Restoring Lands and Waters

Oregon Natural Desert Association sustains and enhances the health of Oregon’s high desert through stewardship and restoration.

ONDA takes a holistic approach to conservation in Oregon’s high desert, pairing on-the-ground stewardship with efforts to protect large landscapes. ONDA partners with public land managers, Native American Tribes, and conservation landowners to undertake science-based restoration projects to increase habitat resiliency and provide long-term benefits to desert lands and waters. While much of this landscape is beautiful and pristine in many ways, over time human actions have negatively impacted some terrain. Our stewardship work restores these areas.


Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse

Stewardship Fence Building Timelapse


Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

Durlin Hicock, Alice Elshoff Award winner

“Protecting public land is part of my spiritual being. It’s central to my identity to be in wilderness and to see it protected.” Durlin is proud to protect public lands for future generations, saying, “The highlight of my childhood was our family’s weekend outdoor trips. I look forward to my grandchildren having similar experiences outside in their lifetimes, and it wouldn’t be possible without ONDA.”


Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

Helen Harbin, ONDA Board Member

“I connect with Oregon’s high desert through my feet, my eyes, my sense of smell, and all the things I hear. Getting out there is a whole body experience.” Supporting ONDA, Helen says, not only connects her with wild landscapes, but is also a good investment. “I felt like if I gave them $20, they might squeeze $23 out of it.”

Connecting People to the Desert

ONDA engages the public in our work to improve the health of desert ecosystems. This people-centric restoration approach builds connections and grows our community of conservation advocates through hands-on work.


Every year, we engage hundreds of volunteers in meaningful restoration, stewardship and monitoring projects in the most important habitats across Oregon’s high desert. We lead guided, small group, multi-day service trips in some of Oregon’s most remote and beautiful landscapes.

Visit our stewardship trips page to find the full calendar and detailed descriptions of our current volunteer trip offerings. We encourage people of all ability levels and backgrounds to get out with us to take part in our hands-on stewardship work and deepen their relationship with Oregon’s high desert. All trips are free and no experience is required. ONDA provides all of the tools, equipment and training necessary for the project.

Find a trip
Tribal Stewards

We launched our Tribal Stewards program in 2019 to provide paid opportunities for tribal youth to work on restoration projects and gain experience in conservation and stewardship career paths. The goal of this program is to create new conservation leaders in tribal communities while completing projects to improve ecosystem health in Oregon’s high desert.

Learn More

Sage Brown

Sarah Graham

Sage Brown   Website

Habitat Restoration

ONDA improves fish and wildlife habitat in key locations across Oregon’s high desert where climate change, drought and extractive human uses have diminished ecosystem health. Our strategic, science-based projects address these issues and support the recovery of hundreds of species including desert icons such as sage-grouse, steelhead and pronghorn.

Learn more about the types of stewardship and restoration work ONDA does. 

What We’ve Accomplished

Alongside thousands of volunteers, ONDA has made significant, measurable improvements to the health and vitality of Oregon’s lands, waters and wildlife. Highlights from the last decade include:

  • Over 115,000 trees planted
  • 34 miles of obsolete barbed wire fence removed
  • 78 miles of fence retrofitted to be safer for wildlife
  • 130 Beaver Dam Analogues installed
  • 90 miles of trail monitored


Featured Habitat Restoration Projects

View our Story Map

In our Restoring Oregon’s Desert Landscapes Story Map, you can get a closer look at the areas we work in, watch our beaver dam building raise water levels and check out the impressive tally of work this community has accomplished.

View the Map