Hope for oak and prairie, just out of sight – but within reach

Prairie and oak inventory technician, Kait Wright, and crew lead, Zade Clark-Henry, look out over a mesic meadow from beneath a girdled Douglas-fir that was encroaching on open habitat where the threatened species Nelson’s checkermallow resides.



The crew hike up a steep prairie dominated by the invasive hairy dogstail grass, but spotted with native species like the yellow seep monkeyflower in the foreground.

Contracted by BLM for IAE to do the initial survey for prairie and oak habitat on the Northwest Oregon District, we collected a range of data to assess the quality of the habitat at each site, and made preliminary recommendations for restoration actions to enhance the habitat. We searched for oaks of all shapes and sizes and other trees larger than 40 inches in diameter, identified the most common native and non-native plants, and sleuthed out what might be keeping the site open for oaks and prairie species to thrive - if the site was open at all. In a year that has been stressful for many, the potential held in these often out-of-sight prairies, and the recommended restoration actions, offer a glimmer of hope that organizations like IAE and BLM can continue to work together to restore healthier, more resilient oak habitats in Oregon.

Tiny, iridescent Klamathweed beetles feeding on invasive St. John’s wort on a ridgetop containing oak savanna and rock meadows outside of Dallas, Oregon.

IAE Prairie Oak Inventory crew selfie, from foreground to background: Zade Clark-Henry, Anna Freitas, and Kait Wright.