Protecting Oregon’s Oaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Oak Accord 

How Oregon landowners are protecting threatened white oak habitat

 

NUMBER OF LANDOWNERS PROTECTING OREGON’S OAKS

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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.

Should you sign the Oak Accord?

LEARN THE CRITERIA

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 with her daughter Nora_courtesy Bethel Heights Vineyards

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.

RESULTS UNDERWAY

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

Restoration Guides

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

Heritage Seedlings, Inc has a web page with resources for prairie and oak restoration.

Financial Assistance

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.

Visit the NRCS financial assistance website to learn more about their programs.

Plant Nurseries

Mahonia Nursery

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.

Visit the Mahonia Nursery website.

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.

Visit the Scholls Valley Native Nursery website.

Info

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.

Visit the Oregon Conservation Strategy website to learn more.

 

 

Video by Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund

Publications

Get in touch about white oak habitat conservation.

 

Nicole Maness

 

Have questions about the Oak Accord?

Nicole Maness, Resilient Habitat Program Manager
email | maness@willamettepartnership.org
office| 503.542.4304

 

Banner photo / Bob Applegate

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