Wildlife Monitoring

Jim Davis


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  




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




Found only in North America, where it is the most common wildcat, the bobcat takes its common name from its stubby, or “bobbed,” tail. The cats range in length from two to four feet and weigh 14 to 29 pounds. Bobcats mainly hunt rabbits and hares, but they will also eat rodents, birds, bats, and even adult deer.

Latin name: Lynx rufus fasciatus


Organizer: Stewardship Team

Project Timeline: 1/01/2023 through 12/31/2023

Region: Eastern Oregon

Difficulty Rating: Level 1: Easy

Volunteers Needed: No limit

About the place

This project takes place on the traditional lands of the Northern Paiute, Wasco and Warm Springs people. Many Indigenous peoples live in Oregon’s high desert region today, including members of the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs (Wasco, Warm Springs and Paiute), the Klamath Tribes (Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin) and the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe.

With natural beauty, deep cultural significance and a wide array of plants and wildlife, Oregon’s high desert is an impressive stretch of the Pacific Northwest, on the northern edge of the Great Basin.

About the project

This project will assist the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) with their Oregon Wildlife Conservation Project.

All wildlife observations are useful, however the project was designed to collect as much information on 294 wildlife strategy species, or species of greatest conservation need, and strategy data gap species. Strategy species are species that have small or declining populations, are at-risk, and/or are of management concern.

Jeremy Austin

This is a photo monitoring project

Through the smartphone app iNaturalist, volunteers will help gather important species data throughout the Northern Basin and Range ecosystem, helping to fill a gap in observations in this important region east of the Cascade Mountains; there are 72 wildlife strategy species in this area.


This project will involve multiple volunteers during the year. You can visit the high desert any time during the year, and make as many visits as you like. We ask volunteers who sign up for this project to make at least one monitoring trip in 2023 for a minimum of four hours.


Level 1

This project is self-directed; you can make it as accessible and easy or challenging and remote as you would like.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this project. You will also have the option to volunteer for other projects that become available throughout the year.

Project Details

All the information you will need to know about this independent project will be emailed to you after your registration is complete. Each project page has extensive information about access, technology, tools, maps and more. Please be prepared to spend 1-2 hours reviewing this information prior to heading out on your project, the good news is that time spent reviewing and preparing for your trip all counts towards your volunteer hours.

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