“A diverse and magical place”

Beth Macinko

watch

Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse

Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse

fact

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

What defines Oregon’s high desert?

Bounded by the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Blue Mountains to the north, Oregon’s high desert covers approximately 24,000 square miles. Annual rainfall in the high desert varies from 5 to 14 inches. The average elevation is 4,000 feet; at 9,733 feet, the summit of Steens Mountain is the highest point in Oregon’s high desert. The terrain of the high desert was mostly formed by a series of lava flows that occurred between 30 and 10 million years ago.

Sources: The Oregon Encyclopedia; Wikipedia  

fact

Badger

Badger

Badgers are generally nocturnal, but, in remote areas with no human encroachment, they are routinely observed foraging during the day. They prefer open areas with grasslands, which can include parklands, farms, and treeless areas with crumbly soil and a supply of rodent prey.

Badgers are born blind, furred, and helpless. Their eyes open at four to six weeks.

Latin name: Taxidea taxus

The crew and Forest Service staff in front of the newly completed fence along Little Crane Creek

 

Looking back on their season, the crew found some of the most physically challenging projects were the ones they were proudest of, including:

  • Hiking rugged terrain during the June heat wave to remove juniper from 170 acres, restoring open sagebrush habitat for greater sage-grouse.
  • Maintaining beaver dam analogs to promote continued riparian restoration along Camp Creek.
  • Learning to fly fish to catch and remove invasive brook trout from the Strawberry Mountains.
  • Building over 500 feet of wooden buck and pole fence (in just two days!) and repairing wire fence to protect critical bull trout habitat.

In addition to the sense of accomplishment at completing work projects, the crew was also proud of the community they were able to build with each other. The crew laughed together at falling in beaver holes along stream banks, shared fun times catching invasive crayfish for dinner and swimming in Magone Lake, and supported each other through challenges.

Fishing for invasive brook trout at High Lake

 

Seeing parts of Oregon they hadn’t been to before was yet another highlight of the program. When asked how they’d describe the desert, the crew gushed:

“A diverse and magical place.”

“Some of the best sunrises in the world.”

“The beautiful wildflowers.”

“Fast-flowing rivers running through it like veins to feed the forests and desert.”

“Seeing the stars clearly.”

“Full of bugs and animals and birds.”

“HOT!!”

The crew gained more experience in fields they were already familiar with, like fisheries and range fence work, and were introduced to new fields, like paleontology and wildlife biology. Seeing the day-to-day work of different conservation careers helped members see pathways they may be interested in exploring later on.

We’re grateful to Duane, Audie, Mo, Wes, Cam, Parish, and Diamond for taking part in the Tribal Stewards program this year. While this desert-focused session is over, most of this Tribal Stewards crew is continuing on to a second session of projects along the Columbia River Gorge and we wish them a successful rest of their season!

Beth Macinko

Conducting fish surveys with Burns Paiute Tribe along Lake Creek

“A diverse and magical place”

Tribal Stewards reflect on the 2021 season In early July, we introduced you to the 2021 Tribal Stewards crew. Now that they have wrapped up their five-week session of restoration and conservation projects on Oregon’s desert lands and adjacent watersheds, we wanted to share their accomplishments and highlights from the season. After starting their...

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Author: Ryan Houston  |  Published: June 18, 2021  |  Category: In the News, Looking Back, Looking Ahead Today, our country is observing Juneteenth as a federal holiday for the first time. Earlier this spring, we celebrated the confirmation of Secretary Deb Haaland as the first Native American to oversee Department of Interior public lands...

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A Look Back at the
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Steens Act Turns 20

Known by the Northern Paiute as Tse’tse’ede, the Steens is both a historic homeland and an unparalleled treasure in Oregon’s high desert. The largest fault block mountain in North America, Steens stands sentinel over the mystical Alvord Desert and thousands of square miles of the sagebrush sea. It is a landscape that has endured...

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We hear you

The results of our most recent member survey This fall, ONDA sent you, our members, a note with a question: what matters most to you?  Almost 500 of you responded to our member survey, our strongest response yet. Thank you! Here’s what we learned. You love Oregon’s high desert Whether you have generations of...

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Stewardship Impact 2019

ONDA’s stewardship program connects eager volunteers with meaningful projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat across eastern Oregon. Beyond the satisfaction of seeing a job well done, each volunteer gains a deeper personal connection to the wild places ONDA works so hard to protect, defend and restore. In 2019, ONDA volunteers (424 in all!)...

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Before and After Stewardship

The difference that ONDA volunteers can make in just a few hours or days of working together is pretty incredible. Here are a few before and after pictures to give you a taste and you’ll find even more photos in our post-trip photo albums. As we return to project locations season after season and...

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Hart Mountain Revealed Recap

During our 2019 High Desert Speaker Series, ONDA’s Hart-Sheldon Coordinator Jeremy Austin presented in both Bend and Portland. Here’s the “CliffsNotes” version of his for Hart Mountain Revealed talk. Where is Hart Mountain? Roughly 230 miles southeast of Bend, Oregon, Hart Mountain sits at the northern extent of the largest desert in the United...

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