The Oregon Legislature established the Oregon Natural Areas Program in 1979 as a way to protect high quality native ecosystems and rare plant and animal species. The program is managed by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and is guided by the Oregon Natural Area Plan, a document that describes the natural areas program in Oregon. The plan lists the ecosystems and species that drive the program, guides the selection of priority areas for the establishment of new natural areas, and assists researchers, educators, and the public in learning about or managing designated natural areas. INR's Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC) helped develop the Oregon Natural Areas Plan and assists the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department by maintaining natural areas records, providing scientific advice and coordinating with regional and national natural areas programs. ORBIC has a long history working with the Natural Areas Program and has helped guide it since 1979, when ORBIC was called the Oregon Natural Heritage Program.
If you are interested in learning more about our work, please contact Rachel Brunner.