The 326 acre property is located on the southeastern edge of the City of Cottage Grove within Lane County and the lower Row River watershed. This property contains rare but degraded Willamette Valley oak savanna and prairie habitats. Open-grown Oregon white oaks within the project area are threatened by conifer encroachment and overtopping, while the understory and prairie has been heavily invaded by exotic woody vegetation and non- native grasses. This loss of native habitat reduces biodiversity and negatively impacts important species that rely on these open habitats including acorn woodpecker, western bluebird, chipping sparrow, slender-billed nuthatch, and western gray squirrel.
The proposed project will implement oak and prairie habitat restoration that includes: (1) thinning small and large-diameter firs and oaks around legacy trees to restore 46.58 acres of oak habitat; (2) enhancing 10.09 acres of prairie that include numerous rare and culturally important plants; and (3) controlling invasive plant species. The Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council (CFWWC) will implement this project in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who will provide technical support and a burn plan for restoration prescriptions. We will also partner with local schools as part of our outreach efforts. OWEB funds will be used for CFWWC staff, contracted services (tree thinning, weed removal/planting crews), travel, permits, and materials (grasses and forbs).
Project implementation began in late Spring 2018 with the removal of invasive species and site preparation. Thinning of Douglas Fir trees took place in early August 2018. The prescribed burn is set to happen in early Fall 2018. If conditions are not adequate the burn will hope to take place in 2019. There are several determining factors that go into account when doing prescribed burns. For more information on this check out our June 2018 Science Pub Talk given by Amanda Stamper on prescribed fires in Oregon.