On a foggy summer morning typical of the north Oregon Coast, a group of volunteers from the Lincoln County Chapter of Oregon Hunter’s Association (OHA) were hard at work in one of the Hebo Ranger District’s local meadows. They were working to help maintain habitat for a variety of wildlife species and to reduce invasive plants.
“I greatly value the partnership we have with Oregon Hunter’s Association,” said George Buckingham, the district’s ranger. “The commitment and dedication of OHA’s volunteers has been invaluable.”
Working closely with U.S. Forest Service biologists, members of the OHA learn how to identify non-native grasses, noxious weeds, invasive species, ferns, blackberries, trees and shrubs that are choking out the native species and closing in open spaces.
Over the last three years, the group has maintained about 60 acres of meadow habitat to benefit a variety of wildlife species, including Roosevelt Elk and western bluebirds. The chapter has provided the services, equipment and labor necessary for maintaining the meadows.
“Our members really enjoy working with the Forest Service on this restoration project,” said Thomas Zandoli, president of the Lincoln County Chapter of OHA. “These projects give us a hands-on opportunity to meet our organization’s mission of enhancing wildlife habitat, protecting hunters’ rights, and providing for abundant huntable wildlife resources in Oregon for present and future generations.”
“Meadow areas are important habitat for many animals and without our work to reduce or eliminate encroaching plants these meadows will be lost,” said district wildlife biologist Michelle Dragoo. “These meadows are sanctuaries for many species of animals that cannot survive in forested habitats alone.”
The Hebo Ranger District, one of two districts on the Siuslaw National Forest, is located on the north Oregon Coast covering 154,000 acres of beach, rivers and rainforest. It manages a variety of programs ranging from fisheries to off-highway recreation, oceanfront trails to forest ecosystems. The district serves communities from Lincoln City north to Tillamook and also draws from the Portland metropolitan area.