Wild Watchings - Vol. 2
Money in motion, rare wildlife, the legislation-conservation dance, and Oregon wildflowers
The Rogue River will flow even more freely with the removal of the Gold Ray dam. Photo by Dave Gutschmidt
Money makes the world (and conservation) go round
Federal stimulus money is going to fund the removal of the Gold Ray dam on the Rogue River. Similar to the Elk Creek dam, recently removed thanks to a decades long struggle by Oregon Wild and others, the Gold Ray dam project has recently done little more than cost the state money and hinder salmon and steelhead spawning streams. The dam may finally be removed to the great relief of Oregon Wild and many salmon and steelhead.
In the same vein, Sisters Rocks (not that Sisters...this one is a little further south) has recently become a state park thanks to the portion of lottery funds dedicated to salmon and parks. Just south of Port Orford on Highway 101, this unpopulated, hidden sea cave makes for a fun and beautiful outing in a new small coastal park.
Protecting rare wildlife
A judge overturned the Bush administration's decision to allow logging without regard for its impact on important species. The ruling supported a general consensus that the previous decision blatantly went against the National Forest Management Act. For now, critters like the northern spotted owl will be able to keep their habitat.
The giant Palouse earthworm may also be getting protection without the former administration in office. The movement to protect this rarely seen Northwestern invertebrate (which is one of the few native species of worms in the Northwest) represents a step forward for conservation in the eyes of many.
The otter population, which had been steadily growing on the coast of California, may now be shrinking due to pollution in their waters. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the ocean pollution is causing disease, viruses, and parasites. Check out our Spring Newsletter for a look at recent otter news off the coast of Oregon.
Legislative steps, more forward than back
As the legislative session drew to a close, conservation groups like us want to take a look at whether or not Oregon is moving in the right direction. The Oregon Conservation Network, which also represents yours truly, Oregon Wild, released a compilation of environmental bills from 2009. The Statesman Journal reports that while support for the environment has grown, legislature may let clean energy and its development fall behind in the mean time. The Oregonian points to how many efforts were scaled down, but overall there was growing support for green initiatives.
A Blooming Opportunity
Photo Credits: northern spotted owl (USFWS), Iron Mtn wildflowers (Nanci Champlin)