook salmon in the Upper Deschutes Basin, while meeting current and future irrigation and municipal water needs in a balanced, economically viable, and sustainable manner.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been a terrific partner in our HCP planning effort, said Mike Britton, President of the Deschutes Basin Board of Control representing the eight irrigation districts. “This grant will help us complete our HCP and improve habitat for steelhead and other species in Oregon’s Deschutes Basin. We appreciate the continued support and leadership from Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley.”