Restoring Oak Habitat in Southern Oregon & Northern California: A Guide for Private Landowners
Interested in learning how you can help protect and promote oak habitat? This 53-page document is a good place to start. Developed by Klamath Bird Observatory and Lomakatsi Restoration Project in collaboration with Bureau of Land Management, Klamath Basin Audubon Society and the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the guide provides valuable information about oak ecosystems of this area, including some of the wildlife species that depend on them and how private landowners can help restore this important habitat. Click here to download the pdf file.
Klamath-Rogue Oak Woodland Health and Habitat Conservation Project
Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
Lomakatsi, in partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Klamath Bird Observatory, is working with private landowners in Southwest Oregon and Northern California to assist them in enhancing wildlife habitat, reducing wildfire risk, and protecting and promoting oak woodland connectivity. Selected, eligible participants will receive technical and financial assistance to restore oak habitats on their property.
Focus Areas: Jackson and Klamath Counties, OR Siskiyou County, CA.
See the project flyer for more information.
Central Umpqua-Mid Klamath Oak Habitat Conservation Project
Collaborative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI)
Lomakatsi is the lead sponsor of a partnership between the Natural Resource Conservation Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Klamath Bird Observatory to promote conservation practices that help restore declining oak habitats on private lands. Selected, eligible participants were funded 50-70% of the associated cost of restoring oak habitats on their property. Several thousand acres are in the process of being treated through this partnership.
In recognition of its outstanding contributions to habitat restoration, in 2012 the Central Umpqua-Mid-Klamath Oak Habitat Conservation Project received a Partners in Conservation award from the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Focus Areas: Douglas and Jackson Counties, OR and Siskiyou County, CA.
For more information on Project Partners click here…
For More Information:
The Central-Umpqua, Mid-Klamath Oak Conservation Project
2012 Lomakatsi Restoration Project publication: Outlines the Central-Umpqua, Mid-Klamath Oak Conservation Project including the project history, partners, objectives, and the restoration strategy.
Thinning Guidelines for Ecological Enhancement of Oregon White Oak (Quercus garryana) Stands with Recent or Non-existent Conifer Invasion
2011 Lomakatsi Restoration Project publication: Provides additional information on Lomakatsi’s ecological restoration approach.
News and Articles:
Region’s oak stands ecologically important: Experts meet to discuss successful restoration work, December 4, 2012, Devan Schwartz, Herald and News, Klamath Falls, Oregon
Saving Oregon’s oak woodlands – a collaborative necessity, 02/02/12, Natural Resources Conservation Service, “Conservation Showcase,” re the oak restoration project coordinated by Lomakatsi in the Colestin Valley, with photos
Partners –A Unity of Effort Saving Oregon Oaks in the Colestin Valley, 11/15/11, US Fish & Wildlife Service Journal
“Oaks offer habitat for migratory birds — Yet only about 4 to 7 percent of Oregon’s original oak woodland habitat remains, by Paul Fattig, Medford Mail Tribune, June 23, 2011.
About Lomakatsi’s “Central Umpqua –Mid Klamath Oak Habitat Restoration Project” – the need for restoring oak habitat, and how it is being addressed by Lomakatsi and others through the Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service
Lomakatsi is a leader in the field of oak restoration. Since our inception in 1995, through a collaborative, holistic approach, we have worked to restore oak ecosystems throughout southern Oregon and northern California.
Oak Habitats at Risk
One of the most biologically diverse habitats in our region, oak environments are richer in wildlife than any other local terrestrial ecosystems. More than 300 wildlife species are known to use oaks, including dozens of resident and migratory birds. Oak habitats are important contributors to biodiversity in the Pacific Northwest, supporting communities of plants and animals that are remarkably different from adjacent agricultural fields and conifer forests. They are also among the most threatened ecological communities in the Pacific Northwest, with current estimates indicating that less than 10% of the historic oak habitats remain in Oregon. Oak habitats face a variety of stressors, and under such conditions, without changes being made to their current management, are at risk of disappearing.
Threats to Oak Habitats
- Encroachment: Frequent, low-intensity fires help shape and maintain the health and diversity of oak ecosystems. Fire suppression has removed this natural disturbance process, allowing conifers, woody shrubs, and younger oaks to become established. As a result, oak stands are becoming extremely dense, creating stress on larger oak trees and degrading overall woodland health. This has led to a reduction in habitat quality, the build-up of fuel loads, and an increased risk of uncharacteristically severe wildfire.
- Loss of Habitat Structure: Large, old oak trees that provide the limb structure, cavities, and acorn production required by many wildlife species have been lost. Due to overcrowding, remaining oaks are not developing the same structural traits.
- Exotic Invasive Species: Non-native plants like Scotch broom, English hawthorn, and Yellow starthistle have invaded the understory communities, increasing fuel loads and degrading habitat.
- Impacts to Watershed Health: Upland habitats affect aquatic systems by influencing the hydrologic function of watersheds, slope stability and erosion. Encroaching vegetation in oak systems affects watershed function by reducing water yield and increasing the potential for high-severity fire and subsequent erosion and sediment delivery to streams.
- Land Use Conversion: Oak habitats continue to be converted to other uses, such as cropland, vineyards, and residential development.
Oak Habitat Restoration Program Objectives
- Protect and promote the development of habitat for oak associated wildlife
- Curtail the decline of oak associated plant communities by reducing existing threats
- Improve watershed health and function
Oak Habitat Restoration Strategies and Priorities
- Identify, map and inventory priority oak habitat sites
- Develop restoration funding sources
- Work collaboratively with state and federal agencies, Native American tribes, private landowners and other nonprofit organizations
- Restoration project planning including developing stewardship plans, treatment prescriptions, prescribed fire burn plans and operational strategies
- On-the-ground restoration through an innovative ecological adaptive management approach
- Reintroduction of low intensity prescribed fire applications
- Utilize restoration by-products
- Ecological monitoring for long-term evaluation and research
- Eco-cultural restoration through partnerships with Native American tribes and incorporating traditional ecological knowledge in the design of oak restoration treatments.
- Community engagement and education
- Student and youth education
- Workforce training and job creation