The Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and nine other partners continue to conduct habitat restoration on twenty-five priority prairie-oak sites on over 1,000 acres of public and private land in Washington and Oregon through a US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) competitive State Wildlife Grant (SWG). The project, which aims to substantially improve the status of 21 rare and/or declining Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN), also includes two species population inventories, standardized monitoring, ecoregional coordination and public outreach. This bi-state project illustrates the impact that multi-ecoregional coordination of conservation actions can have towards meeting the goals and tasks outlined in the State Wildlife Action Plans (OR, WA).
Building on the success to date, it was announced this month that the project has been selected to receive a second phase of funding to continue the project for three more years. The $499,893 grant will allow CNLM, WDFW, Institute for Applied Ecology, Greenbelt Land Trust, Metro, and Washington Department of Natural Resources to conduct follow up work at eight Phase 1 sites with directly related conservation actions and the expansion of proven conservation actions to adjacent units. In addition the further enhancing Phase I sites, six new sites will receive proven restoration actions. With the addition of three new partners – the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Columbia Land Trust, and Evergreen State College, Phase II of the project will build upon the work conducted in Phase I and reach a wider audience. In addition to on the ground restoration, the American Bird Conservancy will conduct data collection and analyses to evaluate the effects of different habitat conditions and land use factors on Oregon Vesper Sparrow populations to guide future habitat management, building on range-wide systematic surveys that were carried out in Phase I to better understand the distribution and status of populations.
The results, lessons learned, and partnerships developed in Phase I have set the stage for more efficient and effective conservation advancements in prairie-oak SGCN conservation. As the work in Phase I concludes, stay tuned for more information about the outcomes of Phase I and the work to come in Phase II.
This post originally appeared in the Center for Natural Lands Management’s South Sound Program April – June 2014 Quarterly Highlights.
Photo: An AmeriCorps NCCC crew helped plant strawberries and other nectar species at Fitton Green. Photo credit: Melanie Gisler, IAE.