Merkley, Wyden Announce $15M for Habitat Conservation

Wyden MerkleyOregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced $1,519,627 in federal grants headed to Oregon to help support the development of habitat conservation plans to improve the management of state and private forestlands.    

“Forests in Oregon support rural economies and are also home to countless species including vulnerable salmon,” said Senator Merkley, who serves as the Chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which funded these grants. “In this era of mega-wildfires, they’re also increasingly potential hazards if not properly managed. The Private Forest Accord was carefully crafted through collaboration between the timber industry and conservation interests to reduce wildfire risk, improve habitats, protect clean water, and support local economies, and I am pleased that these federal funds will help take that historic agreement and put it into action.”   

“The historic Private Forest Accord will go a long way in supporting Oregon’s rural economies, improving forest health and protecting clean water,” Wyden said. ”Conservation and restoring critical wildlife habitat is also at the crux of this effort, and these federal funds will ensure this work becomes a reality.”  

On February 10, 2020, 12 forest sector companies, Oregon’s largest small woodlands owner organization, and 13 conservation and fishing organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (the MOU), which laid the foundation for the Private Forest Accord process. Over a year later, in October 2021, the parties reached an historic agreement to improve the management of state and private forestlands in Oregon. A key piece of implementing that agreement is the development of a habitat conservation plan. Today’s announcement includes funding for the State of Oregon to development that plan. 

These awards are funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) and are intended to support land acquisition and conservation planning projects on over 13,500 acres of habitat for 162 listed and at-risk species through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (CESCF) across 16 states. CESCF grants contribute millions annually to support implementing state and territorial programs to conserve and recover federally listed and at-risk species on non-federal lands. This approach to conservations helps further species conservation and economic development. 

Oregon Private Forest Accord Aquatic Species Habitat Conservation Plan will receive $769,627. 

Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan will receive $750,000. 

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