THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK FOUNDATION
What was a 447-acre private inholding is now in the public’s hands in northwest Oregon. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation collaborated with a private landowner to purchase and convey the property to the surrounding Siuslaw National Forest for management and recreational use.
“The Forest Service (USFS) designated this landscape as a critical inholding since it provides important habitat for Roosevelt elk and other wildlife species,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We appreciate the previous landowner for their wildlife and conservation values and helping complete this conservation transaction.”
The property is located within the Hebo Ranger District southeast of the small community of Hebo, approximately 85 miles south and west of Portland.
“This is a great example of partners joining forces to meet a shared objective. We appreciate RMEF’s role in facilitating this land transfer, which presents us with the opportunity to connect critical fish habitat in the Three Rivers watershed and conserve prime elk habitat,” said Robert Sanchez, Siuslaw National Forest supervisor.”
In addition to elk habitat, the property is home to the headwaters of Three Rivers and the Nestucca River system, providing cold water for fish born in freshwater but spend the majority of their lives in saltwater of the nearby Pacific Ocean. The riparian habitat and meadows are among the scarcest of habitats, comprising less than one percent of the Coast Range.
“As we see in all of our land conservation and access work, these projects, though beneficial for elk, provide wide-ranging, positive impacts for many other species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “In this case, the scarcity of early successional meadow habitat within western Oregon provides an important habitat type for the Roosevelt elk that utilize the Siuslaw National Forest. RMEF has completed several habitat stewardship projects within the area.”
USFS secured Land and Water Conservation Fund dollars to complete the project.