Metro's Natural Area Program - Soll

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  • In addition to the potential for more people at Canemah Bluff, the number and diversity of sensitive species may increase at the site due to restoration efforts. The presence of additional threatened or endangered species may also call for rerouting or eliminating trails to protect important habitat. Existing access to the site is from informal, unplanned trails and a dirt road that leads to an historic cemetery. Some new trails are needed to better direct access through the site (away from unique areas as well as seasonally flooded areas), some existing trails require improvements, and some trails should be decommissioned because they duplicate other trails, traverse sensitive habitat, or are not constructed properly. If funding was available, Metro would reroute or remove informal trails near fragile soil types, unique habitats or critical wildlife areas that degrade the resources we’re protecting.
  • Metro's Natural Area Program - Soll

    1. 1. Metro’s Natural Area ProgramStewardship lessons from 20 years of building from the ground up
    2. 2. Zero to 16,000 acres in 20 years teaches some lessons• Program history• Challenge of land management• Cost and funding
    3. 3. Greenspaces Master Plan, 1992Formally adopted by the Metro CouncilSupported via resolution by majority ofcities and counties in the Metro regionLaid out a vision of a system of connectedparks, trails and natural areas
    4. 4. 1995 and 2006 Natural Areas Bond Measures $363 million in total: – $279 million for regional natural areas – $69 million local share – $15 million capital grant fund (2006 only) Did not address management!!!
    5. 5. Metro parks and natural areas 1990-2012 x Metro Parks and Natural Areas 1990 - 2012 18000 16000 14000 12000 Bond Program 2 10000Acres 8000 6000 Greenspaces Master Plan 4000 Multnomah County transfer/ Bond Program 1 2000 Metro management of Smith and Bybee Wetlands 0 1996 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
    6. 6. Over 400 acquisitions
    7. 7. A diverse portfolio of 16,000 acres Nature parks Natural areas (24%) (72%) Cemeteries (0.5%) Recreational facilities (4%)
    8. 8. Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area
    9. 9. Mount Talbert Nature Park
    10. 10. Graham Oaks Nature Park
    11. 11. 1000 acres on the Sandy River
    12. 12. That was the easy part!
    13. 13. 175 sites: 0.5 to 1200 acres
    14. 14. Ecological Challenges • Invasive species • Altered hydrology • Forest management • Replacing lost diversity – getting plants, seeds • Direct human impacts • Impacts of past management
    15. 15. Knowledge challenges• Subject knowledge• Taxa knowledge• Prescribed fire• Herbicides• Heavy equipment• Farming / farm leases• Monitoring• Engineering• Legal: land use, rental, contracts, boundaries
    16. 16. And don’t forget peopleInformal trail Trail in fragile soil Poorly constructed demand trailUnauthorized bridge
    17. 17. And don’t forget surprises Oxbow Regional Park
    18. 18. Oxbow Regional Park
    19. 19. Paying for it.
    20. 20. Volunteers are great but…..
    21. 21. Not all restoration can be done by volunteers
    22. 22. Scale changes everything
    23. 23. We’ve planted (and cared for!) nearly 2 million trees and shrubs • Site preparation: mow, till, spray, auger • Planting: planting, staking, tubing in cold weather • 3-5 years of follow-up: spot spray, mow, mulch Oak restoration Restoration
    24. 24. Tree planting
    25. 25. The cost of waiting
    26. 26. The nitty-gritty – cost per acre* Annual maintenance cost Total restoration per acre following cost per acre restoration Prairie $7,970 $300 Closed canopy forest $5,680 $50 Riparian forest $5,500 $50 Shrubland $4,700 $50 Woodland $1,900 $100 Savanna $1,370 $300 Emergent wetland $630 $25* Many assumptions
    27. 27. How Metro pays for management • Funds from the bond program do not provide for long-term management • Metro funds management from operation budgets and grants • Total program budget equates to > $200 per acre – but much is not land focused • Maximum total non-grant on the ground $ for Natural Areas has been around $450,000 ($30/acre)
    28. 28. Until funding is solved• Focus on highest priority habitats• Protect functions tied to key outcomes• Accept many acres will be in poor condition• Try and protect experienced staff to develop and manage projects
    29. 29. A long-term strategy is neededMetro has relied on• Operating budget• Temporary fees on services• Now exploring local tax levy (temporary)
    30. 30. Permanent funding even at a modest level will allow more of this
    31. 31. Instead of this

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