Oregon Conservation Partnership launches five affinity groups to support collaborative conservation across the state!
- Estuaries and Tide Gates
- Fire and Conservation
- Journal Club for Aquatic Habitat Restoration
- Protection of working lands and easements
About: Conservation/Restoration Affinity Groups are a new initiative launched by the Oregon Conservation Partnership (OrCP) in 2021, with the goal to increase connections, collaboration and conservation impact across Watershed Councils, Conservation Districts, and Land Trusts.
Affinity Group Description: OrCP will host five Affinity Groups, each focused on a particular conservation/restoration topic; Watershed Council, Conservation District and Land Trust employees and Board members can “opt in” to groups relevant to their needs and interests. Each group will have approximately 20 participants and be facilitated by a coordinator who will offer regular meetings over remote meeting platforms, providing an opportunity for:
- Sustained, longer term conversations;
- Information and resource sharing;
- Collaboration incubation;
- Near-peer mentoring;
- Professional development.
Expectations for participation: The success of Affinity groups relies on group cohesion and consistent participation of affinity group members. These groups will meet no less than six times per year and participation includes the following:
- active participation, showing up, and joining conversation
- willingness to contribute your own stories and resources for peer learning
Coordinators: OrCP will appoint a Coordinator for each Affinity Group, likely a current or retired employee or Board Member for a Watershed Council, Conservation District or Land Trust. Each coordinator will receive a $2,000 stipend, and will be responsible for hosting at least six meetings in 2021, identifying learning objectives and evaluative metrics, coordinating communication and logistics, and tracking follow-through for group action items.
Affinity Group Topics:
OrCP identified the following topics based on a needs-analysis survey conducted across our member organizations, November, 2020.
Estuaries and tide gates:
To join, contact coordinator Garshaw Amidi-Abraham.
Garshaw serves as the Coordinator for the Nestucca, Neskowin & Sand Lake Watershed Council in Pacific City, Oregon.
From a conservation perspective, existing tide gate infrastructure and upstream drainages pose several limitations on fish passage and access to critical rearing habitat. Failing tide gates can threaten agricultural and municipal operations and infrastructure. There is growing momentum to address the suite of issues related to tide gates so that infrastructure can be improved to meet both environmental needs and the needs of coastal communities. Many conservation groups have been and intend to continue to play a key role in supporting solutions that include tide gate replacements and working lands restoration actions to improve habitat, fish passage, and water quality. These efforts require significant capacity and expertise to shepherd these complex projects through the development, implementation, adaptive management and monitoring phases of work. This group is intended to support local Watershed Councils, Conservation Districts and Land Trusts in sharing lessons learned, receiving up-to-date information on late breaking updates, and identifying potential areas for collaboration or partnership across the coast.
Fire and conservation
Wildfire threatens all of our partnership entities. This group will focus on sharing ideas and skills in preparing for wildfires by taking proactive prevention steps, addressing actions when wildfires occur, and providing restoration following wildfire. There are a number of local, state and federal agencies involved in wildfire protection and regulation and becoming knowledgeable of those resources will also be supportive of how we do our work to address the wildfire issue. What did we learn about working with FEMA and other agencies? Many of our partnership entities are now working on restoration projects and the lessons learned among our member entities are valuable to share while we learn from each other.
Journal Club for aquatic habitat restoration
To join, contact coordinator Zac Mallon.
Zac serves as the Coordinator for the Lower Nehalem Watershed Council in Nehalem, Oregon.
This group will identify a scope of current research, literature, conference proceedings and other publications dedicated to specific conservation and restoration topics. Each meeting, group members will read a particular article broadly and it will be presented by one member who has read it deeply who will lead a discussion. This approach will help Watershed Council, Conservation District and Land Trust members stay current on regional/national/international best practices/lessons learned, and will inform and foster collaborations. Members may also work together to develop conference sessions or articles of their own.
The goal of this group is to to work together, learn together and share ideas and resources so that we can collectively support the great diversity and abundance of native pollinators (bees, butterflies, bats and more). Proposed focus areas include:
- Highlight monarchs and the work we’ve been doing to help conserve this rapidly declining species; (Lead by Amanda Egertson);
- Highlight bees and what land trusts are doing to help restore habitat and survey for native bee populations;
- Create a summit/meeting, likely connected to another conference;
- Strategies for restoration;
- Strategies for community engagement.
Protection/restoration of working lands and easements
This group is comprised of land trusts, SWCDs, agency partners, and other conservation practitioners working in the realm of agricultural/working lands easements and discusses grant applications, funding opportunities, best practices around conservation management plans, and generally provides a forum to hear from peers and colleagues about direct experience in the field.
By bringing all of the best minds together, we can creatively brainstorm solutions to some of the barriers that have hindered working lands easements in Oregon, foster and enhance relationships with agencies like NRCS, and generally advance the pace of agricultural conservation in Oregon that also benefits fish and wildlife habitat and considers climate change impacts.