Potential For Early Fire Season
Potential For Early Fire Season

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People Who Collaborate

Ron Whiting was born in Harney County and has spent his life ranching and participating in the community. His great grandparents arrived in 1874 and raised horses. Ron's granddad shifted from raising horses to operating a cow/calf business and started Lone Pine Ranch which Ron and his wife Linda are operating today just east of Burns. "When I first got out of college [Oregon State University, B.S. with a major in Animal Science] I always felt that I had to put in all my time here [on the ranch] and didn't have time to participate in groups like this collaborative [Harney County Wildfire Collaborative], but over the years my attitude has changed. The reality of the situation is that if we ranchers are going to stay in business, we have to put in the time participating in collaborative type groups." READ MORE.
Pictured: Ron Whiting (in blue hat) with rancher Keith Baltzor during a fuel break tour in 2019. Photo by Sarah Mundy.

HDP Staff Update

Ben Cate, HDP's Ecological Coordinator has resigned and accepted a position as Assistant District Wildlife Biologist with the Oregon Department of Wildlife. His final day with HDP is May 14. "I'd like to express my most sincere gratitude for having had the opportunity to work with many of you over the past 4+ years I have been with HDP. The lessons I've learned in collaboration have been invaluable and will serve me well on any path my career may lead me. I wish you all the best, and know that High Desert Partnership is in great hands with Brenda at the reins," shares Ben.

From Executive Director Brenda Smith: "What started out as a bit of an experiment at High Desert Partnership in 2017, Ben has turned into an invaluable part of our organization and for successful collaboration in Harney County. I can't thank Ben enough for all that he has brought to HDP. We are happy for Ben and happy to send such a skilled collaborator from Harney County out into greater Oregon! ODFW is getting a tremendous asset."

Harney Basin & Flood Irrigation

"Farmers and producers are often criticized for taking water away from wildlife but if you look more closely at places like the Harney Basin in Harney County, OR the opposite is true." ~Patrick Donnelly, Spatial Ecologist.
The flood irrigation practice used in the Harney Basin creates a wetland habitat that benefits both the local agriculture industry and wildlife, including migrating birds that count the Harney Basin as one of their critical rest and refueling stops along the Pacific Flyway, one of nature's interstate flyway routes. Check out this new film about the important role flood irrigation plays in the Harney Basin.

Potential For Early Fire Season

During the spring, it’s always a roll of the dice to try and predict what the upcoming fire season might look like. Late season rains can help bail out a year that has been drier than usual. However, at this point local fire experts believe this fire season might start earlier than normal. READ MORE.

Fire Aware. Fire Prepared.

A new fire awareness and prevention from the forestry and natural resources folks at Oregon State Extension. Learn about upcoming sessions and register HERE. Upcoming sessions:
  • May 19: A land of fire
  • June 2: When fire hits
  • June 16: After the fire

The Fire Story: Rangeland Podcast

"Regardless of if you live in the Willamette Valley or you live Harney County, fire is affecting many of us, and we have to remember that fire is a collective action problem, no one of us, no government agency, no landowner alone is going to be able to address fire risk, we all need to be part of it," shares Emily Jane Davis.
Oregon State University fire researchers Emily Jane Davis and Katie Wollstein discuss rangeland fire with Tom Sharp, president of the Oregon Cattleman's Association and Harney County Wildlife Collaborative partner in this podcast episode about rangeland fire for University of Oregon's Fire Story series. LISTEN HERE.

Spring in the Harney Basin Brings Hope

The spring season is always welcomed with open arms in the Harney Basin. We put the cold, dark winter days in the rearview and watch as the landscape transforms from brown to green. It is a time when everything comes to life. READ THE ARTICLE.
Pictured: A classic Harney Basin spring scene. Ross's Geese in the meadow, behind them cattle, bales of meadow hay the cattle feed on during the winter and into spring and the Steens Mountain carrying snowpack. Photo by Susan Doverspike.

More about Spring in the Harney Basin

Listen to an interview with rancher Mitch Baker and retired Research Scientist Tony Svejcar about spring in the Harney Basin. Listen here.

Mesocosms? What?

Mesocosms are outdoor experimental plots that allow scientists to examine the natural environment under controlled conditions. Several mesocosms have been installed in Malheur Lake to test different treatments to learn how the water can best be returned to a clear state that will encourage the growth of aquatic plant life.  In the photo directly above, several mesocosm structures can be viewed in the distance from the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.

Tag, You're It

The carp you see in the picture above is one of about 36 carp that were tagged the last week of April in an effort to track their movement around Harney Basin's waterways. By knowing where the carp are, any movement patterns and potentially where they spawn Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Fish Biologist James Pearson and Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative Aquatic Health Coordinator Dominic Bachman can identify vulnerabilities that could help exploit and reduce the number of carp in Harney County.

Fair-in-the-Field 2021

Last week High Desert Partnership had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple days with Crane Elementary students as well as students from several rural schools like Diamond, Drewsey, Riley and Pine Creek.
There were 7 stations the students visited learning through hands-on activities like seeing and identifying birds, writing stories, identifying plants, plant growth and more. The highlight of this experience was seeing the smiles on the students and teachers faces, as we finally were able to gather for an in-person event. We would like to thank the Owens family for letting us use their property for this experience, big thanks to Crane High School students for leading an activity and special thanks to Carlee Stutz with Harney Education Service District for organizing the day. We are hopeful for future field trips down the road. 
~Alivia Robbins

Project IBiS Continues

Project IBiS is helping 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 and where you can help.


Do you have a Shop Harney card burning a hole in your pocket? If so, take it shopping and put those Shop Harney dollars to work. Shop Harney! 

 2021 Upcoming Events 
Wednesday, May 19 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Thursday, May 20 | Harney Wildfire Collaborative Meeting
*All meetings are virtual meetings that can be accessed via ZOOM conferencing or a phone call. Contact Ben Cate at ben@highdesertpartnership.org for conferencing links and numbers. 

Harney County Wildfire Collaborative and
Megafire Prevention

Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative and Reviving Malheur Lake

Six Collaboratives Supported By

High Desert Partnership

HDP Website
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