Oak Restoration

North Willamette Valley Upland Oak Restoration Partnership

The North Willamette Valley Upland Oak Restoration Partnership aims to protect, conserve, and restore endangered upland oak habitat in Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley—habitat that is vital to many plant and animal species, including the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly. Unfortunately, the majority of historic oak, prairie, and savanna habitats have been lost over the years in the Willamette Valley. But conservation partners are making great strides to improve Oregon’s landscape for healthy, sustainable oak habitat.

Through this project, a team of federal, state and local conservation agencies, and other conservation groups, will restore oak habitat in 19 key areas throughout Yamhill and Polk counties.  These areas, called Conservation Opportunity Areas, were selected by The Nature Conservancy and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as areas of “great ecological significance.”   Additionally, the focus area will also serve producers with lands identified in the conservation strategy for Fender’s blue butterfly and associated habitats in Yamhill and Polk counties.

The project will also implement long-term land conservation strategies to further protect short-term investments, such as land acquisitions and conservation easements.

Landowners with oak habitats in Polk and Yamhill counties have an opportunity to participate in voluntary conservation that will improve existing oak habitat, using the NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). NRCS provides financial and technical assistance to landowners to implement practices on their land and ensure the long-term health of oak habitat. By implementing various conservation measures and controlling invasive species, landowners can transition marginal sites into more valuable habitat and create properties that can be considered for long-term protection by a variety of funders.

RCPP plans will include activities such as:

  • Invasive weed removal/understory clearing
  • Removal of competitive tree species such as Douglas fir
  • Thinning of small oaks to release larger open grown oaks
  • Slash treatment
  • Planting of native shrubs, grasses and forbs
  • Fencing for livestock management

Applications are accepted all year with cutoff dates for ranking occurring early in 2016 (TBA). Funds will be contracted by the end of June 2016. See NRCS’s Website for eligibility guidelines.

A site visit should be scheduled prior to submission of an application. Contact Amie Loop-Frison to start the conversation on how your property might fit into the program and to schedule a site visit.

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