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Virtual events, website offer a look at potential Elliott State Research Forest - 10/21/20

A new website and upcoming virtual events offer opportunities to learn more about the potential Elliott State Research Forest and provide feedback.

The State Land Board in December 2018 asked the Department of State Lands and Oregon State University to explore transforming the Elliott State Forest into a publicly owned research forest.

Over the past two years – with input from advisory committees, Tribes, state and local governments, stakeholders, and the public – key elements of a research forest proposal have been drafted.

Draft proposal elements are online now for viewing, feedback
Draft proposal elements are available now on a new Elliott State Forest Research Proposal website. The draft elements include information about:

  • OSU’s approach to research, including the research design that will guide future experiments and management of the forest.
  • OSU’s commitments to a research forest that supports conservation, recreation, education, and local and regional economies.
  • OSU’s commitments to public accountability in forest decision-making and governance, as well as a proposed governance structure.
  • How OSU will financially support the proposed research forest.

Written feedback may be provided via online form, .hansen@state.or.us?subject=Elliott%20State%20Research%20Forest%20Feedback">email, or by postal mail to ESRF Feedback, 775 Summer St. NE, Suite 100, Salem, Oregon 97301. Feedback may also be provided during upcoming virtual events. Feedback should be received no later than Friday, Nov. 13 to be considered.

Virtual events scheduled for October and November
DSL and OSU are hosting six virtual events via Zoom in late October and early November: two public forums and four drop-in events. These events offer two different ways to learn about the proposal, ask questions, and provide feedback.

Public Forums: The forums include presentations from DSL and OSU, a question and answer session, and time for public feedback. The forums are scheduled for Oct. 26 and Nov. 5 at 5:30 p.m.

Drop-In Sessions: The informal drop-in sessions are times when OSU and DSL staff will be available on Zoom to answer questions and receive feedback. Attendees can join in any time during the drop-in session. The drop-in events are scheduled for Oct. 27 and Nov. 4 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and Oct. 29 and Nov. 6 from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Event links and additional information are available on the ESRF proposal website.

Land Board to consider OSU research forest proposal in December
OSU will present an Elliott State Research Forest proposal to the State Land Board for consideration on Dec. 8.

A successful proposal will be consistent with the Land Board’s vision for the forest, which includes keeping the forest publicly owned with public access; decoupling the forest from the Common School Fund and compensating the fund for the forest; continuing habitat conservation planning to protect species and allow for harvest; and providing for multiple forest benefits, including recreation, education and working forest research.

State Land Board honors Oregon Natural Desert Association's Jefferson Jacobs - 10/13/20

BEND, Ore. – The State Land Board today honored Jefferson Jacobs – whose commitment to engaging volunteers in restoration projects has enhanced thousands of lives along with thousands of acres – with a Land Board Award.

“The work Jefferson does to organize, motivate, and guide volunteers is some of the hardest and most important work a restoration professional can do,” says Governor Kate Brown, who presented the award in a virtual ceremony. “He’s not only enhancing state lands and waterways, he’s encouraging passionate stewardship.”

Jacobs has led riparian restoration projects in Oregon for more than a decade. Rethinking the role of volunteers, he says, has big benefits.

“The idea of using volunteers for meaningful restoration work is totally far out,” says Jacobs, the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s Riparian Restoration Coordinator. “People think, well, volunteers can pull cheat grass or pick up cigarette butts. Beginning projects by looking at volunteers as a ready resource led us to realize how much significant work can be done by hand.”

The effectiveness of that approach is showcased in a recent habitat enhancement project at Hay Creek, in Cottonwood Canyon State Park in Gilliam County. Jacobs coordinated numerous multi-day work outings with 2,613 volunteer hours accomplished by a total of 119 individual volunteers. The work creates an opportunity to do something of immediate consequence – and also to make change over time, Jacobs says.

“In the evenings, we’d be sitting around a campfire talking about the ecology of an area and how it’s changing, which helps volunteers really see their contributions. Projects need them, and we are designing those projects to maximize the benefits they bring.”

Jefferson’s particular talent is inspiration, says Oregon Natural Desert Association Executive Director Ryan Houston. 

“Whatever a project needs – whether it’s more hands, more resources, or community support – his spark lights the way for others to get involved,” Houston says. 

The Land Board Awards honor exceptional partners for their contributions to protecting and enhancing Oregon’s treasured natural resources. Inspired by Jacobs, the Oregon Department of State Lands this year added a new category of partnership award.

“Jefferson today received the first Catalyst Award, which will henceforth recognize an individual partner whose efforts advance significant change,” says DSL Director Vicki L. Walker. “He is an amazing example of what a partner can do to increase stewardship of state lands and waterways.”

Learn more about all 2020 Land Board winners on the awards website or view the awards ceremony on the DSL YouTube Channel.

About the State Land Board and the Department of State Lands: The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Bev Clarno and State Treasurer Tobias Read. Established by the Oregon Constitution in 1859, the Land Board oversees the state’s Common School Fund. The Department of State Lands is the Land Board’s administrative agency, managing the lands and resources that help fund Oregon’s public schools and protecting the state’s waterways and wetlands for the many benefits they provide.

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2020 Land Board Award winner photos for media use are available here.

 

SOLVE and Metro honored with Land Board Award - 10/13/20

PORTLAND, Ore. – The State Land Board today recognized SOLVE and Metro as collaborative, compassionate partners in the state’s ongoing efforts to clean up camps along Oregon waterways. 

“This partnership is a wonderful example of state and local governments and nonprofit organizations working together to address tough issues thoughtfully and compassionately,” says Governor Kate Brown, who presented the award in a virtual ceremony.

Camp cleanups are complex work – particularly when respecting both people and natural resources is the goal.

“We quickly realized this was not work we could do alone,” says Patricia Fox, who coordinates the Department of State Lands cleanup work. “To make progress, we needed partners with different skills and strengths.”

Enter Metro and SOLVE. Metro’s RID Patrol team cleans up dumped or abandoned garbage, work that’s increasingly involved engaging the houseless community. SOLVE’s volunteer-powered cleanup projects have helped protect the health of Oregon’s lands and waterways for decades. 

Metro’s approach to cleanups has evolved over time, says Community Stewardship Manager Stephanie Rawson, as the team learned more about issues affecting the houseless community and joined with partners like Multnomah County’s Joint Office of Homeless Services.

“Initially, there was a lot of fear and misunderstanding related to camp cleanups,” Rawson says. “The more people we met with stories they were willing to share, the more insight we gained into how to better do this work, and the more respect and responsiveness came to the forefront.” 

Putting DSL partnership agreements in place with both organizations has made the collaborative efforts much more effective.

“When the need is there, we can pull in volunteers and go out and do the work, without the hurdles that slow us down,” says Kris Carico, SOLVE’s Chief Executive Officer. “That is a dream partnership.”

The Land Board Awards honor exceptional projects and partners for their contributions to protecting and enhancing Oregon’s treasured natural resources.  Learn more about all 2020 Land Board Award winners on the awards website or view the awards ceremony on the DSL YouTube Channel.

About the State Land Board and the Department of State Lands: The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Bev Clarno and State Treasurer Tobias Read. Established by the Oregon Constitution in 1859, the Land Board oversees the state’s Common School Fund. The Department of State Lands is the Land Board’s administrative agency, managing the lands and resources that help fund Oregon’s public schools and protecting the state’s waterways and wetlands for the many benefits they provide.

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2020 Land Board Award winner photos are available for download here.

State Land Board honors Opal Springs Fish Passage Project - 10/13/20

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ore.—The Opal Springs Volitional Fish Passage project was honored today with a State Land Board Award, recognizing a longtime collaborative effort to eliminate a major fish migration barrier in the Crooked River Watershed.

“Native steelhead and salmon now have easy, safe entry to Crooked River habitat,” says Secretary of State Bev Clarno, who presented the award in a virtual ceremony. “This project marks the completion of one of Oregon’s highest priority fish passage projects.”

The project, which raised the Opal Springs dam pool height and installed a fish ladder, opens 125 miles of Crooked River habitat for native steelhead and salmon. Project partners worked together for decades to support, fundraise, and advocate for completion of the project.

Their efforts paid off. In November 2019 – just hours after completion of the fish ladder – a steelhead entered the Crooked River without human help for the first time in more than 50 years. In the months since, 28 steelhead have gained safe passage.

“We knew what needed to happen to help these fish,” says Chris Gannon, Director of the Crooked River Watershed Council. “Collaborating, staying focused and looking for the right opportunities at the right time, and coming together to raise a project, is the Oregon way. This project is an achievement for all of Oregon.”

The Deschutes Valley Water District’s collaborators also included project team Kleinschmidt Group, Otak, JACOBS and RSCI Group, and partners the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Oregon Water Resources Department, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Trout Unlimited, Portland General Electric, Energy Trust of Oregon and Deschutes Partnership.

Finlay Anderson, who managed the project for Kleinschmidt, noted that “this effort benefited from a strong culture of collaboration and problem solving in the Deschutes Basin by stakeholders who have been working to improve habitat and support the reintroduction of anadromous species.”

“As the project owner we have experienced firsthand the benefits of assembling a strong project management team to organize and prioritize the various stakeholder interests and support the interconnected organizational relationships over the extended duration of the project,” says Joel Gehrett, General Manager, Deschutes Valley Water District.

As a result of the efforts to provide fish passage, the Opal Springs Hydroelectric Project was able to obtain Low Impact Hydropower Institute certification, which recognizes reduction of environmental impacts.

The Land Board Awards honor exceptional projects for their contributions to protecting and enhancing Oregon’s treasured natural resources. The projects and partners honored consistently demonstrate how much can be accomplished when Oregonians work together to help our lands and waters thrive.

“So much can be accomplished when partners join to achieve a project, and the Opal Springs fish passage is a stellar example,” says Oregon Department of State Lands Director Vicki L. Walker.

Learn more about all 2020 Land Board Award winners on the awards website or view the awards ceremony on the DSL YouTube Channel.

About the State Land Board and the Department of State Lands: The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Bev Clarno and State Treasurer Tobias Read. Established by the Oregon Constitution in 1859, the Land Board oversees the state’s Common School Fund. The Department of State Lands is the Land Board’s administrative agency, managing the lands and resources that help fund Oregon’s public schools and protecting the state’s waterways and wetlands for the many benefits they provide.

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2020 Land Board Award winner photos are available for download here.

Vernal pool restoration project honored with Land Board Award - 10/13/20

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – A southwest Oregon mitigation project that restored wetlands and returned abundant native species to nearly 200 acres of rare vernal pool habitat was honored today with a State Land Board Award.

“This project is a major achievement in restoring vernal pool habitat,” says Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read, who presented the award during a virtual ceremony. “Years of hard work, innovation, and collaboration resulted in an outstanding outcome for Oregon.”

Vernal pools, an unusual wetland type found in Jackson County, fill during the rainy season and dry in the summer heat. Unique plants and animals evolved to survive that cycle – including threatened species vernal pool fairy shrimp and endangered plants Cook’s desert parsley and large-flowered wooly meadowfoam.

Much Jackson County vernal pool habitat has been lost to development, incompatible land uses, or invasive weeds.

The eight-year project saw the Oregon Department of Transportation – along with key partners The Nature Conservancy and CC Patterson & Associates – testing new technology and innovative techniques to restore vernal pool wetlands and provide compensatory wetland mitigation for many key transportation projects across the region.

To locate the original pools, the team reviewed historic aerial photos and looked at lidar data, then hit the field, says consultant Cam Patterson, who developed many of the techniques used over his more than 40-year career restoring vernal pools.

“We were amazed to see how accurately the lidar imagery used with the historic aerial imagery modeled practically every cubic foot of past disturbance on that landscape,” Patterson says. “With that, we had everything we needed to know to begin restoring the topography to pre-disturbance condition.” 

“We went out to spots where vernal pools were likely and began to slowly dig, much like an archaeologist would,” says Paul Benton, ODOT Wetland Scientist. “By using this technique, we were able to uncover the old vernal pool surfaces.”

The team learned as they went, testing new techniques and ideas, and leaving room for trial and error.

“We got better each year,” says Keith Perchemlides, Field Ecologist with The Nature Conservancy in Oregon. “It was very satisfying to do a long-term restoration, and bring those lessons learned to each successive year. The project demonstrates successful methods for listed species recovery and conservation of this unique local ecosystem.”

Project collaborations grew over the years as well, with each partner contributing multiple benefits – for example, providing native species seeds to other restoration projects, hosting educational tours and field visits, and planting riparian areas.

The multi-year project also allowed ongoing monitoring – with data collected showing measurable success. The vernal pool wetlands area doubled. The vernal pool fairy shrimp population increased four-fold. The desert parsley population – nonexistent pre-restoration – numbers more than 10,000 mature flowering plants. The meadowfoam population has grown so large it’s no longer practical to count. Native plants now dominate the landscape, making up 70 percent of the plant community.

“This project exceeded expectations from every angle, setting a new standard for how habitat restoration can be done,” says Oregon Department of State Lands Director Vicki L. Walker.

The Land Board Awards honor exceptional projects for their contributions to protecting and enhancing Oregon’s treasured natural resources. The projects and partners honored consistently demonstrate how much can be achieved when Oregonians work together to help our lands and waters thrive.

Learn more about all 2020 Land Board Award winners on the awards website or view the awards ceremony on the DSL YouTube Channel.

About the State Land Board and the Department of State Lands: The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Bev Clarno and State Treasurer Tobias Read. Established by the Oregon Constitution in 1859, the Land Board oversees the state’s Common School Fund. The Department of State Lands is the Land Board’s administrative agency, managing the lands and resources that help fund Oregon’s public schools and protecting the state’s waterways and wetlands for the many benefits they provide.

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Photos are available on the ODOT Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oregondot/albums/72157711951865403

State to Mail $5 Million in Unclaimed Funds to Oregonians - 10/12/20

Qualifying current and former Oregonians will receive checks beginning in early November

SALEM, OR – Approximately $5 million will be sent to current and former Oregonians this fall when the state Unclaimed Property Program initiates a historic distribution of unclaimed funds.

Beginning in mid October, people will begin to receive letters informing them of the forthcoming checks. The initial letter will be followed by a subsequent letter and check in early November.

The checks are funds--referred to as unclaimed property--that have been reported to the state by companies and organizations that do business with Oregonians and have been unable to return the money to the correct owner. Common examples of unclaimed property include uncashed checks, forgotten bank accounts, security deposits, tax refunds, credit balances, investment accounts, payroll checks, refunds, and more.

Typically, people need to file a claim with the unclaimed property program to receive the funds they are owed. However, given the unprecedented financial uncertainties and difficulties many are facing, the state has determined, for the first time ever, the funds will be directly mailed to the correct owner.

Checks distributed will vary in amount between $50 - $2,500, depending on the amount of unclaimed property each recipient is owed and based on criteria described at unclaimed.oregon.gov.

While $5 million is being distributed this fall, the unclaimed property program holds more than $700 million in unclaimed funds for 3 million owners. To recover funds not distributed this fall, property owners can file a claim at unclaimed.oregon.gov. The Unclaimed Property Program advises people who receive letters about the forthcoming checks to wait for the checks to arrive, as filing a claim may delay processing by 6 to 7 months.

Questions about unclaimed funds can be directed to the Oregon Unclaimed Property Program via email, claims@dsl.state.or.us or phone, (503)986–5251 or (503)986-5200.


The Oregon Unclaimed Property Program is administered by the Oregon Department of State Lands. The program, which has been in existence since 1957, works with business to ensure they are compliant with Oregon unclaimed property laws, while returning unclaimed funds to current and former Oregonians. While funds are waiting to be claimed by owners, they are held in the Common School Fund, where they earn interest and benefit Oregon public schools.

State Land Board to meet October 13 - 10/06/20

SALEM, Ore. – The State Land Board will meet virtually on Tuesday, October 13.

The Land Board Awards ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Every year, the State Land Board honors exceptional projects and partners for their contributions to enhancing Oregon’s treasured natural resources. Award recipients are:

  • Stream Project Award: Opal Springs Volitional Fish Passage Project
  • Wetland Project Award: Oregon Department of Transportation Vernal Pool Mitigation and Conservation Bank Restoration
  • Partnership Award: Jefferson Jacobs, Oregon Natural Desert Association
  • Partnership Award: SOLVE and Metro

The Land Board meeting will begin immediately after the awards ceremony. Agenda items include a request to direct the Department of State Lands (DSL) to study filled lands along the Rogue River, reports on the DSL Aquatic Resource Management Program and South Slough Estuarine Research Reserve, and updates on wildfire damage and the Oregon Department of Forestry’s ongoing habitat conservation planning process, which includes some Common School Fund forestlands.

The full meeting agenda and materials are available here.

Meeting video will be livestreamed to the DSL YouTube channel and public testimony will be accepted by email to support the public in attending and commenting when the Board meets virtually. Testimony is accepted regarding consent and action agenda items and may be submitted before or during the meeting to oard.testimony@state.or.us">landboard.testimony@state.or.us. Guidelines for providing testimony are available here.

If you need assistance to participate in the meeting due to a disability, please notify Lani Ahmadian at 503-986-5245 or yolanda.ahmadian@dsl.state.or.us at least two working days prior to the meeting.

About the State Land Board and the Department of State Lands: The State Land Board consists of Governor Kate Brown, Secretary of State Bev Clarno and State Treasurer Tobias Read. Established by the Oregon Constitution in 1859, the Land Board oversees the state’s Common School Fund. The Department of State Lands is the Land Board’s administrative agency, managing the lands and resources that help fund Oregon’s public schools and protecting the state’s waterways and wetlands for the many benefits they provide.

Public comment sought on continuing coordinated permit option for vernal pool projects - 10/01/20

Public hearing to be held October 20 via Zoom; comment period open until November 1

SALEM, Ore. – A coordinated permitting option for vernal pool projects would continue to be offered until 2026, under a rule change proposed by the State of Oregon.

The vernal pool general permit option was developed by the agencies that regulate earth moving in vernal pool wetlands: the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Vernal pools are a type of seasonal wetland in Jackson County that support three federally listed rare species. Projects meeting the general permit criteria may secure wetland and Endangered Species Act permits faster than the usual individual permit and consultation process. 

Under the existing rule, the vernal pool general permit option expires on Jan. 1, 2021. The proposed rule change continues the option until Jan. 1, 2026. 

Public comment sought via Zoom hearing, written comments
A public hearing on the proposed rule will be held Oct. 20, 2020, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. via Zoom. Visit the DSL website for hearing details.

The public comment period will be open until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Comments must be received by this date and time to be considered. Written comments may be submitted on the DSL website by online form, via email to ules@dsl.state.or.us">rules@dsl.state.or.us, or by postal mail to the DSL Rules Coordinator, 775 Summer St. NE, Suite 100, Salem, OR 97301.

Once the public comment period closes, DSL will consider any comments received and revise the rule draft as needed. For more information on this rule change, including the rule draft and notice of proposed rulemaking, visit the DSL website.