The Oak Accord’s First Year of Successes

By Nicole Maness

 

It was only a little over a year ago at Sokol Blosser Winery that vineyard owners, winemakers, foresters, and stewards of the Willamette Valley came together and launched the Oak Accord with their pledge to protect and restore the native oak habitat on their properties. The power of the Oak Accord lies in connecting the actions of individual landowners across the landscape to cumulatively benefit oak habitat. Here’s a look at the progress we’ve made over the last year and what’s up ahead.

Action on the Ground

susan sokol blosser oak accord launch

Founder of Sokol Blosser Winery signed the Oak Accord a little over a year ago. The power of the Oak Accord lies in connecting the actions of individual landowners, like Susan Sokol Blosser, across the Willamette Valley to cumulatively benefit oak habitat. Photo / Willamette Partnership

We have spent the first year of the Oak Accord completing baseline assessments and oak restoration recommendations so that signatories can improve the oak habitat on their property and track the progress of their efforts.

Thank you to the first 12 signatories to get baseline habitat assessment work done! And thank you to the seven more lined up for this spring and summer.

The results from each baseline assessment are summarized in an individual report that goes to each landowner and includes:

  • Identification of all areas of oak habitat and potential oak habitat on the property;
  • On the ground and aerial photos showing conditions of oak habitat those areas;
  • Baseline score for the quality oak habitat on the property;
  • Prioritized restoration recommendations and techniques for improving or creating oak habitat on the property; and
  • List of key references to help better understand how to manage oak.

If you are ready to complete your baseline assessment, please get in touch with Willamette Partnership (maness@willamettepartnership.org and cochran@willamettepartnership.org). May through September is our best window to get the work done.

 

Oak Accord Statesman Journal

The Oak Accord has received attention from the press, including the Oregon Wine Press.

In the Press

There have been several great articles profiling the Oak Accord in the press:

 

$59,000 Raised

We have been fortunate to receive $59,000 in financial support from our partners and supporters for the Oak Accord.

  • Corporate and Private Donations – $34K to advance oak habitat conservation for a net gain throughout the Willamette Valley
  • Pacific Birds – $18K to support baseline assessment work and restoration plans and development of strategies to improve oak habitat for key bird species
  • Oregon Wildlife Foundation – $5K to help create NRCS compatible restoration plans for properties
  • Temper of the Times Foundation – $7K to make a video to raise awareness about our disappearing oak habitat and to inspire more people to join and support the Oak Accord

 

Help Us Share the New Website

The Oak Accord now has a home on the Internet to showcase this important movement in the Willamette Valley! The Oak Accord webpage provides information about how to join the Accord, highlights the signatories who have signed on, and hosts resources on oak management and restoration for existing signatories.

Help us spread the word by sharing it with your friends and networks: http://willamettepartnership.org/oak-accord/

 

Building an Advisory Committee

Willamette Partnership will be helping to form an 8-12 person advisory committee to guide the Oak Accord. The first committee members will include signatories, experts in oak conservation, and others who can help grow this movement to restore and protect oak habitat. The committee will develop an annual work plan for the Accord, share success stories, and access the resources needed for landowners to engage in oak restoration work.

 

Connection to Oak-Prairie Conservation Planning Initiatives

Praire Oaks and People coverWillamette Partnership has been participating in two regional oak conservation initiatives to ensure the Oak Accord is part of these strategies to recover habitat and species.

  • The Oak Prairie Business Plan is a new conservation strategy that outlines the case for long-term investments to help conserve oak woodlands and native prairies from northern California to British Columbia.
  • The Willamette Valley Oak Prairie Cooperative is developing a 10-Year Strategic Action Plan for oak woodland, savanna, and prairie conservation and restoration in the mid and upper regions of the Willamette Valley.

 

What to look for in the year ahead

Over the next year, the goal is to complete baseline assessments for all signatories and continue recruiting new signatories to expand the number of acres of oak habitat under the Accord.  We also plan to partner with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to increase oak conservation efforts across the Willamette Valley and to connect signatories to the technical and financial resources that will help implement oak restoration projects on their properties.

We will also be releasing a short video that will help raise awareness and inspire others to join the effort.

You can help by sharing your story about being a signatory and inspiring others to join or donate to the cause on the Willamette Partnership website. Thank you for all your effort and support so far. Let’s keep the momentum of this grassroots effort growing!

Nicole Maness
Nicole is lead for Willamette Partnership’s work on habitat conservation. In this role, she focuses on building the science-based tools to support incentive programs for aquatic and terrestrial habitat and works with policy makers and stakeholders to implement innovative approaches to restoration throughout the Pacific Northwest. Prior to moving to Oregon, Nicole was the executive director of a think tank at the University of British Columbia that dealt with forest land-use policy in BC. She holds a BSc in Environmental Science from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. When not thinking about conservation, Nicole enjoys exploring the backcountry wilderness, playing the piano, and attaining new levels of patience and optimism as she restores her house in Corvallis.