Environment

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — Eight projects recently were approved to receive grants totaling $120,456 from the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the grants during their Sept. 11 meeting.

This is the first round of grant funding made available from OCRF since it was established in 2019 by the state Legislature in House Bill 2829. The Oregon Conservation and Recreation Advisory Committee reviews and recommends these projects. Organizations that were selected will soon begin work on projects that protect fish and wildlife, restore their habitat and connect people with nature.

“Now more than ever, the people of Oregon are recognizing our connections to Oregon’s natural places,” said Dr. Karl Wenner, Chairperson, Conservation and Recreation Advisory Committee. “This first round of projects is a momentous opportunity to demonstrate the diversity of great organizations working to ensure that all Oregonians have opportunities to enjoy our state’s fish, wildlife and outdoor recreational areas across the state,” added Wenner.

  1. The Audubon Society of Portland will continue the Backyard Bioblitz program that began during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to engage urban residents in collecting wildlife data in their own yards and neighborhoods.
  2. The Ochoco Trails partnership will begin planning for a sustainable trail network in the Crooked River National Grassland that allows local residents to reap the health benefits of outdoor recreation, encourages visitation, connect locals and visitors to public lands and reduce trail conflicts while protecting wildlife habitat.
  3. The North Douglas Betterment and Susan Applegate will remove invasive species and improve nesting habitat for western pond turtles on Applegate Wildlife Pond.
  4. The Elakha Alliance is studying the feasibility of restoring sea otters to Oregon’s coast as a way to improve the health of kelp ecosystems, including studying the potential interactions between sea otters and coastal tribal communities and fisheries stakeholders.
  5. Cascadia Wild and Defenders of Wildlife are collaborating with the Refugee and Immigrant Student Empowerment (RISE) and other organizations that help disadvantaged youth develop job skills to connect high school students with wilderness areas while setting trail cameras to document the presence of rare carnivores.
  6. Oregon Hunters Association and the Oregon Department of Transportation will install directional fencing needed to guide animals to the newly constructed highway underpass on Highway 97 in Gilchrist.
  7. Trout Unlimited and Caldera will engage public school students from Central Oregon and urban youth from Portland with sockeye and spring Chinook salmon habitat restoration work conducted by the U.S. Forest Service on Link Creek and the Metolius River.
  8. Friends of the Owyhee will complete a short-term, detailed survey of Succor Creek in the Owyhee basin searching for signs of presence of beavers along the creek.

The Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund is a public-private partnership that supports projects to implement the Oregon Conservation Strategy and connect people with the outdoors. Public support via donations to the fund can be made at the coalition website: OregonIsAlive.org.

Since its inception, the Oregon Conservation and Recreation has raised approximately $180,000 through donations from more than 10,000 contributors. Much of this has been small donations averaging around $10 from customers purchasing hunting or fishing licenses, aquatic invasive species permits or parking passes as well as direct donations through OregonIsAlive.org. The Fund has also received sizable donations from foundations looking to help implement conservation and recreation projects on-the-ground.

The OCRF Advisory Committee also announced last month that a second round of small grants is now available to the public.  For more information about grants, please visit this website: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/OCRF/grants.asp.The deadline to apply for the 2nd round of funding from OCRF is October 21.

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