Restoring Lands and Waters

Oregon Natural Desert Association is committed to sustaining and enhancing the health of Oregon’s high desert through stewardship and restoration. While beautiful and pristine in many ways, much of our wild terrain has been negatively impacted by human actions over time. We take a holistic approach to conservation in Oregon’s high desert, pairing intensive on-the-ground stewardship with landscape protection efforts.


Helen Harbin on Wildlife

Helen Harbin on Wildlife




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


Bonnie Olin, 2017 Volunteer of the Year

Bonnie Olin, 2017 Volunteer of the Year

“If you spend enough time in the wild, it will change you. So it was for me in Oregon’s high desert, especially in the Owyhee Canyonlands.” To support ONDA, Bonnie says, is to strive to protect the very values of Oregon’s high desert that are critical to the human experience: quiet and connectedness with nature. “Oregon’s desert,” she says, “broadens your understanding of your relationship to all living things.”

ONDA connects people to the special places we work to improve. We work with hundreds of volunteers, students, seasonal field technicians, and nonprofit partners to get great work done. Our trips provide plenty of natural history education and opportunities for exploration.

Stewardship Trips

Oregon Natural Desert Association’s stewardship trips provide an incredible opportunity to help the wild lands and wildlife you love. Volunteer today!

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Restoring Rivers and Streams

The lifeblood of Oregon’s high desert is its waterways, and ONDA pays close attention to the health of our desert rivers and streams. The desert climate is changing and less rain, warmer temperatures, and stronger storms all give urgency to our work. Our aim? Cool, clear, and enduring waters that support fish, wildlife, and human populations.

From planting trees along stream banks to building low-profile structures that mimic beaver dams, each action is part of a thoughtful restoration approach that is guided by the best available science.

Riparian Restoration

Restoring Lands

Across Oregon’s desert lands, barbed wire fences once used for livestock fragment the landscape. Many of these fences no longer serve a purpose and can harm wildlife. ONDA and partners have removed hundreds of miles of fence from the land. Where barriers are needed, we convert barbed to safer smooth wire. With each fence project we complete, ONDA supports wildlife and restores natural beauty to the land.

We can best care for our desert lands when we’re on the ground observing changes over time. Using a systematic approach pioneered by ONDA, our staff and volunteers evaluate the natural values of our public lands. We document any misuse of these lands and work with land managers to find solutions and we assess the health of desert creatures by coordinating wildlife surveys. In fact, ONDA is so committed to supporting Oregon’s sage-grouse populations, we designed our own scientifically rigorous five-year habitat monitoring project.

We provide all of this information to the agencies that manage these lands to encourage proactive conservation and stewardship.

Upland RestorationWilderness InventoryWildlife MonitoringIndependent Stewardship

A Collaborative Approach to Stewardship

Collaboration is a hallmark of ONDA’s stewardship work. ONDA partners with land management agencies, private landowners, and tribal entities to undertake long-term restoration projects on public and private lands in Oregon’s high desert. This approach provides significant, long-lasting benefits to the region’s land, waterways, wildlife, and communities.