Protecting Oregon’s Oaks
The Oak Accord
How Oregon landowners are protecting threatened white oak habitat
NUMBER OF LANDOWNERS PROTECTING OREGON’S OAKS
In Oregon’s Willamette Valley, where more than 97% of the white oak’s historic habitat has already disappeared, vineyard and forest landowners have signed on to the Oak Accord as a way to protect and restore more than 1,500 acres of the Willamette Valley’s fragile ecosystem.
Led by Willamette Partnership, the Oak Accord is a voluntary conservation agreement by landowners in the Willamette Valley to protect and restore the native oak habitat on their property.
Stately oaks trees and grass prairies are a defining feature of Oregon’s Willamette Valley and important habitat for many wildlife species. The trees are excellent nesting sites for birds while the ecosystem surrounding native oaks provide a range of environmental benefits — from preventing soil erosion to filtrating water to providing forage for grazing animals.
Today less than 3% of historic oak habitat remains due to fire suppression, development, and conversion to agricultural land. Vineyards are commonly situated in oak habitat because grapes grow well in the soil. Currently, there are no legal protections for native oak habitat in Oregon.
Mimi Casteel of Bethel Heights Vineyard with her daughter, Nora, is a winegrower in the Willamette Valley and an early champion of the Oak Accord. Photo / Bethel Heights Vineyard
WILLAMETTE VALLEY LANDOWNERS JOIN EFFORT
Because 98% of the Willamette Valley’s native oak woodlands and savanna currently exists on private land, landowners play a critical role in restoring oak habitat in the region.
The Oak Accord, a voluntary conservation agreement, was inspired by the vision of local landowners such as Willamette Valley vineyards who see the economic and environmental value of native oak habitat and want to play a role in preserving it. In exchange for signing the Oak Accord landowners receive a certificate recognizing their conservation commitment, guidance on restoration activities, quantified assessments of the results of their efforts, and marketing tools to help them communicate the conservation work they’re doing to customers, regulators, and colleagues.
The Oak Accord officially launched March 23, 2017, at Sokol Blosser Winery where the founding signatory members — many of which are Willamette Valley vineyards — publicly signed the voluntary conservation agreement.
Willamette Partnership visits every signatory’s property to assess their current level of quality and quantity of their native oak habitat. National eco-friendly wine labels are jumping on board: Salmon-Safe is integrating an oak conservation requirement into their farm certification standards, which are widely used in the wine industry, while LIVE is determining what role efforts to restore native oak habitat might play in meeting their requirements.
Resources for Signatories
Landowners Guide for Restoring and Managing Oregon White Oak Habitats
Here is a guide from the Bureau of Land Management on how to restore and manage Oregon white oak habitats.
Prairie and Oak Restoration Resources
USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service – Financial Assistance Programs
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s NRCS branch offers financial and technical assistance to help agricultural producers make and maintain conservation improvements on their land.
Mahonia Nursery is a wholesale and brokering nursery that has been specializing in growing native plants of the Pacific Northwest and selected ornamentals for over 25 years. We are a family-owned wholesale nursery offering quality plants, grown in a sustainable manner, at a competitive price. We also offer plant brokering services to help you organize, locate, purchase and deliver the plant material to your project.
Mahonia Nursery is strongly committed to sustainability. For us, sustainability includes contributing to Oregon’s natural heritage by rescuing native oak trees that are destined for destruction. Trees that are relocated to our nursery are carefully monitored for over a year before becoming available to others who share our passion for these majestic trees.
Adopt a Rescued Oak
Mahonia Nursery rescues native oak trees that are destined for destruction because of development projects or the trees’ interference with existing structures. Learn more about adopting a rescued oak from Mahonia Nursery.
Scholls Valley Native Nursery
Oregon’s first Salmon Safe Certified native plant nursery. We are a family owned and operated wholesale nursery specializing in locally-adapted native plants of the Northern Willamette Valley. We are located in Forest Grove, west of Portland, in Oregon, and maintain an office in Tigard, southwest of Portland.
Learn about Oregon’s Conservation Strategy
The Oregon Conservation Strategy is an overarching state strategy for conserving fish and wildlife. It provides a shared set of priorities for addressing Oregon’s conservation needs. The Conservation Strategy brings together the best available scientific information and presents a menu of recommended voluntary actions and tools for all Oregonians to define their own conservation role. The goals of the Conservation Strategy are to maintain healthy fish and wildlife populations by maintaining and restoring functioning habitats, preventing declines of at-risk species, and reversing declines in these resources where possible.
Video by Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund
Publications & News
It was only a little over a year ago that locals of the Willamette Valley came together and launched the Oak Accord with pledges to protect and restore the…
This document is a companion document to the Prairie, Oaks and People: A Conservation Business Plan to Revitalize Prairie Oak Habitats of the Pacific Northwest, showcasing project profiles.
Prairie, Oaks and People: A Conservation Business Plan to Revitalize the Prairie-Oak Habitats of the Pacific Northwest
This conservation business plan aims to revitalize dwindling prairie and oak habitats in the Pacific Northwest in economically and socially beneficial ways.
In this blog post, Nicole Maness share how this new plan maps priorities for conservation investments and actions needed to stem the loss of oak and prairie habitats and…
Here’s a two-page handout that summarizes The Oak Accord, including why Oregon’s white oak habitat in the Willamette Valley is threatened, why it’s valuable, and the plan for protecting…
The voluntary agreement document for the Oak Accord is a coordinated approach to conservation of oak habitat in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
A rapid assessment measuring oak woodland and savanna habitat quality for improved conservation outcomes. Here are the user guide and calculator.
Get in touch about white oak habitat conservation.