Oak And Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan - The Intertwine

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Oak and Prairie Working GroupStrategic Action PlanPrepared byThe Intertwine AllianceOak and Prairie Working GroupJune 1, 2018

CONTENTSAcknowledgements. iiiAcronyms and Abbreviations . vExecutive summary: Charting a more secure future for oak and prairie habitat . viINTRODUCTION . 1About This Plan . 1About the OPWG . 1Accomplishments So Far. 2Strategic Action Plan Structure and Content. 2Fitting into a Regional Context . 5Strategy Element A: SPATIAL DATA . 6A1.Complete first-generation oak distribution map. . 7A2.Update oak distribution map as needed and resources allow. . 8A3.Collect other oak and prairie spatial data for the RCS planning area. . 8Strategy Element B: LAND CONSERVATION. 11B1.Identify priority parcels for oak conservation using tax lot data. . 13B2.Acquire conservation rights (fee title or limited property rights) to priority parcels. . 14B3.Improve communication among practitioners. . 15B4.Improve toolkit for non-fee acquisition habitat protection. 16B5.Encourage maintenance of conservation values on priority habitats where landowners arenot interested in formal land protection measures. 18Strategy Element C: ACTIVE STEWARDSHIP. 20C1.Create and enhance habitat on priority locations with an early emphasis on protectinglegacy trees. . 23C2.Create and enhance habitat on unprotected lands. . 25C3.Develop, share, and expand stewardship toolkit. 26C4.Increase ability to employ fire as a management tool. 28C5.Encourage maintenance of conservation values on priority habitats where landowners arenot interested in formal land protection measures . 29C6.Improve the availability of plant materials for habitat creation and enhancement. . 30C7.Agree on measures of habitat quality and prioritize areas for restorationand enhancement. . 31Strategy Element D: KNOWLEDGE . 34D1.Work with partners to build relationships and develop cultural connections that willsupport the inclusion of traditional knowledge in the development of management guidance. . 36Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 2018i

D2.Integrate a full range of knowledge and data resources to provide guidance forstewardship and conservation practices. 37D3.Ensure that technical and social resources are made available to support long-termconservation and stewardship. . 39Strategy Element E: COMMUNITY EDUCATION, ENGAGEMENT, AND ADVOCACY . 41E1.Raise broad public awareness of and appreciation for native Northwest oak and prairieecosystems, their conservation, and specific stewardship options. . 45E2.Develop accessible, inclusive, and effective mechanisms and materials to disseminate oakhabitat information to multiple audiences and engage the community in restoration. Providedeeper training for on-the-ground work and stewardship. . 46E3.Strengthen and support community-based oak stewardship groups across the region. . 47CONCLUSION. 49Tables1Relative Financing Needs for the Five Strategy Elements2Community-based Oak Conservation Groups in the Greater Portland-Vancouver Region3Larger-scale (Regional, Statewide, Pacific Northwest) Organizations, Agencies, and WorkingGroups with a Northwest Oak or Prairie Conservation FocusAppendicesASubaction-level DetailsOak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 2018ii

AcknowledgementsLike the document that inspired it (The Intertwine Alliance’s Regional Conservation Strategy for theGreater Portland-Vancouver Region), this plan was developed using the ideas, work, and financialresources offered by many individuals and organizations. We apologize for any omissions.The following organizations provided funding for the completion of this strategic action plan:Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation DistrictClean Water ServicesColumbia Land TrustEast Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation DistrictMetroNorth Clackamas Park and RecreationPortland Parks & RecreationScappoose Bay Watershed CouncilTualatin Hills Park & Recreation DistrictTualatin Soil and Water Conservation DistrictWest Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation DistrictThe following people were instrumental in writing and guiding development of the document:Steering Committee Members and Element Team Leads:Mary Bushman (Lead), City of Portland Bureau of Environmental ServicesDavid Cohen, The Intertwine AllianceLaura Guderyahn (Lead), Portland Parks & RecreationLori Hennings (Lead), MetroTed Labbe (Lead), Urban Greenspaces InstituteJonathan Soll (Lead), MetroJanelle St. Pierre (Chair), Portland Parks & RecreationPat Welle, Scappoose Bay Watershed CouncilBruce Taylor and Sara Evans-Peters (Facilitators), Pacific Birds Habitat Joint VentureOther contributors:Nicole Ahr, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation DistrictTommy Albo, MetroJudy Bluehorse Skelton, Portland State UniversityJim Cathcart, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation DistrictMike Conroy, Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation DistrictGreg Creager, Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation DistrictJane Hartline, Sauvie Island Habitat PartnershipIsabel LaCourse, Portland Parks & RecreationMatt Paroulek, Port of PortlandJenne Reische, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation DistrictDan Roix, Columbia Land TrustRyan Ruggiero, MetroElaine Stewart, MetroMark Griswold Wilson, Independent ConsultantNikkie West, Portland AudubonOak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 2018iii

Additional thanks are due to the following:Mike Houck, Urban Greenspaces Institute, for serving as fiscal agent for grants and contributionsCarter Hoffman, mapping subcontractor to the Urban Greenspaces InstituteAnn Sihler, Technical EditorStaff at the Conservation Biology Institute (including Katie O’Connor and Rebecca Degagne) forhosting oak mappingAll members of the Oak and Prairie Working Group for contributing their time and energy tomeetings and the many stages of the review process for the OPWG Strategic Action PlanOak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 2018iv

Acronyms and AbbreviationsBLMBureau of Land ManagementBMPsbest management practicesBPABonneville Power AdministrationCPOPCascadia Prairie Oak PartnershipGISgeographic information systemKEAkey ecological attributesLiDARlight detection and rangingNACACNative American Community Advisory CouncilNAYANative American Youth and Family CenterNCPRDNorth Clackamas Parks and Recreation DistrictNRCSNatural Resources Conservation ServiceODFOregon Department of ForestryODFWOregon Department of Fish and WildlifeOPRDOregon Parks and Recreation DepartmentOPWGOak Prairie Working GroupOWEBOregon Watershed Enhancement BoardPP&RPortland Parks & RecreationPSUPortland State UniversityRCSRegional Conservation StrategySAPstrategic action planSNACSellwood Natural Amenities CommitteeSWCDsSoil and Water Conservation DistrictsTEKtraditional ecological knowledgeTHPRDTualatin Hills Parks and Recreation DistrictTNCThe Nature ConservancyUGIUrban Greenspaces InstituteUSFWSU.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceWDFWWashington Department of Fish and WildlifeWWMPWillamette Wildlife Mitigation ProgramOak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 2018v

Executive Summary: Charting a More Secure Future for Oak and Prairie HabitatOver the next 10 years, what will happen to our oak and prairie habitats?In the greater Portland-Vancouver region, oak and prairie ecosystems provide core habitat for hundredsof plant and wildlife species. They serve as the cultural bedrock for Native American communities andare a strikingly beautiful component of our region’s natural heritage. Yet they also are among the mostthreatened habitat types in the United States. Without a concerted, well-organized effort to stem thetide of their decline, during the next decades these ecosystems risk becoming little more than isolatedmuseum pieces.Locally, oak and prairie habitats exist in numerous but increasinglydisconnected fragments, many of them privately owned. They nolonger benefit from historical disturbance regimes (e.g., fire). They arethreatened by ongoing urbanization, agricultural activities, and invasivespecies, as well as new threats associated with climate change. Andthey lag behind our more iconic landscapes, such as salmon-bearingrivers and old-growth forests, in attracting the scientific study, publicinterest, and policy-maker support that are crucial in charting a moresecure ecological future.The latter, at least, is beginning to change. Increasingly, publicagencies 1 are acknowledging the importance of intact, connected oakand prairie habitats to a healthy regional ecosystem, and localnonprofit organizations 2 are including oak and prairie habitats as afocus of their strategic conservation activities.Oak and prairieecosystems play a vitalrole in the ecology of thePacific Northwest byproviding habitat and foodfor hundreds of plant andanimal species—fromdiminutive butterflies,ferns, and lilies tomagnificent Ponderosapines, madrone trees, andelk. Many oak- and prairiedependent species arethreatened or endangered,and some of these, likeDelphinium leucophaeum(white rock larkspur) andIcariacia icariodes fenderi(Fender’s blue butterfly),are found nowhere else inthe world.Since 2012, The Intertwine Alliance’s Oak Prairie Working Group(OPWG) has been collaborating to address the need for better science,stewardship, restoration, and education to improve the ecologicalfuture of oak and prairie habitats in the greater Portland-Vancouverregion. This strategic action plan is one outcome of the OPWG’s work. 3It will guide the OPWG during the next 10 years as the group (1) completes crucial mapping of native oaktrees in the greater Portland-Vancouver region, (2) compiles existing knowledge of local oak and prairiehabitats, and (3) advances conservation science, stewardship, and education related to the area’simperiled native oak and prairie ecosystems.The strategic action plan organizes priority actions, subactions, tasks, responsible parties, estimatedcosts, timeframes, and expected outcomes around five interrelated strategy elements that, together,address key components of oak and prairie conservation:A. Spatial data: Develop spatial data to empower better, data-driven conservation decision-making.1See the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s statewide Oregon Conservation Strategy (2015), the U.S. Fish and WildlifeService’s Willamette Valley Conservation Study (2017), Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) grants from 2017, andthe City of Portland’s Terrestrial Ecology Enhancement Strategy (2011).2 See The Intertwine Alliance’s Regional Conservation Strategy and Biodiversity Guide, Columbia Land Trust’s 25-YearConservation Agenda, and the Willamette Partnership’s Oak Accord.3 For others, see p. 2 of the strategic action plan.Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 2018vi

B. Land conservation: Conserve land to protect habitat for declining species and prevent the decline ofcommon species.C. Active stewardship: Practice active stewardship to improve the quality of existing habitat and fillconnectivity gaps by creating new habitat.D. Knowledge: Develop knowledge and management guidance documents to improve and support onthe-ground stewardship and landscape-scale conservation.E. Community education, engagement, and advocacy: Educate and engage stakeholders to raiseawareness and appreciation of these habitats and increase conservation efforts by bothorganizations and individuals.The collaboration that has gone into developing this plan will serve as a solid foundation as OPWGpartners begin scaling up local oak and prairie conservation from theThe Intertwine Alliance’sindividual site level to the larger, more ecologically significant regionalOak Prairie Working Grouplevel. Along the way, we can ensure that our activities build on others’(OPWG)efforts in the Pacific Northwest but are tailored to local conditions andformed in 2012 and nowchallenges. We also can bring a broad range of people into the circle ofconsists of more thanactivities that will support conservation of these important ecosystems.30 agency, nonprofit, andcommunity partners whoare collaborating to improvethe conservation of local oakand prairie habitats.Partners represent fish andwildlife agencies, NativeAmerican tribes, Soil andWater ConservationDistricts, park districts,cities, land trusts, watershedcouncils, environmentalnonprofits, and communitybased organizations, such asneighborhood associations.Consistent with the OPWG’s collaborative nature, every action in thestrategic action plan will require the combined efforts of multiplepartners. Not all partners will participate in every action; instead,partners will contribute consistent with their organizational capacity andmission. Also essential will be consistent, strategic communications thatmake oak and prairie habitats and the conservation measures they needmore visible in the public eye, as well as with specific audiences.Additionally, because habitats, management approaches, and prioritiesare fragmented throughout the region, OPWG partners will need towork with both public and private landowners, across the urban-to-ruralland use spectrum, and adapt existing tools and approaches so that theycan be applied across scales, land use settings, and audiences. Theactions identified in the strategic plan are designed to support all threeof these areas: collaboration, communication, and connection withpeople throughout our region.Success will not come easily. Restoring oak and prairie ecosystems in the greater Portland-Vancouverregion will require a concerted, coordinated, and well-funded effort, at multiple geographic scales, thataddresses a range of ecological, social, and economic barriers. But the potential rewards are great. Ouractivities will go beyond improving the health and survival of just our local oak and prairie ecosystems.Given our location between the northern Willamette Valley and southern Puget Trough, our efforts willcontribute to the long-term, large-scale conservation of oak and prairie habitats across their range in thePacific Northwest, from northwest California to British Columbia.Having healthy oak and prairie habitats across the Pacific Northwest definitely is a goal worth workingtoward.Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 2018vii

INTRODUCTIONAbout This PlanThis strategic action plan is intended to guide the work of the Intertwine Alliance Oak Prairie WorkingGroup (OPWG) for the next 10 years as the OPWG (1) completes crucial mapping of native oak trees inthe greater Portland-Vancouver region, (2) compiles existing knowledge of oak and prairie habitats, and(3) advances conservation science, stewardship, and education related to the area’s imperiled nativeoak and prairie ecosystems.Pacific Northwest oak and prairie habitats host more than 200 wildlife species and 300 plant taxa thatdepend on oak and prairie ecosystems; many of these plants and animals are threatened, and some areendemic to the Willamette Valley or greater Portland-Vancouver region, meaning that they are foundnowhere else. Currently, oak and prairie ecosystems within and outside of the greater PortlandVancouver region exist mostly in fragments. Their integrityand connectivity continue to be threatened by ongoingMore about Oak andurbanization, agricultural activities, invasive species, the lossPrairie Habitatsof historical disturbance regimes (e.g., fire), and climateThere are many excellentchange.discussions of the more flora andWith this strategic plan, the OPWG is attempting to chart amore secure future for oak and prairie habitats that fallwithin the Intertwine Alliance Regional ConservationStrategy (RCS) planning area (see Figure 1), which is locatedin the northern Willamette Valley. Those remnant habitatsplay an ecological role not just within the planning area butalso outside the region, by bridging to similar habitat patchesto the north, south, and east.About the OPWGfauna of oak and prairie habitats, aswell as threats and strategicopportunities to address thosethreats. For on oak and prairiebiota, their ecological significance,and management challenges, seepp. 47-58 in the Biodiversity Guidefor the Greater Portland-VancouverRegion, the Oregon ConservationStrategy, Washington'sComprehensive WildlifeConservation Strategy, and theCascadia Prairie Oak Partnership.In 2012, during development of the Intertwine Alliance’sRegional Conservation Strategy for the Greater PortlandVancouver Region, the Intertwine Alliance Oak Prairie Work Group formed to address the lack ofregional data necessary to improve conservation outcomes for imperiled Oregon white oak ecosystems.After initially focusing on oak mapping, in 2015 the group broadened its work to address stewardship,science, restoration, and education, with a focus on both native oak and prairie habitats. Currently theOPWG includes more than 30 agency, nonprofit, and community partners. They represent fish andwildlife agencies, Native American tribes, Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs), park districts,cities, land trusts, watershed councils, environmental nonprofits, and community-based organizations,such as neighborhood associations. For small groups, participating in the OPWG has enabled them toleverage their limited resources and actions against a larger partnership that offers diverse expertiseand capabilities.Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 20181

The OPWG holds quarterly meetings and more frequent project-specific committee meetings as needed.For information on current activities and initiatives, see the OPWG prairie-work-group).Accomplishments So Far By June 30, 2018, the OPWG will have completed the first credible map of oak tree occurrencesthroughout the Oregon portion of the RCS planning area and begun discussion of how to usethose data to develop priorities. The OPWG has conducted outreach to and piloted naturescaping workshops for urbanlandowners in oak-rich neighborhoods of north Clackamas County. The OPWG has published Conserving Oregon White Oak in Urban and Suburban Landscapes, aguidebook for landowners interested in establishing or improving oak habitat on their iles/Oakscaping%20Guide.pdf) The OPWG has built and extended its partnership into Columbia and Clark counties. The OPWG has partnered with the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) andPortland State University (PSU) Indigenous Nations Studies Program to mentor three NativeAmerican college students who are reinstating traditional oak and prairie stewardship practicesat natural areas. Agencies such as Metro, Portland Parks & Recreation, the North Clackamas Parks and RecreationDistrict (NCPRD), and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) have secured protectionof oak habitats on public lands and are initiating oak release, weed control, and otherrestoration measures there. The Clackamas, West Multnomah, and Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation Districts arepursuing outreach to and collaboration with private landowners to restore oak habitat. OPWG partners are considering how native oak and prairie conservation activities fit within theirwork plans. More broadly, engaged community members are seeing remnant oaks as ecologicallegacies to be safeguarded.These noteworthy accomplishments represent a solid beginning, but only that. Successfully restoringoak and prairie ecosystems will require a concerted, coordinated, and well-funded effort at multiplegeographic scales that will address ecological, social, and economic barriers. How that work is organizedand prioritized is the focus of this strategic action plan (SAP).Strategic Action Plan Structure and ContentThe SAP is organized into five interrelated strategy elements that address important barriers to oak andprairie conservation and related opportunities to address them:Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 20182

A. Spatial data: Develop spatial data to empower better, data-driven conservation decisionmaking. In the near term, complete a high-quality Oregon white oak distribution map for theentire Regional Conservation Strategy (RCS) planning area within one year of the completion ofthis strategic action plan, develop a priority oak parcel conservation map, and support ourpartners’ use of the map to advance conservation actions. Over the long term, develop a map ofremnant/potential native prairie habitat, update and refine oak map products, and serveongoing geospatial data needs for oak and prairie conservation in the greater PortlandVancouver region.B. Land conservation: Increase the pace and efficiency of oak habitat protection to create afunctional network of conserved oak habitat in public and private ownership throughout the RCSplanning area.C. Active stewardship: Improve the quality and connectivity of oak and prairie habitat throughactive, strategic, and scientifically sound stewardship.D. Knowledge: Synthesize and develop knowledge, information, and data sources to support theimprovement of stewardship practices and conservation prioritization across the region. Theseefforts will seek to encompass knowledge and information that reflect multiple culturalapproaches.E. Community education, engagement, and advocacy: Increase public awareness of andengagement with Northwest native oak and prairie habitats and their conservation across theregion—to grow the stewardship community, safeguard remnant oak/prairie habitats, andfoster restoration, enhancement, and conservation on public and private lands.Each of the strategy element sections of this plan describes a goal and background information;identifies key partners; lists priority actions, subactions, and associated tasks; and, in many cases,presents key outcomes, timeframes, and costs. Table 1 provides more detailed information at thesubaction level, listing the measures of success, priority, and timeframe for completion of eachsubaction.Table 1 shows the relative resources that are expected to be needed to complete each of the strategicelements, with initial estimates ranging from 135,000 (for the Knowledge element) to 35 million (forthe Land Conservation element).Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 20183

Table 1Relative Financing Needs for the Five Strategy ElementsValues for the Land Conservation and Active Stewardship elements are higher than the others becauseof the cost of land acquisition. These are initial estimates only; all cost estimates need to be refined.More information about the estimates is included in the narratives for each element.The priority actions within each strategy element rarely fall into a single category. Instead, they connectin a multi-dimensional web. However, in order to streamline the SAP, reduce duplication, and simplifyfuture reporting and revision, the OPWG developed simple rules to place each action, subaction, or taskthat was identified in multiple elements into only one. We hope that readers will recognize thatsuccessful implementation of nearly all the identified actions will require engagement across multiplestrategy elements and that which strategy element “hosts” a given action is not particularly important. Ifa major action is found to be missing, we are counting on passionate individuals to bring the actionforward for discussion in the working group and potential inclusion in future efforts.This strategic action plan was developed as a collaborative effort by various OPWG partners. It isimportant to remember that not all partners will be involved in the implementation of each action.Instead, partners will contribute efforts consistent with their organizational capacity and mission.Organizations identified as leads will be responsible for facilitating processes, aiding supportingorganizations as needed as they implement priority actions, and seeing that actions move towardcompletion.In developing the plan, it became apparent that, to move forward on priority actions, all partners willneed to actively cultivate and rely on the following:Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 20184

Effective communication. The SAP calls for a unified and strategic communication plan tocontinue to elevate the visibility of oak and prairie habitats and needed conservation measures,with messaging adapted for the general public as well as specific audiences, such asdesigners/developers and large rural versus small urban landowners. Collaborative partnerships. Because no agency, nonprofit, or landowner has the resources tosuccessfully implement conservation measures in isolation, every action within the SAP willrequire true collaboration—among existing and potentially new partners. This SAP and otherrecent accomplishments may serve as a model for future collaboration. Broad view. Because habitats, management approaches, and priorities are fragmented acrossall portions of the urban-to-rural landscape, OPWG partners will need to work with public andprivate landowners across the land use spectrum. It will be challenging to adapt existing toolsand approaches so that they can be applied across scales, land use settings, and audiences.Fitting into a Regional ContextThis strategic action plan does not exist in a vacuum. It is closely aligned with Prairie, Oaks, and People, aregional conservation business plan for prairie and oak habitats developed by six conservation groups.Released in 2017, Prairie, Oaks, and People provides a framework for a regional strategy that spans therange of oak and prairie habitats from northwest California to British Columbia. The document describeshigh-level strategies to recover listed at-risk species, addresses broader habitat conservation objectives,and outlines a 10- to 15-year investment strategy for coordinating conservation actions acrossgeographic and institutional boundaries. Local partnerships like the OPWG are expected to be theprimary vehicle for implementing the larger regional strategy.As previously discussed, the OPWG’s strategic action plan will address priorities in the IntertwineAlliance’s Regional Conservation Strategy and those in other broad-scale conservation plans, includingthe Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s statewide Oregon Conservation Strategy (2015) and theU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Willamette Valley Conservation Study (2017). Moreover, in late 2017, theOregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) awarded grants totaling more than 300,000 tosupport development of three additional strategic action plans to guide oak and prairie conservationefforts in the upper Willamette Valley, around the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge, and in theKlamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon. Those plans, developed for the Willamette Valley OakPrairie Cooperative, East Cascades Oak Partnership, and Klamath Siskiyou Oak Network, respectively,will complement the work of OPWG partners.Together, regional efforts will help create a unified approach to conservation needs across a significantportion of the range of oak and prairie habitats in the Pacific Northwest.Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Pl

Oak and Prairie Working Group Strategic Action Plan June 2018 iii Acknowledgements Like the document that inspired it ( The Intertwine Alliance's Regional Conservation Strategy for the Greater Portland-Vancouver Region), this plan was developed using the ideas, work, and financial resources offered by many individuals and organizations.

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