Greater Hart-Sheldon Region
The Hart-Sheldon region is an American natural treasure filled with pronghorn antelope, open space, wildflowers, mountains and canyons, wild horses, and Native American rock art. Located in remote southeast Oregon and northern Nevada, the region encompasses Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, and other large expanses of public land including Beatys Butte.
Oregon's Wildlife Mecca: The Hart-Sheldon region is one of the best large intact sagebrush-steppe ecosystems left in the West and as a result wildlife thrives here. Sagebrush ecosystems are critically important to more than 350 species of wildlife, including mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, waterfowl and shorebirds, pikas, pygmy rabbits, and one of the highest densities of greater sage-grouse in the US.
Because this area is vital to the natural history of Oregon’s desert lands, ONDA has worked for decades to restore, protect, and connect the landscape.
Stewardship: For over twenty years ONDA volunteers have been coming to the Hart Mountain Refuge to help remove unneeded barbed-wire fence which can create barriers for pronghorn and other wildlife. This effort, in coordination with other groups, has resulted in nearly 300 miles of fence being removed from Hart Mountain Refuge.
Partners: ONDA had partnered with the Friends of Nevada Wilderness (FNW) to dedicate an unprecedented amount of manpower to removing fences from the Sheldon Refuge. In 2011, 140 volunteers from Nevada and Oregon came to the refuge to help pull fence, resulting in over 70 miles of fence being removed. The future of unneeded barbed-wire fences on these refuges is looking grim, as year after year we come closer to removing all the interior fences with big smiles on our faces and sweat on our brows.
Hart Mountain and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuges were originally designated in the 1930's to protect the summer and winter ranges of the pronghorn. However, they do not protect migratory paths and winter range between the Refuges.
Thinking about the future: The Hart-Sheldon landscape is recognized as a potential place for wildlife resiliency in Great Basin due to the elevation shifts, wildlife diversity, and habitat integrity. NatureServe, a leader in climate change modeling, tested management and climate scenarios so that we can identify high priority connectivity corridors to ensure resiliency for native wildlife.