Settlement funds pay for land conservation in Oregon

The state of Oregon’s $150 million settlement with the Bonneville Power Administration for mitigation of wildlife habitat affected by the federal hydroelectric system in the Willamette Basin cleared the way for last-minute closing of two big land deals in late October.  The Nature Conservancy completed its $23.4 million purchase of the 1,270-acre Wildish property at the confluence of the Willamette River’s coast and middle forks,  long identified as one of the highest conservation priorities in the Willamette Valley.  BPA provided $20.8 million for the Wildish purchase, OWEB contributed $2.5 million through its Willamette Special Investments Partnership, and TNC tapped its Northwest Wildlife Conservation Initiative for $100,000 from the Doris Duke foundation.  The settlement agreement also included BPA’s $9.7 million purchase of a conservation easement on the 1,310-acre Trappist Abbey property near Lafayette, one of the valley’s largest remaining blocks of upland forest.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, BPA will provide an additional $2.5 million a year in 2011-13 for projects recommended by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, increasing to $8 million per year from 2014 to 2025. BPA will also give ODFW $837,000per year in 2011 and 2012 to operate the mitigation program, including maintenance of conserved lands, increasing to $1.7 million per year starting in 2014.

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Most of Bruce’s work for Defenders focuses on partnerships, policy, and funding for biodiversity conservation in Oregon. He also coordinates Defenders’ legislative agenda in Oregon.

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dotWild is the blog of scientists and policy experts at Defenders of Wildlife, a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.