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News, notes, trip reports, and the lighter side (of the wilder side) of the Oregon environmental and conservation movement.
Oregon Wild urges Senator Wyden to pursue a balanced approach to protect clean water, salmon, and Oregon's tourism and recreation economy.
By Sean Stevens
We look forward to working with Senator Wyden on a solution that preserves the conservation values Oregonians hold dear. The Senator's leadership will be invaluable in finding a path forward that enhances protections for clean water, wildlife, wilderness, and ancient forests. These O&C lands are part of the broader legacy of public lands owned by all taxpayers, and we must manage them well for future generations.
Oregon Wild is pleased Senator Wyden's legislative framework explicitly seeks to enshrine permanent protections for ancient forests and wilderness areas that are crucial in protecting clean water, wildlife, and recreation opportunities. For decades, we have worked to protect special places across Oregon from excessive clear-cut logging and other harmful development, and today Oregonians understand our protected wildlands are critical for clean water, wildlife, and our state's vital tourism and outdoor recreation economy.
Thousands of acres of National Wildlife Refuge wetlands in the Klamath Basin will go without water this year. All signs are pointing to an unprecedented disaster.
By Wendell Wood
Sadly, 2013 will see a repeat of one of the most devastating symptoms of the Klamath Basin's numerous water problems: thousands of acres of crucial National Wildlife Refuge wetlands in the Klamath will be without water.
Unfortunately, this sad state of affairs reflects the norm in the Klamath Basin, where too much water has been promised to too many interests. Even in years of abundant water flow, this annual refuge de-watering represents the continuation of a policy of favoring agribusiness interests while avoiding cost-effective, long-term solutions which would bring water demand in the basin into balance with actual supplies.
Oregon has a new champion western red cedar, located somewhere along the state's northern coast. We can't tell you exactly where it is, but we can tell you the tree's name.
It appears there is a new champion western red cedar tree in Oregon.
Named Arcadia, the new champion Western Red Cedar is located along the northern Oregon coast. Previously, the state's largest cedar tree was believed to have been found along the upper Clackamas River.
At Oregon Wild, we tend to have a fondness for the fattest trees, and use trunk diameter when gauging tree size. However, the technical measurements used to determine which trees are the "largest" take into account a number of different factors, including diameter, crown size, height and more.
May has been sunny and dry so far in Oregon, and the Columbia River Gorge was the place to be the first week of the month during Wendell's annual spring wildflower outings.
Hiking season has returned to Oregon, and that means you'll find Oregon Wild on the trail leading hikes and treks throughout the state.
Here are a few of Wendell's notes from his early May outings, followed by some spectacular photos from Oregon Wild fans and hike attendees. Thanks for the pictures!
You know the story of Journey and how he became the world's most famous wolf. Now get ready to meet Journey's brothers and sisters.
Many thanks to an anonymous source who compiled and shared these photographs and information.
Fans and followers of Oregon Wild's wildlife conservation efforts know Journey was the name bestowed upon OR-7 last year as the result of Oregon Wild's naming contest for the world's most famous wolf.
And while the Journey moniker has been absolutely apropo for the wandering lone wolf of the Imnaha pack, and has lent the issue of wolf recovery some additional charisma, notoriety, and celebrity voltage as a result, it shouldn't come at the expense of Journey's Canis lupus brothers and sisters with less memorable names, but no less memorable faces.
So, for a round-up of all our radio-collared Oregon wolves, here are the faces we're fighting for every day at Oregon Wild.
On just how far we haven't come.
By Rob Klavins
The corridors of Oregon's capital building are filled with history.
Tom McCall's portrait is a Technicolor reminder of the beach bill – the landmark law which made our beaches open to all. There's an exhibit of amazing rocks and minerals found in Oregon. The offices of elected officials are themselves display cases of Oregon treasures past and present.
In a corridor leading to Senate offices are a number of educational displays highlighting the history of the Beaver State. The last in line is a real attention grabber.
The display features the preserved head and skin of a cougar. The text behind the cougar tells the creation story of Oregon's government. The most prominent words are the title "Wolf Meetings, Genesis of Government" and a quote:
"It is admitted by all, that bears, wolves, panthers, etc., are destructive to useful animals owned by the settlers of this colony…"
Minister of the Public Meeting, March 1843, French Prairie.
The text goes on to describe how – in a surprisingly narrow decision - 52 white men voted to form a government, organize a militia, and set the course for what would become the state of Oregon.
It's a course that has led Oregon to become known around the world as one of America's greenest, most progressive states. Sadly, my next stop was a disturbing reminder of how – at least when it comes to wildlife - some things haven't changed.
Its the little creatures that make the earth work, and a rebound of Pacific smelt is providing a boost to the health of the Columbia River Basin.
In wildlife conservation, the "charismatic mega fauna" usually get all the attention. Peregrine falcons, humpback whales, gray wolves, and sea otters capture the imagination of our children, and of the general public, and spur us to take action to be better stewards of our environment.
Unfortunately, less-charismatic species tend to get a bum rap — particularly when the laws that protect wildlife, like the Endangered Species Act, require us to take action to protect them.
On a cold, wet fishing trip on the Columbia River last week, I was reminded that our human fixation on the big charismatic species, and the path of least economic discomfort, often leads us to miss the broader point when it comes to conservation. To paraphrase the renowned biologist E.O. Wilson, it is the little creatures that make the earth work.
Watching hundreds of bald eagles, harbor seals, osprey, sea lions, terns, and gulls in a feeding frenzy over the first strong return of Pacific smelt to the Columbia River in decades, Wilson's wisdom rang true.
Oregon Wild's testimony at a Senate informational hearing on wolves.
The Oregon Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources held an informational hearing on wolves in Oregon today. After receiving testimony from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the livestock industry, Oregon Wild delivered this message on behalf of conservation-minded Oregonians.
We gave our testimony alongside two other conservation organizations working to ensure wolf recovery in Oregon - Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity.
While there were certainly differences of opinions amongst the stakeholders at the hearing, there was a welcome change in tone from previous hearings that focused on divisiveness and (often manufactured) controversy.
Former Oregon Wild Executive Director Andy Kerr reflects on the passing of journalist Kathie Durbin.
By Andy Kerr
In the mid-1980s the organization now known as Oregon Wild was only a very small group, but despite our size, we resolved to end the logging of old-growth forests in Oregon. At the time, two square miles per week of Oregon's ancient forests were being clearcut.
We were desperate to make news in this pre-internet era, when daily newspapers were the sole papers of community record, and the majority of citizens actually read them.
In a strange twist, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) has become the greatest impediment to the proposed removal of Klamath River dams.
The billion-dollar KBRA isn't going anywhere, gives false hope to interests which would benefit from it, and is causing state and federal agencies to ignore worsening conditions for wildlife and endangered species in the basin for fear of upsetting the deal.
As long as there appears to be some hope for the KBRA and the money that would come with it in Congress, government agencies and stakeholders in the Klamath Basin will continue to allow PacifiCorp to continue with their fish-killing status quo. No Act of Congress is necessary to remove the dams.