Oak Accord

The Oak Accord

How Oregon landowners are protecting threatened white oak habitat

 

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 The Oak Accord as a way to protect and restore more than 1,500 acres of the Willamette Valley’s fragile ecosystem.

Video produced by Sproutbox Media
Funding partially provided by Temper of the Times Foundation

This map series shows the decline of oak habitat in the Willamette Valley from 1938 (far left) to 2013 (far right) with oak habitat displayed in orange. Laura Wood / Willamette Partnership (with data by Esri, DeLorme, USGS, NPS, USFWS, NWHI, and OSU)

Protecting Oregon’s Oak

With less than 3% of historic oak habitat remaining due to fire suppression, development, and conversion to agricultural land, there is an urgent need to protect the oak woodlands and savannas that still exist. Because 98% of the Willamette Valley’s native oak currently sits on private land, landowners play a critical role in restoring oak habitat in the region. Vineyards are commonly situated in oak habitat because grapes grow well in the soil.

Willamette Valley Landowners Join Effort

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 provided by Bethel Heights Vineyard

The Oak Accord, a voluntary conservation agreement, was inspired by the vision of local landowners such as Willamette Valley vineyards and forest owners 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 recognition of 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.

Signatories

“When all of us are doing our part and working toward the common goal, there might actually be a way to change the story that’s written about oak. And the Willamette Valley landowners are going to be the authors of that story.– Nicole Maness, “A Tree Grows in Oregon”

Meet the Signatories

Find out who in the Willamette Valley is making the pledge to protecting oak.

The people and groups who signed the Oak Accord are committed to protecting and restoring oak habitat on their properties. Collectively, their efforts will be key to reconnecting and sustaining a resilient network of oak habitat across the Willamette Valley.

Participation in the Oak Accord is a way for l landowners to demonstrate that management of vineyards and of forestland can take place in harmony with healthy, sustainable oak habitat. The Accord creates a stewardship standard for existing land managers and owners and is also a way to introduce new landowners to the importance of oak conservation.

How to Sign

Learn how to become a part of this movement through three simple steps.

What’s the commitment?

  1. Undertake an assessment of the current (baseline) level of oak habitat quality and quantity on your property;
  2. Avoid and minimize any future impacts to oak habitat;
  3. Mitigate for any impacts that cannot be avoided; and
  4. Undertake a periodic (every 5 years) assessment of oak habitat on your property.

One of the benefits of participating will be access to resources and support that will make meeting the terms straightforward and reasonable. The Oak Accord is a voluntary commitment to protect and restore your native oaks and you may withdraw at any time.

Resources

Restoration Guides

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.

Heritage Seedlings

Heritage Seedlings is a wholesale Oregon propagation nursery that specializes in liners of rare and unusual deciduous plants for garden centers and other wholesale nurseries. Specifically, they grow native plants and farm-grown wildflower seeds for habitat restoration in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. We currently offer source-identified seed of over 100 species of native Willamette Valley, Oregon prairie wildflowers (forbs), grasses, sedges, and rushes.

Visit the Heritage Seedlings website.

Info

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee provides strategic direction and oversight of the Oak Accord. Committee members include signatories, experts in oak conservation, and others who can help grow this movement to restore and protect oak habitat. The Committee helps to develop an annual workplan for the Accord, share success stories, and access the resources needed for landowners to engage in oak restoration work.  Members serve a voluntary two-year term.

Committee Members for 2018-2020

Joe Abraham, Willamette University
Barbara Boyer, Boyer Family Farms
Mimi Casteel, Hopewell Wine and Vineyard
Pat Dudley, Bethel Heights Vineyard
Jason Lett, The Eyrie Vineyards
Mark Krautmann, Heritage Seedlings
Morgan McLaughlin, Willamette Valley Wine Association
John Miller, Mahonia Vineyard and Nursery
Chad Naugle, Oregon Department of Corrections
Matt Pihl, Pihl Excavating
Kurt Wittman, NW Farm Credit Services

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.

News & Publications

Thank you to our major funders

Pacific Birds
Oregon Wildlife Foundation
tualatin soil and water conservation disctrib

We’re working with the Willamette Valley Oak & Prairie Cooperative.

LEARN MORE

Have questions about the Oak Accord?

 

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

 

Banner photo / Oak Accord Video

Learn more about our Working Land Conservation initiative