Last October, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's (ODFW) Willamette Valley Wildlife Mitigation Program approved Ducks Unlimited's proposal to protect and restore a 90-acre parcel of floodplain habitat along the Yamhill River near Amity, Oregon. The property is currently in agricultural production and has potential to provide important wetland, riparian, and oak woodland habitats that benefit waterfowl and many other wildlife species.
The South Yamhill Floodplain Project will protect the property with a conservation easement held by DU, and restore of a variety of important native habitats that are a priority in ODFW's Oregon Conservation Strategy. DU will restore 33 acres of seasonal emergent wetlands, 16 acres of forested wetlands, and six acres of oak savanna.
In 2010, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and the state of Oregon signed an agreement that guarantees $117 million for fish and wildlife habitat conservation and restoration, protecting at least 16,880 acres of native habitats to settle mitigation obligations from hydroelectric dams in the Willamette Basin. This is a relatively new program, and DU envisions this project as the beginning of a productive partnership with ODFW, BPA, tribal interests, and others to conserve wetlands and a variety of other native habitats. This project will also benefit steelhead by removing a fish barrier and opening up 1,300 feet of off-channel habitat while conserving the stream flow of the Yamhill River. —Tom Dwyer