WMI Helps IWJV Promote Wet Meadow Conservation

WMI Helps IWJV Promote Wet Meadow Conservation

The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) is hosting two positions to support efforts of the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) to conserve wet meadows on working lands in Southern Oregon and Northeastern California (SONEC). The SONEC Working Wet Meadows Initiative targets one of the most important staging areas for waterfowl in North America. Supporting 4.9 million waterfowl during spring migration, SONEC wet meadows serve as a critical migration stopover and breeding area for waterfowl, shorebirds, and waterbirds. Private landowners that manage wet meadows to produce forage for livestock as part of their working ranches play a key role in sustaining Pacific Flyway migratory bird populations. Many of these wet meadows occur in historic floodplains and are managed through flood-irrigation to achieve agricultural objectives and mimic natural hydrological processes.

The Carey Ranch floodplain pastures and wetlands have been maintained through reconstruction of key infrastructure in 2009 and 2010, Credit: IWJV

The new positions are supported through a collaborative funding arrangement of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, Ducks Unlimited, Inc., and the IWJV. One position will serve as the Working Wet Meadows Initiative Coordinator to accelerate conservation of working wetland habitats, enhance collaboration among partners, access and leverage habitat conservation funding, assist partner biologists with program delivery, and improve communication among conservation partners across the SONEC landscape. WMI and the IWJV are currently recruiting for this position.

WMI recently hired Kaitlin Hasler to fill the other position, a SONEC Partner Biologist, working out of the Lakeview NRCS field office in Lake County, Oregon. Kaitlin?s efforts will focus on implementing voluntary conservation projects with private landowners, utilizing NRCS Farm Bill Programs and other state and federal conservation programs, to maximize habitat benefits for wetland-dependent migratory birds. Kaitlin grew up farming and ranching in eastern Oregon and has a Bachelor?s degree in Wildlife Biology with an emphasis on Range Management and Veterinary Science from Utah State University.

Both the Coordinator and Kaitlin will work closely with private landowners, state and federal agencies, soil and water conservation districts and non-government organizations to inform stakeholders, attract additional funding, utilize emerging conservation planning tools, and deliver cooperative habitat projects on working wet meadows.

September 20, 2016