South Eugene Hills (Completed)
The South Eugene Hills project is located in an oak savanna belt around the south foothills of Eugene. The project combines ongoing regional efforts in watershed protection, wildlife habitat protection, open space preservation and recreation to conserve portions of the largest remaining undeveloped oak woodland, mixed−conifer and oak savanna habitat in the Willamette Valley. The project is a multi−year effort to conserve this critically imperiled habitat. This area includes the best quality and most diverse oak woodlands, the most northerly stands of California Black Oak, and some of the best remaining oak savannas and mixed conifer woodlands in the Willamette Valley. The area includes important habitat for many endangered species and species−of−concern, including some endemic to these forests and woodlands. The ecological values are among the highest in the Oregon.
The South Eugene Hills Phase I
(pdf) project was a fee simple 25 acre parcel that conserves a rare native plant community and will provide a key recreational and habitat connection between Eugene’s 1000 acre Ridgeline Park system and a 2800 acre public−private wetland preserve. Gilchrist Forest (FY 2013 President's Budget Request)
This keystone 26,000−acre parcel is surrounded by three National Forests, a new
state forest, and BLM lands. This project
(pdf) will sustain hundreds of vital jobs and generate economic development funds in Klamath County, protect a large aquifer recharge area for the Wild and Scenic Deschutes River, and restore a landscape−scale mature Ponderosa pine forest, one of the highest priority habitats in Oregon’s Conservation Strategy. The parcel will be added to the newly created Gilchrist State Forest and will be managed for sustainable forestry and public recreation while generating significant revenue for Klamath County. Because of the prime location (close to Bend and abundant outdoor recreation) and current zoning (including a destination resort overlay), this parcel is threatened with parcelization and conversion. Because conversion would result in job loss and increased fire risk and suppression cost, the Oregon Department of Forestry asked The Conservation Fund to secure the property as a pass−through acquisition. This is the highest priority acquisition for Governor Kitzhaber because it represents a unique and affordable investment in Oregon’s future.
Blue Mountain Heritage Project (FY 2013 President's Budget Request)
northeast Oregon consisting of 1,438 acres of mixed−pine timberlands, wetlands, sage−steppe communities and rare beaver pond complexes. The BMHP is adjacent to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Elkhorn Wildlife Management Area, which is contiguous to the Wallowa−Whitman National Forest (see map). The project creates a seamlessly integrated landscape contributing ecologically by the preservation of diverse ecosystems; economically through forest products and ranching; and socially via recreation, tours, significant Native American archeological sites, and historic Oregon Trail homesteads. Educational forums
hosted by the landowners have led to positive changes at the local, state, and federal levels to land and natural resource policies. Additionally, BMHP's successful sustainability model is being monitored to study its feasibility on other landscapes in the Intermountain West. Now, the sale of a portion of the family's property is imminent as economics force fragmentation of the BMHP. A Forest Legacy conservation easement will keep the property intact and ensure the project's presence as a model of balanced, full−circle sustainability.
West Klamath Lake Forest (FY 2013 Proposed)
The West Klamath Lake Forest project
, on the Pacific flyway for migratory birds, is
along the west side of Upper Klamath Lake, the largest lake in Oregon, and in the Klamath Basin which has received national attention for severe water shortages impacting the farm economy and endangered fish. The project consists of three tracts threatened by resort overlay zoning. The Ball Mountain parcel is a lake fringe mixed conifer forest with 4 miles of proposed critical habitat for ESA federally listed shortnose and Lost River suckers. The Denny Creek parcel, habitat for endangered suckers and trophy redband trout, contains a mixed conifer forest and historical landmarks. The Caledonia Woodlands, which shares fence lines with the Running Y resort, is one of the last Oregon white oak−conifer woodlands east of the Cascade Mountains and supports over 80 bird species, most of which are at risk due to loss of available habitat. Two ranching families joined in this project to address environmental and economic issues in the Klamath Basin. The project will protect and restore 1,887 acres of working forests, stream, and lake habitats by improving forest health, bird and fish habitats, and Klamath Lake water resources.