The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission approved public access, including waterfowl hunting, on the Coyote Creek South Unit of Fern Ridge Wildlife Area (WA).
In 2014, this property was purchased by ODFW using funding from the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program (WWMP). Since 2010, this and other properties purchased through WWMP have added more than 500 acres to Fern Ridge WA in Coyote Creek NE, South, SII and SIII Units.
Ducks Unlimited and ODFW finished restoration of the wetland areas on Coyote Creek South in fall 2020. The property had decreasing wetland function at the time of purchase due to failing infrastructure, nutria damage and invasive weeds. Using North America Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) funding, seven water-control structures were installed to allow ODFW precise water management on five different basins.
While the restored project is relatively new, the number of migratory birds utilizing the area has significantly improved. Post restoration planting in spring 2021 by DU volunteers and ODFW of native wetland plants and shrubs provides additional benefits to a variety of wildlife species. Upland prairie restoration began this year and included planting of numerous native upland grasses and forbs.
Hunting will open on the area this fall.
“We are really excited about expanding our reservation hunt program and providing additional hunting opportunities to the public,” said Fern Ridge Manager David Speten. “With these new hunting locations, we can provide up to 180 additional hunter days per year. The ODFW and DU relationship has resulted in a benefit to waterfowl and hunters alike, and we look forward to do more work together.”
This is one of several projects completed on Fern Ridge Wildlife Area by DU in the last five years. Future work on other Fern Ridge WA units is already in planning and fundraising stages.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 15 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.