Oregon is fortunate to have a wide diversity of incredible natural landscapes that are home to a variety of animals. From the arid desert of the Painted Hills where elk roam, to the old-growth forests along the Clackamas River which shades the runs of Coho salmon, to its rugged Pacific coastline where sea otters used to freely swim .
In 2019, the Oregon state legislature passed HB 2829, establishing the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (OCRF). The bill directs the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to use the fund toward activities to protect, maintain or enhance fish and wildlife resources in Oregon and recreational opportunities to help connect the diversity of Oregonians to Oregon’s natural world. The legislation established an Advisory Committee to guide the ODFW and the Fish and Wildlife Commission on the use of the funds raised. The fund is designed to prioritize projects that implement the Oregon Conservation Strategy, a state strategy for conserving fish and wildlife populations and restoring functioning habitat.
Wildlands Network joined an initial kick-off meeting for the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund (OCRF) in late 2019, and have been supporting the project ever since! We’re committed to the OCRF’s effort to support increased funding for critical conservation efforts in Oregon. We also back the Fund’s aim to ensure the state legislature adequately funds agency actions that enhance conservation, and implements actions from other bills like HB 2834, the Oregon Wildlife Corridor and Safe Crossing Act passed in 2019, which we supported.
We are working with a diverse coalition of more than 60 organizations to introduce the OCRF to Oregonians. We hope that by seeking broad support for conserving wildlife, wildlife habitat and connecting people with nature, this effort will showcase and reinforce Oregonians’ deep commitment to their wildlife and wildlands.
Alongside partners, we hosted a virtual event in July of this year to introduce the campaign’s social media toolkit, website, and the broad, diverse, and bipartisan support of the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund. To date the fund has raised approximately $180,000 through smaller donations. The first round of eight projects supported by the OCRF was recently announced, and included support for the Portland Audubon Backyard BioBlitz, the Gilchrist Underpass Wildlife Directional Fencing, and a feasibility study for restoring sea otters to the Oregon Coast. The second round of applications for OCRF funding are due by October 21, 2020.
As the OCRF campaign develops, we are excited that this effort helps celebrate the conservationist in us all. OCRF supports new and expanding conservation projects, while also reducing barriers for underserved communities to connect to the Oregon that is all of ours.
Join us in celebrating a new conservation spirit! Encourage your friends and family to give from one dollar to more to Oregon’s critical conservation needs through the OCRF. This is an opportunity to work together to build a brighter future for all Oregon species.
For more information or to donate to the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund, visit Oregonisalive.org.