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Focused Investment Partnerships (FIPs)

Overview

A Focused Investment Partnership is an OWEB investment that:

  • Addresses a board-identified Focused Investment Priority of significance to the state;
  • Achieves clear and measurable ecological outcomes;
  • Uses integrated, results-oriented approaches as identified through a strategic action plan;
  • Is implemented by a high-performing partnership.

Implementation funding supports partnerships with up to $12 million over 3 biennia (6 years). Initiatives must demonstrate clear and measurable restoration outputs and ecological outcomes that support limiting factors outlined in a federal recovery and/or state conservation plan(s).

2021-23 Solicitation

The 2021-23 solicitation deadline has been postponed until further notice. Please see the June 2020 board meeting FIP solicitation staff report for additional information. Updates regarding the 2021-2023 solicitation will be posted as soon as details become available.

Strategic Action Plan

Partnerships applying for FIP Implementation funding must have a strategic action plan (SAP) that addresses all components detailed in OWEB's Strategic Action Plan Guidance. A SAP defines the geographic extent, timeframe, and range of strategies and actions that will lead to the long-term goals of a partnership. The scope of an Implementation conservation initiative is determined by the partnership and constitutes the portion of the SAP that the partnership believes it can accomplish in the proposed timeframe with the proposed funding.

Adaptive Management

Restoration practitioners operate with imperfect knowledge about the ecosystems they hope to improve and the effectiveness of strategies they design to reach desired ecological outcomes. The formal practice of adaptive management offers a way to address these uncertainties through an iterative process of learning, which cycles through the steps of planning, implementation, evaluation, and adjustment. Adaptively Managing Restoration Initiatives, a guide prepared for OWEB, is intended to help restoration partnerships design, build, and maintain an adaptive management approach that overcomes common challenges and meets their specific needs, ambitions, and capacity.

Ecological Priorities

The OWEB Board approves ecological priorities of significance to the State to be addressed by FIP Initiatives. Ecological priorities are determined with public input and scientific rigor. In 2019, FIP priorities were updated. The 7 board-adopted priorities are listed below. For more information, review the 2019 FIP Priority Setting staff report.

Inland aquatic habitat supports an incredible number of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife species. The extent of biodiversity in an aquatic habitat is a reflection of the native fish, plants, and other aquatic species present there. All require water, and high-quality aquatic systems provide essential habitat to many at-risk species, including important spawning and rearing habitat for salmonids and other native fishes.

Sustaining aquatic biodiversity is essential to the health of our environment and to the quality of human life. Healthy aquatic ecosystems are imperative for Oregon’s communities and economy, including fisheries and recreation. Because native fish communities are central to the structure, function, and process within aquatic habitats, they serve as ideal indicator species of the overall health of these habitats.

Initiatives Addressing Native Fish Priority

Closed Lakes Basin wetlands are ecologically unique high-desert wetlands that provide critical habitat for numerous migratory and resident bird species. This region has international importance as habitat for migratory birds, including several ESA-listed species. Oregon’s Closed Lakes Basin wetlands habitat are a significant portion of the greater SONEC complex of wetlands that are critical to the millions of birds that travel the Pacific Flyway each year. The Intermountain West Joint Venture recognizes the SONEC region as one of two priority areas in the Intermountain West for wetland-dependent birds. Greater sage-grouse depend on these wetland habitats for foraging habitat for brooding (see related priority). ESA-listed Warner and Modoc sucker fish also are found in this habitat.

Initiatives Addressing Closed Lakes Basin Wetlands Priority

Estuaries are significant to the state of Oregon for a wide range of reasons. First, in terms of planning efforts, Oregon’s Statewide Planning Goal 16, titled “Estuarine Resources”, strives: “To recognize and protect the unique environmental, economic, and social values of each estuary and associated wetlands; and to protect, maintain, where appropriate develop, and where appropriate restore the long-term environmental, economic, and social values, diversity, and benefits of Oregon’s estuaries.” Many Oregon estuaries have Total Maximum Daily Loads developed for water quality in these habitats, as estuaries play an important role in filtering sediment, nutrients, pathogens, and other contaminants from aquatic environments.

Second, estuaries are a necessary habitat that is integral to the existence and success of various ESA listed fish and wildlife species. There are numerous species that are adapted to the unique habitat conditions that estuaries provide and are thus dependent on this habitat type.

Lastly, estuaries provide critical services for the people of Oregon. For example, estuaries serve to buffer storm wave damage and help stabilize shorelines from erosion.

The presence of robust and sustainable populations of coho salmon are an indicator of properly functioning coastal ecosystems and can provide significant social, cultural, economic and ecological benefits to coastal communities. Because water quality has been significantly degraded and instream habitat impacted in areas along the coast, the populations of these fish have declined, thus requiring a federal ESA listing.

The improvement in conditions and complexity for coastal coho habitat will lead to improved water quality. Many of Oregon’s coastal streams are designated on the federal 303(d) list as “water quality limited,” which affects landowners and communities and creates economic impacts. Additionally, recreational and commercial fisheries are also severely impacted by the ESA listing of these fish. Restoring ecosystem function for coastal stream habitats will benefit coho populations, which may help support fisheries over time.

Dry-type forests cover vast acreages in Oregon, and are at critical risk for uncharacteristically intense wildfires. These forest systems support a diverse range of aquatic and terrestrial species, including federally listed fish and bird species. Properly functioning dry-type forests are also critical to maintaining healthy watershed function and process for the rivers and other water bodies existing within their habitat range. Dry-type forests are iconic in Oregon, of cultural significance to Native American tribes, and have economic importance related to natural resource based economies in rural communities. In addition, these areas support an increasingly important recreation-based economy in many areas throughout Oregon.

Initiatives Addressing Dry-Type Forest Priority

In a national assessment, oak and associated prairie and chaparral habitats are one of the most endangered ecosystems in the U.S. due to land conversions and altered fire regimes. Yet, these habitats are home to roughly 30 bird, terrestrial, and plant species addressed in the Oregon Conservation Strategy. Maintaining the connectivity of oaks and their associated prairie and chaparral habitats is crucial to support species utilization of greater habitat range, but also to facilitating the gradual movement of species to the north from California in response to climate change. Many species dependent on oak habitats may be considered for ESA-listing in the future; thus, an increase in habitat connectivity, complexity and acreage will benefit these vulnerable species. In addition, these habitat types are iconic and culturally important to the Native American tribes.

Sagebrush/sage-steppe habitat is an imperiled habitat that supports a range of species. These areas are associated with an economically and socially important ranching and agricultural industry in communities throughout a large portion of the state. The state of Oregon is developing an “Oregon Sage Grouse Action Plan” to outline the actions necessary to conserve sage-grouse in Oregon in an effort to proactively avoid ESA- listing of the species. The plan has broad support by state and federal agencies, the ranching industry and conservationists.

Initiatives Addressing Sagebrush/Sage-Steppe Priority

Staff Contacts

For further information, please contact a staff member.

Andrew Dutterer, 503-986-0034


Rules

View the Oregon Administrative Rules on the Secretary of State's website.

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