The 2018 Cascadia Prairie-Oak Partnership Conference was held in Eugene, OR in April. There were over 65 presentations and 26 posters that covered a wide variety of topics and themes. It may be hard to imagine how there could be so many different things to discuss when it comes to prairie-oak conservation in the Cascadia region, but a quick look at some of the more unique presentations will give you an idea of the multitudes of topics that are involved in restoring a diverse habitat type across a wide range of geographies, engaging with many different communities, challenges, and opportunities.
Did you miss the 2018 CPOP Conference? Or maybe you were there, but wow – a lot has happened since April! The good news is, we’ve now posted PDFs of oral and poster presentations online, so you can view or revisit any presentation that catches your eye! Click here to view the full document.
1. Elk Rock Cliff: A Novel Method for Conducting Vegetation Surveys on a Vertical Cliff Face. Laura Guderyahn, Portland Parks and Recreation, and Mary Bushman, Portland Bureau of Environmental Services. This presentation, part of the “Decision Tools” session, outlined the intricate photography-based approach this team had to take to survey the vegetation of a 3.3 acre, 300 foot talk basalt cliff that is dominated by native Oregon white oak and madrone woodland. Analyzing over 100 individual high-resolution photographs and comparing them to real time examination of the cliff face allowed ecologists to identify dozens of species of invasive and native plants, with GIS technology used to determine canopy cover for each species. The results of this effort will allow the city to prioritize, identify funding for, and implement restoration (another challenging task) to preserve and protect the rare species that still exist on Elk Rock Cliff. View the powerpoint presentation here.
2. Ant Attendance and Conservation of Prairie Butterflies. Cameron Thomas and Cheryl Schultz, Washington State University, Vancouver. This presentation, part of the “Invertebrates” session, discussed the status of at-risk prairie butterflies with ant-butterfly mutualisms in the western US. Ant attendance is an interaction in which ants protect larvae from predators and parasitoids in exchange for nutrient rich excretions. The finding of the research indicated that survival of larval Fender’s blue butterfly, a federally endangered species, is three times higher when frequently tended by ants. This activity by ants is associated with certain habitat structures, providing critical information for restoration efforts. View the powerpoint presentation here.
3. From Lawn to Lilies: A Blank Slate Eco-Cultural Restoration Project in Coastal B.C. Aimee Pelletier, Parks Canada. This presentation, part of the “Stories from the Grove: Prairies and Oaks in the Peopled Landscape” special session, highlighted a community education and outreach success story. The Garry Oak Learning Meadow is a project initiated in 2010 as a way of engaging the public in restoring a site from a patch of degraded lawn to a diverse wildflower meadow that attracts and supports local biodiversity. First Nations, volunteers, students, and community partners were integrated into the Parks Canada led project every step of the way. Now in its 6th spring, the resulting wildflower show is a peak visitor attraction and has become an education hub for the public, an outdoor classroom for students, and a living laboratory for citizen science research. View the powerpoint presentation here.
4. Oakbirdpop: An Online Interactive Decision Support Tool for Assessing Bird Population Changes from Management and Restoration of Oak Habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Caitlyn Gillespie, Klamath Bird Observatory. This presentation, part of the “Birds” session, introduced a new online Decision Support Tool. OakBirdPop uses region-specific bird density data for current and future-projected oak habitat types and conditions to display the population response of different bird species and compare it to regional bird population objectives. OakBirdPop builds on the successful framework of The Land Manager’s Guide to Bird Habitat and Populations in Oak Ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest, which provides an introduction to how bird species-habitat relationships can guide restoration planning and monitoring in oak habitats. View the powerpoint presentation here.
5. Restoring Native Diversity to Working Lands: Opportunities to Expand the Conservation Portfolio. Sarah Hamman, Center for Natural Lands Management. This presentation, part of the “Grazing for Conservation: How, When, Where, and Why?” Special Session, explored the capacity of working landscapes to provide rare species habitat, while maintaining productive fields for cattle. Research carried out at a western Washington ranch investigated the effects of grazing on native plant establishment and impact of native seeding on forage grass production. The study found that grazing had no significant impact on seeded species richness, and that seeding treatment approach did make a significant difference. The results suggest that high-intensity rotational grazing with a spring rest period can maintain forage grasses and support a select mix of native prairie species. View the powerpoint presentation here.
PDFs of all available oral and poster presentations can be found here: https://cascadiaprairieoak.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/CPOP-2018-Conference-Abstracts_with-links.pdf