Conservation Column: Oregon Audubon Council Establishes Goals

The Oregon Audubon Council (OAC) met in Sutherlin, Oregon, on November 7. In attendance were representatives from eight chapters around the state as well as regional representatives of National Audubon. The goals of the OAC meetings are to bring together state chapter members, discuss conservation issues of concern, and determine how we can best help make a difference. Although each chapter focuses on concerns as they come up throughout the year, conference participants identified priority issues that would benefit from a coordinated effort by multiple chapters. We’ve addressed many of these issues previously. The issues and our goals are outlined below. (For more information, please contact dschlenoff@msn.com).

Wetlands issues

  •  Klamath National Wildlife Refuges: Ensure that these important wildlife refuges on the Pacific Flyway receive adequate water in both the short and long term.
  •  Lake Abert (Oregon’s only saltwater lake, an important stopover for migratory birds and part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network): Engage with conservation partners to help determine the reasons the lake dried out and explore opportunities to restore it.

  • Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (important stop along the Pacific Flyway and nesting habitat for various waterbirds): Work with partners to develop comprehensive plan for refuge.
  •  Misguided East Sand Island Program to control Double-crested Cormorants: Continue work to oppose the massive slaughter of cormorants, especially after evidence emerged recently that the US Fish and Wildlife Service analysis indicated that this action would not, in fact, help the recovery of federally listed salmon.

Ocean protection

  • Continue to establish regulations for protecting forage fish (an important food source for ocean-dependent birds) at both the state and federal level.
  •  Ensure adequate implementation of our marine reserve program. Continue to educate and involve citizens throughout the state.

Forest protection

  •  Ensure adequate protection for forests on federal, state, and private lands.
  • Continue to protect habitat in the Elliott State Forest.
  • Work with other conservation organizations to support strong forest protection policies at the federal level.

Grassland protection

  • Identify best practices and collaborate with land users to protect this habitat, most of which has disappeared due to conversion for other land uses. Emphasis on habitat for declining species such as Vesper Sparrows and Streaked Horned Larks.

Species protection

  •  Greater Sage-Grouse: Ensure strong plan to protect and recover Greater Sage-Grouse in Oregon.
  • Marbled Murrelet: Ensure continuing protection for the Marbled Murrelet inland and offshore in Oregon and ensure adequate protection for forests on federal, state, and private lands.

Reduction of avian hazards

  • Develop a campaign in Oregon to ban use of lead shot, a major hazard to raptors. (California’s ban goes into effect in 2019.)

Climate change

  • Oppose fossil-fuel export facilities.
  •  Educate and engage for floodplain protections and other landscape resilience strategies.

Outdoor School

  •  In spring 2015, the Oregon Legislature passed the Outdoor School Bill, which establishes a commitment to provide outdoor education to Oregon’s children. A coalition is working to facilitate the program and secure money to make it happen.
  • Audubon’s goal: Raise awareness and endorse the initiative to secure funding.