District Seeks to Acquire Important Habitat for Fish and Elk

At the February 27, 2018 meeting of the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Directors, a proposal to acquire 318 acres of land on and near Eagle Creek (near Estacada, Oregon) was presented to the Board. Oregon Revised Statutes chapter 568.550(1)(e) authorizes the soil and water conservation district to acquire real property.

General Manager Tom Salzer spoke with the Board regarding a property in the Eagle Creek area that adjoins Eagle Fern Park. The property is currently owned by a timber company and has been harvested and partially replanted. Some trees are 7 to 10 years old and some are 18 to 20 years old.

Land owned by Portland General Electric and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management contain mature forests that adjoin the land that Clackamas SWCD seeks to acquire.

Steelhead - photo by NMFS -Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Steelhead – photo by NMFS -Southwest Fisheries Science Center

Several streams run through the property. Native coho salmon and winter steelhead use the good habitat in streams on the property. Two elk herds also frequent the land that Clackamas SWCD seeks to acquire.

The larger opportunity presented by acquiring this property is to collaborate with adjoining landowners to create a shared vision of future management actions that would protect and restore habitat for fish and wildlife on approximately 1,375 acres. Secondary benefits could include providing additional low-impact recreational opportunities and providing a small revenue stream to Clackamas SWCD.

Clackamas SWCD views this property as a working forest and anticipates that occasional timber harvests from the land to be acquired would be sufficient to fund the maintenance of the property. Thinning is anticipated to begin in about 10 years.

Clackamas SWCD is working with The Trust for Public Land to facilitate the acquisition of this property. However, in order to secure this opportunity, Clackamas SWCD may need to secure a loan to complete this acquisition. On February 27, 2018, the Clackamas SWCD Board of Directors voted unanimously “…to authorize the General Manager to seek loan funding not to exceed $1.3 million and take on short-term debt for the purpose of purchasing the Eagle Creek property.” The motion carried unanimously.

A public hearing on acquiring this proposed debt will be held on Friday, March 30 at 4:00 pm in the Clackamas SWCD conference room at 221 Molalla Ave., Suite 102, Oregon City, OR 97045.

Public comment can also be submitted until the date and time of the hearing by sending an email to tsalzer@conservationdistrict.org or by using the contact form below:

Photo credit: NMFS -Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

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