ODFW to expand acreage at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

SALEM, Ore. – ODFW’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program (WWMP) proposes to acquire acreage near the South Coyote unit of Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (FRWA) in Lane County.

ODFW staff will host a virtual meeting on April 6 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., to discuss the acquisitions and the public can join by visiting, https://www.zoomgov.com/j/1616400284.

Comments can also be submitted at https://odfw.wufoo.com/forms/proposed-property-acquisition.

Frequently Asked Questions about South Coyote II and III Properties

The two proposed properties, South Coyote II (40 acres) and South Coyote III (100 acres), are 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. Critical connectivity between adjacent ODFW-owned and managed lands would be maintained and enhanced with these proposed acquisitions. Funding to permanently acquire these properties would be 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.

Both properties would be open to the public for hunting, wildlife viewing and educational opportunities. All rules and restrictions that will apply to the properties will be consistent with those of FRWA and a future permanent conservation easement.

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

If purchased, ODFW will develop a land management plan for each property to guide actions to protect and enhance conservation values. The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the draft land management plans.

It is anticipated that management efforts at South Coyote II would focus on restoring grassland and wetland habitats for plants and animals such as migrating waterfowl, common nighthawks, streaked horned lark, western bluebird, western meadowlarks, Oregon vesper sparrow, red legged frogs, western pond turtles, popcorn flower and Bradshaw’s lomatium.

Management at South Coyote III would focus on creating healthy conifer stands with the aid of a developed forest plan. Oak woodlands would be protected through the selective removal of conifers and creation of snags. Enhancement of other existing habitats on the site would include control of non-native vegetation. Plant and animal species expected to benefit from restoration and management actions include chipping sparrows, acorn woodpeckers and Willamette valley ponderosa pine.

Learn more about the WWMP by visiting: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/willamette_wmp/index.asp.