habitat conservation

Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

There's a certain regularity to some stories emerging from Washington, like the program that will soon expire if Congress does not renew it. 

So it is once again with the Land and Water Conservation Fund, LWCF.  It runs out at the end of September without Congressional intervention, and there may just be some additional concern about the mood on conservation in the current Congress. 

The Wilderness Society is watching events unfold, as is University of Idaho professor Adam Sowards

oregonwalktheland.org

It's easy to take the wide-open views of our region for granted.  So it's a rude awakening when they disappear under new subdivisions or other construction. 

Rural places with outstanding values have lots of friends, including in the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts

COLT members welcome the public to come out and see some of the places protected on Get Outdoors Oregon Day, Saturday, June 9. 

Stewardship Council

There's an old line directed to gullible people: "if you believe that, I have some swamp land I'd like to sell you."  Is it better if the swamp is just given away? 

The McArthur Swamp in Shasta County is under new ownership as of a few months ago, when Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) finished conveying the nearly 7,700 acres of land to several entities in several ways. 

It's part of larger effort by the utility to protect some of its land. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Arguments in favor of protecting this stream or that forest tend to come down to ecological significance or some other scientific reason. 

Robert Leonard Reid--mountaineer, musician, mathematician, and writer--likes the concept of protecting things because of their beauty. 

He explores the concept further in the 19 essays of Because It Is So Beautiful: Unraveling the Mystique of the American West.

Wikimedia

It seems like a straightforward path: fix the environment, and the people will thrive. 

But the experience of Western organizations and individuals in Africa tells a different story.  Efforts to restore animals and ecosystems have often gone awry, with researchers noting local people getting sicker and hungrier while animal populations fail to thrive. 

This is the story told in White Man's Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden & Other Myths of Conservation in Africa

Author Stephanie Hanes lived in, and reported from< Africa several years. 

oregonwalktheland.org

If you follow news about land set aside for preservation, you may occasionally wonder: when can I go visit that land?  This Saturday, June 24th, is a good answer. 

That is officially Oregon Walk the Land Day, sponsored by land trusts all over the state. 

They'll lead tours pointing out the highlights of lands protected by trusts in the far-flung corners of Oregon. 

颐园新居, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49176327

They're pretty and they provide shade, but trees mean more than that to non-human species. 

The trees are homes for many animals, and arborists like Brian French encourage people to maintain trees for habitat. 

They don't even have to be living trees to qualify as habitat trees. 

McKenzie River Trust Buys Former Timber Land

Jan 13, 2016
Wikimedia

Where chain saws once roared, only the sounds of the McKenzie River can be heard.

And that's the way things are likely to stay for a very long time. 

The McKenzie River Trust just closed a deal to buy a chunk of land along the river, near the community of Blue River, from a timber company. 

Wikimedia

Offshore drilling for oil and gas is often opposed by people who favor the protection of sensitive and significant lands. 

Except for one thing: the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund

LWCF uses offshore oil and gas lease income to purchase property for public use; grants have bought big chunks of land in both states. 

But two issues loom: Congress often diverts money from the fund for other purposes... and the fund will expire this year without Congressional intervention. 

The Northwest wine industry has grown tremendously over the last few decades. That’s had a big economic impact but has also changed the region’s landscape.