Trip A – Rivers to Ridges Oaks
Join members of the Rivers to Ridges Partnership’s ‘Oak Folk’ subgroup to visit three oak savanna and woodland restoration sites in the Eugene area – Wild Iris Ridge (City of Eugene); Willow Creek Preserve (The Nature Conservancy); and Howard Buford Recreation Area (Lane County Parks and The Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah). Visit one of the Willamette Valley’s largest blocks of prairie savanna, and oak woodlands under conservation management and learn about the benefit of regional partnerships in successfully working towards habitat connectivity and conservation at the landscape scale. The tour will highlight oak habitat restoration goals and project planning, forestry operations, economic realities of restoration thinnings and discuss topics central to long term management of oak habitats including planning for and reintroducing fire, invasive species management, oak understory restoration, and public engagement. Limit 25 people.
Trip B – Creswell Oaks
Join the American Bird Conservancy, Center for Natural Lands Management, Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council, and the landowners of Creswell Oaks to explore a privately owned ranch that is proposed to be protected by a conservation easement. This 1,700 acre property south of Eugene includes ridges of oak, sustainably managed timber stands, and grassland grazed by cattle. It is also home to the Willamette Valley’s largest population of the Oregon vesper sparrow, a species recently petitioned for federal listing. The field trip will focus on the way that working lands benefit conservation. In the morning, the tour will focus on the sparrow and the grazed grassland habitat and the afternoon will turn our attention to the oak restoration underway. Attendees may have the opportunity to observe banding if conditions and birds cooperate! Limit 20 people.
Trip C – Oak Basin
Join the Calapooia Watershed Council, private landowners, US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program, Institute for Applied Ecology, and Bureau of Land Management to visit a tree farm carefully managed for rare habitat conservation and sustainable harvest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Oak Basin Tree Farm is active in restoration of Oregon white oak woodlands, savanna, and upland prairie, and is home to the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly and many other rare plant and vertebrate species. This partnership between a private tree farm, adjacent federal land, and both public and private partners helping with restoration is an excellent example of collaborative restoration. Some techniques being used include oak release and the creation of butterfly corridors, prescribed fire, mowing, and light grazing. Target species include Kincaid’s lupine and Fender’s blue butterfly. Limit 30 people.
Trip D – Prairie, Oak, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Join the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and the Long Tom Watershed Council to visit two sites home to beautiful remnant oak and prairie habitat near Eugene. First, visit Rattlesnake Butte to learn about the Grand Ronde Tribes’ efforts to monitor and restore prairie and oak habitats including rare species such as Lemmon’s needlegrass and western rattlesnake and to discuss Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). Second, visit the Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve to learn about a program coalescing in the southern Willamette Valley to engage youth in learning about TEK from Native educators and peer mentors, and collaborative habitat restoration in oak and prairie ecosystems from area practitioners. Limit 30 people.
Trip E – West Eugene Wetlands
Join members of the the Rivers to Ridges Partnership to visit projects in the West Eugene Wetlands, a nearly 3,000 acre complex of wetlands and associated uplands located west of downtown Eugene. These partners have projects in various states of restoration (new to over a decade old) which incorporate a wide range of techniques. The West Eugene Wetlands have been recognized in Oregon and nationally for their high-quality restorations. This trip will visit sites under management by the City of Eugene, the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and The Nature conservancy. We’ll be discussing wet prairies, vernal pools, and the associated plants and wildlife. The role of the partnership and collaboration will also be discussed. Limit 30 people.