ODFW is proposing to purchase 100 acres next to the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area near Portland and 310 acres adjacent to Fern Ridge Wildlife Area near Eugene. The land purchases need to be approved by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which will consider the proposals in January. Funding would come from the 2010 Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Agreement between BPA and ODFW that dedicates stable funding from electric ratepayers for 15 years to safeguard wildlife habitat for native species in the Willamette Valley. Both acquisitions are intended to enhance fish and wildlife habitat at two of ODFW’s wildlife areas.
The 100-acre Flight’s End property is located about 24 miles north of Portland. It is a privately owned “in-holding” bordered on three sides by the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area (SIWA). Currently owned by a private duck hunting club that initiated the proposed sale, the property would be incorporated into the SIWA for efficient management and long-term protection, according to Mark Nebeker, ODFW wildlife area manager. The 11,543-acre SIWA is centrally located along the Pacific Flyway and provides habitat for several priority species under Oregon’s Conservation Strategy, including Dusky Canada geese, common nighthawks and willow flycatchers. The property contains wetland and riparian bottomland forest habitats, and a portion is managed as cropland for the production of waterfowl food crops. Under ODFW ownership, the site would be available for public recreation consistent with the conservation purposes of the purchase.
The 310-acre Coyote Creek property is located approximately 14 miles west of Eugene, adjacent to the Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (FRWA) within the largest remaining wet prairie in the Willamette Valley. This acquisition will help conserve 99 acres of riparian forest and 211 acres of wet and upland native prairie and wetland pools that will provide habitat for waterfowl, grassland birds, red-legged frogs, native cutthroat trout and other species, according to Laura Tesler ODFW Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program biologist. ODFW currently manages the 5,261-acre Fern Ridge Wildlife Area under a 25-year agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit conservation group, purchased The Coyote Creek property in 2012 with the intent of transferring it to ODFW. If the transfer is approved, ODFW will manage the property in coordination with the FRWA.
A public meeting to solicit comments on the proposed Flight’s End purchase will take place at the Sauvie Island Grange Hall, located at 14443 NW Charlton Rd., on Sauvie Island, on Dec. 18 from 7 to 8 p.m. A second meeting to review the proposed the Coyote Creek acquisition is scheduled for 7-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the Fern Ridge Public Library, located at 88026 Territorial Road in Veneta.
In addition to the two public meetings, written comments about the proposed land purchases will be accepted through Dec. 31. Comments should be directed to Laura Tesler, Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Staff Biologist, 3406 Cherry Ave., NE, Salem, OR 97303, firstname.lastname@example.org. Public testimony will also be accepted at the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on January 11, 2013 at ODFW headquarters in Salem.