2017 Accomplishments

Sean Bagshaw   Website

Here’s what you made possible in 2017

2017 has been somewhat akin to being caught on an exposed rocky outcropping in a lightning storm. But like the heavenly smell of sage after a good rain, there’s a silver lining: your commitment to high desert conservation.

Thanks to you, it’s been a banner year for the Oregon Natural Desert Association. 438 dedicated volunteers gave 9,179 hours of time in the field and 1,772 hours in the office and at events throughout the state. Thousands more made financial gifts, and still more spoke up for the conservation of our public lands.

By word, pen, pocketbook or shovel, thank you for all you’ve accomplished in 2017:

325 advocates created through our Public Land Leaders program. Launched last summer, ONDA’s innovative Public Land Leaders program empowered new advocates for public lands to inspire and engage their own communities. Ready to step up in 2018? Sign up for more details here.

10,774 pro-public lands message delivered to lawmakers. From letters to phone calls, ONDA worked hard to ensure your voice was heard in 2018. Your outcry stopped a bad bill that would have “studied” the merits of selling your public lands to the highest bidder. And by speaking up loudly and often, you’ve created a drumbeat of support that cannot be ignored.

19 miles of stream improved. With your help, we improved fish and wildlife habitat by reestablishing conditions that encourage the return of beaver; lush stream banks and lazy meandering streams with deep, cold pools.

11,900 native trees and shrubs planted. Planting trees alongside critical desert waterways reduces erosion, lowers water temperatures, and provides the food and building materials that allow beaver to move in and resume their work of constructing dams. In the meantime….

56 artificial beaver dams built. These structures made of wooden posts and woven plant materials slow the flow of water through the ecosystem. While beaver populations rebound, this innovative technique creates the wet meadows and lush riparian zones that fish and wildlife need to thrive.

12.5 miles of fence retrofitted or removed. Unneeded barbed wire fence hampers—and potentially harms—wildlife. Removing fence that is no longer needed or making fence “wildlife friendly” improves high desert habitat.

Hosted 3 Owyhee listening sessions with 500+ attendees statewide. ONDA collected your input on the future of the Owyhee. This input will be shared with our elected officials to ensure they understand all Oregonians care about and deserve a voice in the future of the Owyhee.

565,000 acres of critical sage-grouse habitat monitored… twice! By observing on-the-ground sage-grouse habitat conditions in the spring and fall, ONDA is holding land managers accountable to maintaining at least the habitat conditions this imperiled bird needs to survive.

Zero industrial wind farms on Steens Mountain thanks to a final court victory. ONDA concluded its long-running case over the proposed industrial-scale wind energy development on Steens Mountain in April when we secured a federal court order vacating the Secretary of the Interior’s approval of the project.

97,000 acres of Steens Mountain is fence-free after 2 decades of volunteer efforts to remove unneeded barbed wire. The cow-free portion of Steens Mountain Wilderness is now free of fence thanks to scores of wilderness advocates like you who have worked to protect Steens for decades.

Advanced 5 regional grassroots campaigns to protect 5 million acres. You propelled efforts to protect our shared public lands in the John Day River Basin, Greater Hart-Sheldon Region, Owyhee Canyonlands, Central Oregon Backcountry and Steens Mountain this year.

98 education and advocacy events across the state. From opportunities to take action for your public lands to the High Desert Speaker Series, ONDA events engaged conservation supporters statewide.

1,500+ people discovered the high desert through the Oregon Desert Trail. New resources, more presentations and an enhanced website engaged the recreation community in conservation advocacy.

718 new members joined ONDA. With more opportunities than ever to get involved and a 30-year track-record of effective public lands conservation work, ONDA is proud to usher a new wave of conservation advocates into the fold.

4,113 total members dedicated to high desert conservation. Thank you for standing alongside ONDA, now and in the future.

These accomplishments are possible because of your dedicated generosity and support. Behind every stat is the investment of the members and supporters of our conservation community.

Thank you for your enduring commitment to the lands, waterways and wildlife of Oregon’s s high desert. I hope this article leaves you confident in the importance of your support and your ability to propel critical conservation achievements. And, thank you for considering a year-end donation to ensure more conservation gains in the year ahead.