Merkley, Wyden Announce Over $1.5 Million for Habitat Conservation in Oregon

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and
Ron Wyden announced $1,519,627 in federal grants headed to Oregon to help
support the development of habitat conservation plans to improve the management
of state and private forestlands.  

“Forests in Oregon support rural economies and are also home
to countless species including vulnerable salmon,” said Senator Merkley, who
serves as the Chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which
funded these grants
. “In this era of mega-wildfires, they’re also
increasingly potential hazards if not properly managed. The Private Forest
Accord was carefully crafted through collaboration between the timber industry
and conservation interests to reduce wildfire risk, improve habitats, protect
clean water, and support local economies, and I am pleased that these federal
funds will help take that historic agreement and put it into action.” 

“The historic Private Forest Accord will go a long way
in supporting Oregon’s rural economies, improving forest health and protecting
clean water,” Wyden said. “Conservation and restoring critical
wildlife habitat is also at the crux of this effort, and these federal funds
will ensure this work becomes a reality.”

On February 10, 2020, 12 forest sector companies, Oregon’s
largest small woodlands owner organization, and 13 conservation and fishing
organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (the MOU), which laid the
foundation for the Private Forest Accord process. Over a year later, in October
2021, the parties reached an historic agreement to improve the management of
state and private forestlands in Oregon. A key piece of implementing that
agreement is the development of a habitat conservation plan. Today’s
announcement includes funding for the State of Oregon to development that plan.

These awards are funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Services (USFWS) and are intended to support land acquisition and conservation
planning projects on over 13,500 acres of habitat for 162 listed and at-risk
species through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF)
across 16 states. CESCF grants contribute millions annually to support
implementing state and territorial programs to conserve and recover federally
listed and at-risk species on non-federal lands. This approach to conservations
helps further species conservation and economic development.

Funding recipients and amounts can be found below:

  • Oregon
    Private Forest Accord Aquatic Species Habitat Conservation Plan: $769, 627
  • Western
    Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan: $750,000