January Newsletter
January Newsletter

Happy New Year

We've reached a milestone at High Desert Partnership, we're celebrating 15 years of helping people work together and find common ground. This anniversary and the entrance into a new decade may cause us to reflect on what's been accomplished and what we've learned, but more so, we're looking ahead.
Just as we've done the past 15 years, we'll build trust, forge relationships, listen, understand, voice opinions and explore solutions; and through this work we'll make progress. As always, we're very much looking forward to doing this with you. Happy New Year!

People Who Collaborate

Ed Contreras has a passion for working lands and rangelands. You could say it’s in his blood. His family roots are in ranching with family still ranching their land in Mexico. It’s this passion for working lands that he brings to his work with the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) as the SONEC (Southern Oregon—Northeastern California) Conservation Delivery Coordinator. This title is a mouthful but simply it means that his work is about conserving private land wetland habitat by developing voluntary conservation programs for landowners. These programs provide cost share assistance for projects like flood-irrigation infrastructure improvements that benefit agricultural production and habitat. Read more.

Updates On Megafire Prevention

2019 proved to be a busy, productive year for the Harney County Wildfire Collaborative (HCWC). Below are three megafire prevention ventures that began and will continue to evolve as we move into this new decade.
The Pueblo Mountain Pilot Project, a collaborative project years in the making, began on-the-ground treatments and preliminary observation of results in September. Learn more about this project here
The close of 2019 found High Desert Partnership in the initial development stages of a monitoring program to serve collaboratively-planned projects such as the Pueblo Mountain Pilot Project. The HCWC knows from experience that restoration and conservation of sagebrush steppe can be challenging and that megafire prevention involves multiple layers of treatments such as prescribed fire, herbicide treatment, reseeding with native seeds, and more, with these treatments happening over multiple years. This multi-layered, multi-year approach is in its early stages to address megafire risk which means there is a need to monitor whether treatments are delivering the outcomes expected.
Data from this monitoring program will show how a project (such as the Pueblo Mountains project) is doing and will help guide discussion for next steps. A new monitoring coordinator, High Desert Partnership's Brianna Goehring (brianna@highdesertpartnership.org), will lead development of this monitoring program that will: 1) monitor any collaboratively-developed project and 2) provide the boots on the ground with seasonal field crews to get the data collected. The scientists at the Agriculture Research Service in Burns will provide their expertise to help analyze and interpret any data collected. This information will then be shared with the HCWC for discussions about how treatment "recipes" are working within a given project as well as shared with anyone who could benefit from the insights it will offer. 
Also a product of the Harney County Wildfire Collaborative, the Northern Great Basin Native Seed Production Cooperative is in initial stages of its formation. This cooperative is a diverse group of partners looking to enhance local native seed production with ultimately, the seeds commercially produced and marketed, used for landscape scale restoration. As shared above, reseeding with native seeds is one aspect of megafire prevention.
High Desert Partnership and the Agriculture Research Service are working together to build this self-sustaining business. The demand for native seeds is increasing because quality habitat continues to be lost by invasive annual grasses and frequent reoccurring wildfires. This makes landscape scale restoration an essential part of repairing the landscape and rangelands. Also, where restoration projects occur on public land the Federal Government and its National Native Seed Policy requires native seeds to be used whenever and wherever possible. Once again, science and experience suggest that local native seeds have a greater chance of success. Currently native seeds are difficult to procure for southeastern Oregon and the northern Great Basin region thus creating this business opportunity. 
The Northern Great Basin Native Seed Production Cooperative is in its fledgling stages of development. Watch for updates as this cooperative evolves, and contact Jennifer Taynton, Native Seed Cooperative and Economic Coordinator at jennifer@highdesertpartnership.org with questions.

How The Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative Manages Diverse Interests

It's not easy to see the big picture sometimes. We're all busy managing the day-to-day onslaught of work, home and family obligations, and it's easy to lose sight of the bigger issues at play. Where land and water are concerned, a collaborative of the partnership—the Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative—has brought together a diverse group of voices to talk about how to manage the abundant natural resources in our corner of the basin. Read more.

December's True Neighbor

Each month High Desert Partnership recognizes someone, a 'True Neighbor', who is making a difference in Harney County. For December, November's True Neighbor Ruthie Miller nominated Grant and Gaye Gunderson: "Grant and Gaye Gunderson live their lives dedicated to sharing and caring for others." Read more.

The Birds Are Coming

We're only 3 months away from the annual Harney County Migratory Bird Festival.
2020 festival dates are April 16-19.
A heads up that registration for members begins in just a few weeks on February 3 and for all others, registration begins February 10. 
We're looking forward to seeing many of you this April in Harney County.
Photo of a rough legged hawk by Dan Streiffert.

Reviving Malheur Lake

A short film about Malheur Lake, its current condition and what is being learned to help stage its revival.
 2020 Upcoming Events 
Wednesday, January 15 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Thursday, January 16 | Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, February 5 | Harney County Restoration Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, February 19 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Wednesday-Sunday, March 4-6 | American Fisheries Society Oregon Chapter Annual Meeting
Wednesday, March 18 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Thursday, March 19 | Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Meeting

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

You Can Be The Difference

Donate Today and Help Us Work Together for Harney County. 
Click 'Make An Impact' below.
Consider leaving a gift to The High Desert Partnership in your will or trust so you can help 
Harney County's rural communities. Your donation will help create economic opportunity, healthy lands and water and maintain an enduring rural way of life. Contact info@highdesertpartnership.org for information.
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