The Willamette Valley Oak and Prairie Cooperative

January 2020

IAE is proud to serve on the Steering Committee of the Willamette Valley Oak and Prairie Cooperative, and to have played a role in drafting the Strategic Action Plan as part of a contractor team with JK Environments.  Please read on, and click the images below to learn more!

What is the Willamette Valley Oak and Prairie Cooperative?
The Willamette Valley Oak and Prairie Cooperative (WVOPC) is an emerging partnership with a long term vision to conserve and maintain prairie and oak habitats within the Willamette Valley through a regionally-focused, collaborative, and sustainable effort. The WVOPC has now completed a Strategic Action Plan with the assistance of many dedicated natural resource professionals. The next step for the WVOPC is to finalize an organizational governance structure that will help
coordinate the Plan’s implementation in the coming years.

WVOPC Strategic Action Plan
Development of the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) began in January 2018, in a process built upon the input and expertise of partners and stakeholders from around the Willamette Valley. The planning area covers approximately 2.4 million acres contained within the southern- and mid-Willamette Valley ecoregion, plus
a similar sized area contained within a 10-mile buffer referred to as the “climate resiliency area.” A twelve-person Steering Committee and a Working Group of over forty technical experts participated in the planning process and provided critical input during the development of the SAP. The plan provides a long
term vision for oak and prairie habitats and prioritizes specific ecological and cultural strategies to guide the conservation, restoration, and management of a connected network of prairie and oak habitats in the Willamette Valley. In total, 43 strategies were developed to guide implementation measures associated with
the SAP. They are organized around the five threat categories prioritized during the strategic action planning:

  • Rural and Urban Development
  • Woody Encroachment
  • Fire Exclusion
  • Agricultural Conversion and Incompatible Management
  • Non-Native Invasive Species

Why Oak and Prairie Habitat?
Oak and prairie habitats in the Willamette Valley are some of the most iconic, culturally important, and imperiled in Oregon. Despite nearly two centuries of dramatic loss and fragmentation, we still have substantial and timely habitat conservation opportunities. A focused investment strategy that takes advantage of these opportunities will provide lasting benefits for Willamette Valley oak and prairies for future generations of Oregonians. However, without swift and significant coordinated action, this window of opportunity will close, and the long term persistence of these habitats is in doubt.We risk the loss of a natural resource legacy that has been a prominent feature of the Willamette Valley for thousands of years, and that remains a remarkable part of what makes our Valley such a unique and special place to live.

For More Information
Learn more about how you or your organization can be a part of the WVOPC vision for prairie and oak habitat on the WVOPC website. For more information, please contact Nicole Maness at maness@willamettepartnership.org.

This strategic planning effort would not have been possible without funding assistance provided by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Focused Investment Partnerships Program, Land Trust Alliance, City of Eugene, and Pacific Birds Habitat Joint Venture along with our Steering Committee and Working Group members.

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