ODFW expands acreage at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

SALEM, Ore. — ODFW’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program (WWMP) acquired new acreage near the South Coyote unit of Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (FRWA) in Lane County last week.

South Coyote III (98.23 acres) is located next to FRWA which is within the West Eugene Conservation Opportunity Area (COA) as identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy. ODFW acquired the 309-acre South Coyote and 224-acre Northeast Coyote units of FRWA using WWMP funds in 2013 and 2015.

This COA includes the largest remaining wet prairie in the Willamette Valley and supports bottom wetland, grassland and riparian habitats.

Management at South Coyote III will focus on creating healthy oak and conifer stands with the aid of a developed forest plan. Oak woodlands will be protected through the selective removal of conifers and creation of snags. Enhancement of other existing habitats on the site will include control of non-native vegetation. The site will permanently protect and increase habitat for acorn woodpeckers, chipping sparrows, northern red-legged frogs, and other wildlife species.

“ODFW is very pleased to add the South Coyote III property to the South Coyote complex at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area” said Laura Tesler, WWMP Program Coordinator. “This new property will further enhance important conservation values such as habitat connectivity, oak habitat, and habitat for Oregon conservation strategy species such as the white breasted nuthatch.”

Funding to purchase this property was provided by the WWMP.

The WWMP is funded by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) through a 15-year agreement between ODFW and BPA to settle federal wildlife habitat mitigation obligations in the Willamette Valley.

The property will eventually be open to the public for hunting, wildlife viewing and educational opportunities. All rules and restrictions that will apply to the property will be consistent with those of FRWA.

ODFW will grant BPA a conservation easement to protect the property’s conservation values in perpetuity and the WWMP provides additional stewardship funding for ongoing, long-term maintenance activities that will take place on the property.

ODFW will develop a land management plan for South Coyote III to guide actions to protect and enhance conservation values. The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the draft land management plan.