No Such Thing as Normal Weather in Harney County
No Such Thing as Normal Weather in Harney County

People Who Collaborate

My path to education was non-traditional compared to most teachers. After grad school I was working on a wildlife refuge in the midwest. Our refuge office was located right next door to a community college campus. The Natural Resource and Biology Instructors would always be over in our office using equipment and asking us to speak to their students. I got to know one of the instructors well and began working with his students nearly every week. I really enjoyed working with his students in the field so I decided to throw my resume out there to a small community college in Eastern Oregon [Marcus Nichols is a Natural Resource Instructor at Treasure Valley Community College].15 years later, I'm still here!  READ MORE.

Funding News!

$2.5 million in legislative funds is coming in to Harney County to support collaboration and wet meadow projects in the Harney Basin. High Desert Partnership and the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative will dedicate these funds for:
  • On the ground restoration projects such as riverine habitat restoration, fish screens, support for flood irrigation of wet meadows on private lands critical to migratory birds, and removal of invasive fish species,
  • Research and monitoring necessary to support this unprecedented effort,
  • Community outreach and engagement that supports both the restoration effort and promotes local economic development,
  • Opportunity for local Harney County youth to participate in natural resource internships, and,
  • Ongoing facilitation of collaborative working groups.
The Harney Basin was once considered one of the most conflicted natural resource landscapes in Oregon. However, for more than a decade ranchers, conservation groups, local communities, the Burns-Paiute Tribe, state and federal agencies and others have worked together under the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative (supported by the High Desert Partnership) to find collaborative solutions to protect and restore the Harney Basin Wetlands Complex. This effort has involved on the ground projects, research, monitoring, public outreach and engagement, and adaptive management. It represents one of the largest wetland restoration efforts in North America. These legislative funds will greatly help continuing this important work.
As with all collaborative efforts securing this funding is thanks to many voices; special thanks to Representative Mark Owens, Water Policy Advisor Harmony Burright; Senator Lynn Findley; Representatives Tom AndersenMark Gamba and Ken Helmand Bob Sallinger, a passionate partner of the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative.
Also, thank you to so many for their congressional testimony and/or letters of support: Peter Harkema, facilitator for the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative, Chad Karges, a founder of the High Desert Partnership; Gary Marshall, a founder of High Desert Partnership and Rancher; Ken Bierly, Bierly and Associates Natural Resource Consulting; Kristen Shelman, Harney County Commissioner and Rancher; Bill Hart, Harney County Judge; Dan Nichols, Harney County Rancher and High Desert Partnership board member; Chris Colson, formerly with Ducks Unlimited; Teresa Wicks, Eastern Oregon Biologist, Portland Audubon; Joseph Liebezeit, Staff Scientist and Avian Conservation Program Manager, Portland Audubon; Janelle Wicks, Executive Director, Friends of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; William Tweed, Board Member, Friends of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; Jason Kesling, District Manager, Harney County Soil and Water Conservation District; Stephen Olson, Twin Bull Ranch; Mark Salvo, Conservation Director, Oregon Natural Desert Association; Esther Lev and Tony Svejcar, Researchers, Wet Meadow Partners; Karen Moon, Coordinator, Harney County Watershed Council; Christine Stokely, 4-H/FCH Program Coordinator, Oregon State University; Katie Ryan, Executive Director, Wetlands Conservancy; Jerry Porter, Oregon State Co-Director, Oregon Citizens Climate Lobby; Nellie McAdams, Executive Director Oregon Agricultural Trust; Mitch Baker, Harney County Rancher; Oriana Magnera, Energy Climate and Transportation Manager, Verde; Mark Rogers, Chair, Oregon Council of Trout Unlimited; and Holly Mondo, Harney County Community-based Water Planning.

Everchanging Conditions Force Ranchers, Wildlife to Adapt in the Harney Basin

The last few years of drought have been hard on hay producers in the Harney Basin. That’s why this year, a healthy snowpack and a wet spring, has been a welcome change. 
However, such wild swings from one year to the next can make it hard for ranchers to predict how the weather will affect their operations. The varied weather can also make it hard for wildlife and birds as it affects forage quality and nesting habitat. READ MORE.
Photo by Brandon McMullen,

Land Water Sky Soul | Harney County

 2023 Upcoming Events 
Tuesday, July 18 Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Field Tour
Wednesday, July 19 High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Tuesday, July 25 Youth Changing the Community Collaborative Meeting
Tuesday, July 25 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting
Thursday, July 27 Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, August 16 High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Tuesday, August 22 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting

Six Collaboratives Supported By

High Desert Partnership

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