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Restoration of Oregon's High Desert

ONDA hosts restoration trips in Eastern Oregon in which volunteers pull obsolete barbed wire fences, plant trees and inventory potential wilderness areas in places such as Steens Mountain, the John Day River and Hart Mountain.

Getting Our Hands Dirty in the Desert

Each year ONDA and its incredible volunteers contribute thousands of hours toward restoration projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat throughout Oregon's high desert.

Volunteers pulling Fence

ONDA partners with land management agencies, private land owners and tribal partners to undertake long term restoration projects that provide significant, long-lasting benefit to precious natural resources while providing an inspirational and educational experience to volunteer participant. Projects have four major emphases: riparian restoration, upland restoration, wilderness inventory and wildlife monitoring.


Planting along the South Fork Crooked River. Photo by Renee Patrick.
Volunteers planting along the Crooked River. Photo by Renee Patrick

Riparian restoration

ONDA’s riparian restoration efforts target streams with protected fish species such as redband trout and steelhead. We strive to improve fish and wildlife habitat by reestablishing conditions that encourage the return of beaver; lush stream banks and lazy meandering streams with deep, cold pools. We plant trees to help reduce erosion, lower water temperatures and provide the food and building materials that allow beaver to move in and resume their work of constructing dams, a critical part of the long-term restoration process.

Upland Restoration

Across Oregon’s desert lands barbed wire fences fragment the landscape. Many of these fences no longer serve a purpose and interfere with the movement of native wildlife such as Greater sage-grouse, elk, deer and antelope.  By removing obsolete barbed wire fences and retrofitting needed fences with wildlife friendly wire, wildlife habitat is improved.

Wilderness inventory

Wilderness inventory trips provide critical information to determine boundaries and document the conditions found in proposed wilderness areas. Participants collect GPS referenced photos to demonstrate that the area meets the requirements of wilderness, such as a lack of maintained roads, possessing opportunities for solitude, and scenic and wildlife value. Through these inventories our enthusiastic volunteers have added millions of acres to the list of areas suitable for wilderness designation. Male sage-grouse

Wildlife Monitoring

Wildlife survey projects are focused on monitoring Greater sage-grouse leks or other sensitive species such as raptors and mule deer. Trips are conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Department of Fish and Game and provide high-quality data that is used by these agencies in the management of candidate species for federal protection and other wildlife present in these areas.

Find a list of our current field trip opportunities listed HERE.


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Oregon Natural Desert Association
50 SW Bond Street, Suite 4,
Bend, OR 97702
Tel: (541) 330-2638

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