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  Click Here to Subscribe June 2010  

Ecosystem Services:

Integrated Conservation Priorities and Monitoring:

The Oregon Explorer Program:

New Natural Resources Economy:

Other INR News:


Director’s Note:

Spring 2010 brings many changes to INR: the Integrated Landscape Assessment Project with the Forest Service’s PNW Station allowed us to hire 14 new employees; INR has become truly multi-campus with INR-Portland (formerly the Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center) moving from the offices provided by The Nature Conservancy to Portland State University; and in conjunction with INR’s external review, I announced that I intend to step down as Director no later than June 2011.

Our external review team met with INR staff, university faculty and our external partners for two days in early April.   Thanks to all of you who participated!  Hal Salwasser, Dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University lead the team, which included Jackie Dingfelder, Oregon State Senator; Frances Bronet, Dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon; William Feyerherm, Vice Provost for Research at Portland State University; and Joyce Berry, Dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University.  The team completed its final report on April 28, 2010. The good news is that they found, “A powerful and consistent message from all people interviewed was that INR is delivering great value to Oregon’s aspiration to become more sustainable in its use and stewardship of natural resources.”  The biggest challenge continues to be “insufficient funding to sustain program continuity.” We are now working with Rich Holdren, OSU’s Vice President for Research, to develop an action plan following up on the team’s recommendations.  The review and action plan will lay the foundation for INR’s future growth and development.

As you will see in the newsletter, INR’s work on Willamette Basin restoration, ecosystem service markets and landscape scale ecological assessment methods continues to grow.  So does our engagement in policy development with our work on the Oregon Business Council Water Policy Task Force and the Energy Policy Council.

Fall 2010 we will roll out our new website that will feature our Programs, focus areas, products, and “what we do”.

- Gail Achterman

Ecosystem Services:

INR Begins Collaborative Restoration Project for the Willamette

The policy research program has received funding from Meyer Memorial Trust to help convene and shepherd a restoration and management planning process on a reach of the mainstem of the Willamette River in the Harkens Lake area south of Corvallis. INR will help engage landowners, scientists, regulatory and resource managers, and other stakeholders in synthesizing and analyzing current conditions in the river reach, as well as upstream and downstream reach conditions and processes. Apart from the crucial willingness of key landowners to consider restoration on their riverfront farmland, the project builds on decades of work by many people, including principals of the Willamette Futures project Stan Gregory (OSU), Dave Hulse (UO), and Joan Baker (EPA); Karen Strohmeyer of the Cascade Pacific RC&D Council; George McAdams and Jeff Powers of Benton County; Michael Pope and Carlene McCabe of Greenbelt Land Trust; and numerous other agency and NGO personnel.

The mainstem of the Willamette presents significant restoration challenges, owing to the high level of development and large number of landowners. The Meyer-funded work will seek to clarify common and shared experiences, goals, obstacles, and commitments with a particular focus on perceptions of risk and reward around floodplain restoration. INR will identify knowledge gaps and priorities for developing additional information through studies and monitoring. The restoration and management plans will be designed collaboratively, and will incorporate landowner knowledge, preferences, and needs, along with current science developed through OUS research.


INR Assists Senate Bill 513 Working Group

Photo of Calapooia River (USDA ARS).

INR has been contracted to provide background research, report writing, and project team guidance for the Working Group on Senate Bill 513. The bill includes formal recognition that maintaining sustainable rural landscapes is important to people, and that landowners need assistance to maintain ecological values on the land and pass it on to future generations. Specific provisions establish a state policy supporting the maintenance, enhancement and restoration of ecosystem services throughout Oregon, focusing on the protection of land, water, air, soil and native flora and fauna, and explicitly authorizes the use of adaptive management. 

The bill created the working group to address several thorny issues, including the need to develop shared conservation goals, how to develop more consistency in ecosystem service accounting, how to integrate the activities of multiple agencies and other actors, and the appropriate role of government in guiding markets for ecosystem services. The work group is in the phase of developing and prioritizing draft recommendations. Final policy recommendations will be presented to the 2011 legislature.


Ecosystem Services Financial Mechanisms Report Completed

This winter, INR completed a report on financial mechanisms for landowners interested in ecosystem services markets. The Phase I report was circulated nationally and reviewed positively by the new Office of Environmental Markets (OEM) in Washington DC. OEM was created through the Conservation Title in the 2008 Farm Bill to address policy issues and communities of practice concerning ecosystem service markets. INR is working with other Bullitt grantees, including Defenders of Wildlife, the American Farmland Trust and Ecotrust to build a ecosystem services learning network in the Pacific Northwest.


Proposal Submitted on Enhancing Ecosystem Service Opportunities for Landowners

INR has submitted a National Conservation Innovations Grant to consider the potential role of existing institutions in accelerating restoration and conservation projects on the ground, and to test two new approaches, one administrative, one marketing, that could contribute to better ecological and economic results at the watershed scale. This work, if funded, will dovetail with a grant awarded to OSU researcher Hannah Gosnell and UO researchers Cass Moseley and Max Nielsen-Pincus to enhance the capacity of ranchers and family forest owners to capitalize on the growing demand for provision of ecosystem services (PES) associated with extensive agroecosystems. That work seeks to identify factors affecting landowner participation in PES schemes, use that knowledge to improve outreach and education, and help policy makers develop landowner-friendly policies.


McKenzie River Basin Ecosystem Services Project Begins

Photo of McKenzie River (USGS).INR is excited to partner with the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) on the McKenzie River Basin Ecosystem Services Project, which will take the first steps towards measuring the ecosystem services provided by a small tract of forestland that EWEB manages in the McKenzie River Basin and developing ecosystem services markets in the McKenzie River Basin. The ecosystem services that will be studied include carbon storage, wildlife habitat and water quality.

The changes in delivery of these services that result from alternative management practices will be quantified with a variety of stand and landscape-scale models.  The ultimate intent is to develop a model in which EWEB will offer private landowners compensation for adopting management practices that augment delivery of ecosystem services. This project emphasizes the practical applications of cutting edge science and creates linkages and partnerships between a variety of institutions and organizations, potentially including not only EWEB but also Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and Ecotrust. 

EWEB is the largest public utility in Oregon, providing energy and water services to the City of Eugene and adjacent suburban areas. The McKenzie is the sole source of drinking water for this service area, and also the site of two hydroelectric projects that provide electricity to EWEB customers.  The McKenzie River Basin Ecosystem Services Project will be an important contributor to EWEB’s goal of creating a national mode for sustainable water and electric utility operations.

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Integrated Conservation Priorities and Monitoring:

The Integrated Landscape Analysis Project

Photo of Blue Mountains.The Integrated Landscape Assessment Project (ILAP) is off to a terrific start with approximately 50 jobs created or retained in Corvallis, Portland, Olympia, Albuquerque, and Flagstaff.  Advisory groups have been established for the Northwest and Southwest –representing the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, The Nature Conservancy, and state forestry and natural resource agencies – have helped expand the scope of the project, from an initial focus on fuel prioritization to a broader range of landscape-level goals across all lands in the four-state project area (Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and New Mexico).

The project is well on its way to developing statewide data layers that represent current vegetation conditions, potential vegetation, and standardized management/ownership allocations by December 2010.  Analysts will use this information as input data to the Vegetation Dynamics Development Tool (VDDT) modeling program to project vegetation conditions over time for 5th field watersheds. Various agencies have already developed VDDT models for many forest vegetation types in the Northwest and Southwest, but ILAP provides the resources to expand these models for all forestlands, shrublands, and grasslands in the four-state area by March 2011.   

The next step will be to provide the GIS and VDDT data to the various project teams addressing wildlife, fuel characteristics, and fuel treatment costs and revenues over time.  In addition, community economics and climate change impacts on fire probabilities, vegetation, water supply, watershed conditions, and fish will be evaluated in particular areas.  Decision support teams will then integrate these data into a variety of tools that will inform management decisions, forest plan revisions, statewide assessments, collaborative landscape restoration projects, and other applications across large landscapes.

To date, twelve teams have formed to address the science delivery, knowledge discovery and decision support aspects of this multi-disciplinary project.  All project products are expected to be available by December 2011. For more information about visit the ILAP project website.


INR Partner Receives USFWS Recovery Champions Award

Restoration team photo.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded its Endangered Species Recovery Champion Award to the Willamette Valley Prairie Restoration Team at the Portland Ecological Services Field Office. The Recovery Champion award recognizes exceptional conservation accomplishments and strong partnerships. Biologists at the Ecological Services Field Office were honored for ecosystem level protection of a suite of Willamette Valley species through collaboration with private landowners and agency stakeholders. INR has been working with the Willamette Valley Restoration Team for the past eight years to facilitate projects and distribute funding for habitat restoration for the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly through the Endangered Species Act invertebrate section 6 grants program. INR’s Information Program has also been a partner in tracking the status of the rare plants involved in this recovery project: Kincaid’s lupine, golden paintbrush, Nelson’s checker-mallow, Willamette daisy, and Bradshaw’s desert parsley. We congratulate the Willamette Valley Prairie Restoration Team on their accomplishments!


2010 Updates to Rare Species Lists

The PDF version of the entire 2010 book “Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species of Oregon” will be available later this spring. Individual sections (e.g. Vascular Plants, Non-Vascular Plants, Vertebrates, and Invertebrates) will be posted on the INR and INR-Portland websites as they become available for downloading. Currently available for downloading are: The 2010 RTE Vascular Plants List, Vascular Plants (PDF, 138 KB). And the 2010 RTE Nonvascular Plants, Lichens, Fungi, and Algae List, Nonvascular Plants (PDF, 72 KB).


INR Facilitates Coastal Wetlands Data and Information Meeting

Coastal fen, image taken by John Christy. On April 19-20 in Newport, INR facilitated a Coastal Wetlands Data and Information Meeting. The meeting was organized by The Wetlands Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and was endorsed by the Department of Land Conservation and Development. More than thirty people representing local, state, and federal agencies, watershed councils, non-governmental organizations, and consultants participated in the meeting. A report will be forthcoming.


Stakeholder Committee Approves Upper Willamette Recovery Plan Draft

Gail Achterman’s work as chair of the Stakeholder Committee for the Upper Willamette Recovery Plan for spring Chinook and winter steelhead culminated in the committee’s approval of the draft recovery plan on April 9, 2010.  The working draft plan is available online. Gail and Sue Knapp of Governor Kulongoski’s office met with numerous elected officials and trade associations in April to brief them on the plan and its implications.

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Oregon Explorer Program:

Expanded Water Basin and Restoration Data Now Available from the Oregon Explorer

The Oregon Explorer series includes a new website, the Deschutes Basin Explorer.  This is the first east-of-the-Cascades basin portal within the Explorer series.  The website highlights the extensive work in the areas of watershed restoration and salmon and steelhead reintroduction that is underway in the Deschutes Basin.  Development of the site was supported by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB).  Extensive input from local partners, such as the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council and the Deschutes River Conservancy, helps ensure the site is relevant, informative, and up-to-date.  The efforts of these and other conservation groups, agency partners and concerned local citizens are detailed on the new site, which was launched in late May.

Additional improvements to the Oregon Explorer series have been supported by recent OWEB investments.  A second eastside website, the Lakes Basin Explorer, will be launched in June and features information about the Closed Lakes Basin in southeastern Oregon.  Also, the Oregon Watershed Restoration Tool is being updated to include new data from the Oregon Watershed Restoration Inventory, along with federal and local restoration datasets.  By the end of June, the Restoration Tool also will have new reporting features that allows users to generate information about financial investments in watershed restoration throughout Oregon and the outcomes of these investments, such as miles of streamside area planted to help shade streams or create habitat, number of barriers (e.g., culverts) removed so that native fish have access to additional stream habitat, and other restoration results.


Oregon Explorer Hosts GIS Intern, Tyler Barnes

Photo of Tyler Barns.Over the past year, the Oregon Explorer team has had the assistance of an outstanding graduate student, Tyler Barns.  Tyler came to OSU to earn a Professional Science M.S. in Environmental Science and a certificate from the GIScience Graduate Certificate Program, and these programs led him to the Oregon Explorer program.  Already well-versed in natural resource data collection, interpretation, preservation, and reporting; mindful of the importance of technical accuracy in science and the crucial role of communication in collaboration; and experienced as a field biologist and a California Environmental Quality Act analyst, Tyler was up for the challenges he would meet working on the Oregon Explorer.  His accomplishments here include maintaining various mapping services on networked servers and implementing advanced GIS techniques including programming and web-based GIS applications.  You can learn more about Tyler ’s experience and achievements in his report, "The Oregon Explorer Experience: An Internship with a Statewide Geospatial Atlas."  His efforts impressed his superiors, who nominated him for OSU ESRI Development Center Student of the Year, and attracted the attention of the Powered by Orange campaign at OSU, which will feature Tyler in an upcoming segment on his work with the Oregon Explorer program.


Links to Oregon Explorer Portals

The Oregon Explorer (OE) uses the power of cutting edge information technology to create a state-of-the-art web-accessible natural resources digital library. OE builds upon, accesses and integrates data from state and federal agencies, local governments, university scientists and citizens to support informed decisions and actions by people concerned with Oregon’s natural resources and environment. Visit one or all of the Oregon Explorer digital natural resource library portals:

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New Natural Resources Economy:

Natural Resources and the Rural Economy

The Policy Research Program, in collaboration with the Institute for Policy Research and Innovation (IPRI) at the University Oregon, has been exploring the concept of the New Natural Resource Economy (NNRE) as a strategy for rural economic development. NNRE recognizes that rural communities are significant repositories of natural resources that contribute to society’s well being. They supply timber, food, and other products as well as ecosystem services such as clean water, clean air, and biodiversity. New ways of utilizing these resources that complement traditional commodity production have the potential to help rural communities diversify their economic bases, adding to community resilience. They also have the potential to reduce disputes between those who believe the continued socio-economic health of rural communities depends on commodity production and those who prioritize the needs of natural systems by linking ecological integrity, economic opportunity, and community. NNRE includes utilization and enhancement of communities’ natural resource base which comprises, among other things, watershed restoration, values chain production models for a variety of agricultural products, bioproducts and ecosystem services.

IPRI is funding a research forum in June, which will be co-hosted by the Institute for a Sustainable Environment (ISE) at the University of Oregon as well as by INR. The purpose of the forum is to bring together rural development and resource management practitioners and researchers to explore different aspects of the emerging NNRE. Forum objectives include a high-level critical exchange of ideas to help practitioners be more effective in their work and to improve the quality of research being done on this crucial subject. Additionally, the forum will be the starting point for an edited book on NNRE.

Oregon is in a good position to become a model for NNRE policy and programs because of its diverse and abundant natural resources coupled with its strong social, business and government commitment to sustainability. IPRI and INR are continuing to work together to establish a research and a policy agenda around NNRE using a logic model to guide development:

New Natural Resources Economy illustration.

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Other INR News:

INR Now Located at Oregon State University and Portland State University

As of May 15th the INR Oregon Natural Heritage Information Center has been transferred from Oregon State University to Portland State University and has been renamed the INR- Portland.  INR-Portland is now housed within the newly established School of the Environment in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. INR-Portland continues to be part of the Institute for Natural Resources, which will now operate within both Oregon State University and Portland State University. INR-Portland will have three primary programs:

  1. ORBIC or the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center - ORBIC will include most of our former ORNHIC staff with a mission to maintain and distribute biodiversity information for the state. This information includes at-risk species data, species data for all vertebrates and vascular plants, and data on invasive taxa from Oregon.  This center will continue to manage the Section 6 Invertebrate Species Program on behalf of the Department of State Lands.  ORBIC staff will be PSU faculty or researchers.

  2. Oregon Natural Areas Program - The official state natural heritage program has become the “Oregon Natural Areas Program”, through changes in the Natural Heritage Act made by the Oregon Legislature in 2009. The program is managed by the Department of State Lands. INR Portland provides staff to support the program and the Natural Areas Program’s Advisory Council, via an interagency agreement.  This program will also be managed by PSU staff in Portland.

  3. Pacific Northwest Landscape Assessment and Mapping Program (PNW – LAMP) - This includes INR Portland’s vegetation mapping, imagery interpretation, modeling and most GIS analysts.  Between May 15, 2010 and March 31, 2012, all but one PNW-LAMP program staff will remain as OSU faculty research assistants or associates working on the INR Integrated Landscape Assessment Project (ILAP), a Recovery Act project. The program is focused on mapping existing vegetation, modeling vegetation conditions and structure, improving historic and potential natural vegetation, and developing information needed for management and conservation analyses.  The PNW – LAMP is to remain a partnership between INR, the Forest Service’s PNW Research Station, and the College of Forestry at OSU.

INR Portland will be located in Suite 335 on the third floor of the University Center Building (UCB) at 527 SW Hall Street in downtown Portland. We will let everyone know our new phone numbers, web site and mailing address after we have moved.


Cooperative Ecosystems Study Units: Partnering with Federal Agencies

By way of the Pacific Northwest Cooperative Ecosystem Study Unit (PNW CESU), Oregon State University, Portland State University, the University of Oregon, and Southern Oregon University are partners in the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units (CESU) National Network. This cooperative network of federal agencies and universities is established to improve the scientific base for managing federal lands by providing resource managers with high-quality scientific research, technical assistance, and education.

Hosted by the University of Washington, the PNW CESU is a cooperative venture between 17 leading academic institutions in the Pacific Northwest region, one state agency and ten federal land management and natural resource research organizations. Since beginning in October 2000, over 250 biological, physical, social, cultural and interdisciplinary sciences projects have been funded through the PNW CESU Cooperative Agreement. In FY09, 41 projects were funded through the PNW CESU of which 9 (22%) were led by OSU, 3 by PSU, 2 by UO, and 1 by SOU, totaling $654,530.

Projects are implemented through the issuance of Task Agreements against the PNW CESU’s Cooperative Agreement:

  • Project approval is noncompetitive between partners.
  • All projects must have direct relevance to the PNW CESU mission.
  • Projects are collaborative between partners, not contractual.
  • Partner institutions agree to a 17.5% overhead.
  • Project funds may be transferred between institutions or from an agency to an institution, but not directly between agencies or from an institution to an agency. Mechanisms other than the CESU agreement are available for transferring funds between agencies.

For more information about the PNW CESU contact Lisa Gaines for OSU, Jennifer Allen for PSU, Steven Jessup for SOU, or Paula Roberts for UO.

OSU is also a partner in the Great Basin and the Colorado Plateau CESUs.

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INR Staff Reports, Publications and Videos:


Conway, Flaxen, John Stevenson, Daniel Hunter, Maria Stefanovich, Holly Campbell, Zack Covell, and Yao Yin. 2010. Ocean space, ocean place, The human dimensions of wave energy in Oregon. Oceanogrpahy 23(2): 82-91.

Ewing, Amy. 2010. Seeking Balance in Oregon's Coastal River Aggregate Mining Policy: How Do Scientists Inform the Permit Streamlining Process? Masters of Public Policy Essay. Oregon State University. March 25.

Jarvis, Todd. 2010.  Community-based approaches to conflict management: Umatilla County critical groundwater areas, Umatilla County, Oregon, USA. In Negotiate Case Studies. IUCN Water Program.

Johnston, James. 2010. Peace on the rim. Forest Magazine. pp. 22-26. Spring.

Salwasser, Janine and Bonnie Avery. 2010. Developing the Oregon ExplorerTM -- a Natural Resources Digital Library. Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship . Winter. 


Achterman, Gail. 2009. Solving Sustainable Development Problems. Oregon State University Powered by Orange, Food Energy Water Series. YouTube. October.

Anderson, Kristin M. and Lisa Gaines. 2009. International water pricing: An overview and historic and modern case studies. In Managing and Transforming Water Conflicts by Jerome Delli Priscoli and Aaron T. Wolf. Cambridge University Press. New York, New York pp. 249-265.

Duncan, Sally and Norm Johnson (eds). 2009. Historical and Future Ranges of Variability. Special Issue of Ecology and Society. 14(1).

Hibbard, Michael and Susan Lurie. 2009. Socio-Economic Measures for Intensively Monitored Watersheds:  The Middle Fork John Day Effectiveness Monitoring Project. A Report for the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Institute for Policy Research and Innovation, University of Oregon.

Jarvis, Todd. 2009. Ground Water Management Plans. Oregon State University Powered by Orange, Food Energy Water Series. YouTube. December.

Jones, Julia A., G.L. Achterman, L.A. Augustine, I.F. Creed, P.F. Ffolliott, L. MacDonald and B.C. Wemple. 2009. Hydrologic effects of a changing forested landscape—challenges for the hydrologic sciences, Hydrological Processes 23:2699-2704.

Lauten, David J., Kathleen A. Castelein, J. Daniel Farrar, Hendrik G. Herlyn, and Eleanor P. Gaines. 2009. The Distribution and Reproductive Success of the Western Snowy Plover along the Oregon Coast – 2009. December 30. 


Achterman, Gail and Robert Mauger. (forthcoming). Symposium: Next generation conservation: The government’s role in emerging ecosystem service markets: The state and regional role in developing ecosystem service markets. Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum. Vol. 20.

Robinson, Catherine J., Richard D. Margerum, Tomas M. Koontz, Cassandra Moseley and Sue Lurie.. (forthcoming). Policy-level collaboratives for environmental management at the regional scale: Lessons and challenges from Australia and the United States. Society and Natural Resources.

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