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Meet the Winners of the 17th State Land Board Awards

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The Oregon Department of State Lands recognizes the Jackson-Frazier Wetland Long Term Habitat Restoration; Oregon Tide Gate Partnership, Tracie Lynn Nadeau, and Yvonne Vallette for their exceptional contributions to Oregon's natural resources.

Wetland Award: Jackson-Frazier Wetland Long Term Habitat Restoration

The Jackson-Frazier Wetland Long Term Habitat Restoration began more than 30 years ago when the Department of State Lands issued one of the state's first wetland violations for activities that damaged a wetland in Corvallis.

In the 1990s, a group of partners, including Benton County Natural Areas & Parks, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of Corvallis, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board began working to return the area back to its natural state.

Ruts, furrows, and berms that had been created by former landowners to redirect the movement of water were smoothed. Contours and depressions were added back to the land, allowing water to flow and seep. And invasive reed canary plants were removed so native plants could flourish once more.

Today, more than 10,000 visitors come to view and learn from this restored wetland. Migratory birds soar and chatter and pollinators hum among native plants, including the threatened Bradshaw's desert parsley and endangered Nelson's Checkermallow. The area's restored hydrology supports this habitat and allows the wetland to provide community benefits, such as protection from floodwaters and filtering pollutants from run-off.

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Partnership Award: Oregon Tide Gate Partnership

Along Oregon's coast, more than 1,000 tide gates protect fields, roads, and other areas from flooding while allowing salmon and other fish to migrate. However, tide gates that no longer work properly can impact wildlife and infrastructure. The Oregon Tide Gate Partnership has been collaborating since 2017 to address Oregon's aging tide gates.

The Partnership is comprised of stakeholders representing diverse interests, including coastal counties, watershed boards, conservation groups, farming and ranching associations, Tribes, and federal and state agencies. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board facilitates thoughtful collaboration.

Together, partners have identified creative solutions to repair and replace outdated tide gates. The endeavor has led to the creation of a tide gate inventory, funding and engineering resources for landowners, and planning tools for communities. Additionally, regulatory partners are working to develop a coordinated permitting process for tide gate updates. The tools will continue to roll out in the next year, helping landowners, communities, and regulatory agencies to work together to ensure properly functioning tide gates along the state's coast.

Partnership Award, Catalyst: Tracie-Lynn Nadeau and Yvonne Vallette, U.S. EPA

For decades, Tracie-Lynn Nadeau and Yvonne Vallette of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have worked with the Department of State Lands to help shape water and wetland protections throughout Oregon.

A lead environmental scientist with a passion for public service, Tracie Nadeau has collaborated with the Department of State Lands to develop data-driven tools and resources used to aid management practices and regulatory decision making. Such tools include the Streamflow Duration Assessment Method for Oregon and the Stream Function Assessment Method for Oregon. The application of these resources has been so successful, that they are being adapted for use in other states.

Yvonne Vallette is an aquatic ecologist who has helped states, Tribes, and local governments to develop efficient regulatory programs that complement the wetland and waters protections provided by the federal Clean Water Act. For years she has been an advocate of the Department of the State Lands, helping connect DSL with technical and financial support for projects that help support the state's “no net loss of wetlands" goal. As a result of Yvonne's efforts, Oregon has a robust wetland program that is a model for other states.

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