People Who Collaborate

With a fisheries and wildlife degree from Michigan State University Autumn Larkins made her way to Oregon in 2002 to work with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). She started in Roseburg in the Wildlife Research Division studying elk, black-tailed deer, black bears and cougars. After Roseburg Autumn came north to Bend where she was the lead Wildlife Technician with a research team that captured and collared more than 800 mule deer to study migration corridors and seasonal distribution. Read more.

Aspen Grove Restoration

The partners involved with the Harney County Restoration Collaborative took a field trip June 12 to visit three treatment areas in the Malheur National Forest. This was an opportunity to see first hand how National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) approved treatments by the Forest Service were implemented to manage forest health.
The photo above is an aspen grove restoration project. This location was chosen because of the Aspen trees you see in the distance. Aspen groves are in decline across the west so the intent here is to help this grove expand. Aspen groves are micro climates providing cooler temperatures for wildlife and vegetation. With the removal of up to 30" ponderosa pines and fir trees the collaborative partners could see an immediate change in the landscape with the rise of surface water. This grove now has more of a fighting chance to expand and provide more habitat. To learn more about this project and others contact Ecological Coordinator Ben Cate at

Malheur Lake: Essential For Habitat and Culture 

Malheur Lake is one of the many special places in Harney County. Read this article about how it's a "A haven for migratory birds, an asset to the Northern Paiute people, and a beloved hunting location . . . " and how the people who collaborate with the Harney Basin Wetland Initiative are working for it's restoration.
Photo of Malheur Lake by Jeremy Hill,

How Many Carp Is Just Right?

We know carp are a problem to Malheur Lake. The Harney Basin Wetland Initiative is looking into strategies to manage their population. One important study toward helping to find answers is an experiment taking place at Windmill Pond at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
21 enclosures like what you see in the photo above have been built to hold varying numbers of carp from 0 to very high quantities. In addition to varying quantities the carp are also being sorted by size and age. Through a partnership with the Abernathy Fish Technology Center, the Harney County Watershed Council and the refuge, scientists will study the carp's impact on water and vegetation quality within each enclosure to determine the threshold volume of carp that is manageable.
In the three images below you can see young carp caught from Malheur Lake that will be moved to a Windmill Pond enclosure; carp being tagged and Fish Biologist James Pearson and Aquatic Life Coordinator Mark Chowning braving swarms of mosquitos to move carp to enclosures. To learn more about this study contact Aquatic Life Coordinator Mark Chowning at

Women in Science, We Got 'Em

United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) data has found that less than 30% of the world's researchers are women. Women are a minority in science fields but on a recent field trip to Windmill Pond to check out the latest carp study (refer to article above) we met four of these smart, hardworking women. Left to right meet Kelli Hawke, Biological Science Technician; Nicole Pauley, Master's Student at Oklahoma State University studying Geography with a focus on Remote Sensing; Jamie Sprando, Biological Science Technician and Dr. Nicole Hams, Fish Biologist.

Welcome Anna and Adam

High Desert Partnership welcomes two new members to our board, Anna Gahley and Adam Davis. Anna was raised in Harney County and returned after securing her Bachelors degree at Oregon State University. She now works with the Bureau of Land Management and operates a small business. Adam, currently the Executive Director of Oregon Humanities, has spent a good part of his life working on the conditions for people to talk to each other about big questions they share making him a great fit for our collaborative work. Learn more about Anna and Adam.

True Neighbor

Sandy Volle is our July True Neighbor. As our June True Neighbor, Shelly shared about Sandy, "Sandy has been helping community members for many years. She has driven people to doctors appointments in and out of town, brought individuals home from hospital stays in Bend. When she wasn't able to drive, she personally has purchased bus tickets. Not only does she help individuals but many times she has extended assistance to their family members. She has taken people into her home and helped with food and other needs." Learn more about Sandy.
True Neighbor, recognizing community members giving their talents to Harney County and making us stronger every day.

Upcoming Events   

Tuesday, July 9 | Harney County Restoration Collaborative Field Trip
Wednesday, July 17 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting & Retreat
Thursday, July 18 | Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Meeting & Field Trip
Tuesday, August 13 | Harney County Restoration Collaborative Meeting 
Saturday, August 17 | Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Annual Carp Derby
Wednesday, August 21 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Tuesday, September 3 - Sunday, September 8 | Harney County Fair, Rodeo & Racemeet
Wednesday, September 18 | Harney Basin Wetland Initiative Collaborative Meeting
Thursday, September 26 | Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Meeting

Project IBiS Needs You

Audubon Society of Portland Eastern Oregon Field Coordinator Teresa Wicks has a community science project underway, Project IBiS.  You can help by counting birds this spring. 
With the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board award of funds for the Harney Basin Wetland Initiative work, these funds are in part helping ranchers replace aging flood-irrigation structures with newer structures that are expected to help flood irrigation practices and increase waterfowl habitat. Project IBiS will help provide information on bird communities that utilize flood-irrigated ranch lands in Harney County as well as provide information on how new infrastructure at some properties is influencing bird use of these areas. Check out this website to learn how being outside counting birds can make a difference.

The Harney County Way

Reflections from The Harney County Way May 2018 Collaborative Summit.
You can be the difference!
Donate today and help us strengthen Harney County through collaboration. 
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Sagebrush Collaboration

A heavily researched story by professor and author Peter Walker of the strength and resilience of Harney County as the community faced a challenge it could have never anticipated.
Thanks to The Ford Family Foundation for adding Sagebrush Collaboration to their Select Books program. Select Books is an amazing program providing resources to educate and help us make a difference in our communities. If you live in Oregon or Siskiyou County, CA "you may order one copy of this book at NO CHARGE if you provide feedback about it."
Also, books can be purchased through Oregon State University PressThe Duck Store and Amazon

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