Protected Lands

The District continues to see increased interest from landowners in conservation easements and other strategies that provide long-term preservation of natural resources, wildlife habitat and other important lands.  Protection of oak and prairie habitats, wetlands, riparian areas and agricultural and forestry lands subject to development pressure are some of the higher priorities of landowners.

McMinnville Science Enrichment Program Brings Hundreds of Students to Miller Woods Every Year

Programs like the US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program and the USDA Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program provide 10 and 15 year agreements that focus on protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat and riparian areas.  To provide longer term protection of land and natural resource values, landowners can also consider conservation easements, fee-title acquisitions, land donations, bargain sales or other strategies.  In many cases these approaches complement landowners’ estate and legacy planning goals.

The district has assisted several landowners over the past 10 years with the establishment of conservation easements.  The district currently holds 4 conservation easements that provide permanent protection of working farm and forestry lands, oak and prairie habitat, Fender’s blue butterfly populations and other natural resource values.

Chegwyn Farms Protects Prime Agricultural Land from Development

Through past donations, the district has also received ownership at Miller Woods and Chegwyn Farms, both which are now permanently protected as working farm and forest lands.  Miller Woods is managed for sustainable forestry and education, and is becoming more and more popular with the public.  The well-established network of walking trails at Miller Woods, offerings of educational programs, tours and volunteer opportunities throughout the year are widely popular with children and adults alike.  The conservation easement on Chegwyn farms ensures that farm land remains in agricultural use and is protected from future urban development.

Over the past 4 years, the district has worked with landowners and conservation partners including the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to help landowner access grant funding from the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program (WWMP).  A successful grant proposal to the WWMP provided funding for a conservation easement on the Mt. Richmond property near Yamhill in 2013.  In 2014, the WWMP selected a new grant proposal submitted by the district and TPL that will protect another 173 acres of oak and prairie habitat, woodland and riparian areas in Yamhill County.

Endangered Fender’s Blue Butterfly Habitat Protected at Mt. Richmond Property

Conservation easements and other approaches to provide long-term land protection are just one part of the district’s overall mission to assist landowners with their conservation goals.  To receive more information about conservation planning, technical assistance, programs, services, partnership opportunities and long-term land protection, please contact our office at (503) 472-6403.

Additional Resources:

Trust for Public Lands – provides information on their work and the impact that protected lands and conservation easements can have for the public good

Land Trust Alliance – provides information on conservation easements and national land protection policy