Oregon Conservation Strategy - State Wildlife Action Plan, 2016 Update
Originally published in 2006, the Oregon Conservation Strategy was updated in 2012 and 2016, and is the official State Wildlife Action Plan for Oregon. The Strategy is a plan for the long-term conservation of Oregon’s fish and wildlife, and presents non-regulatory recommended actions and tools for state agents, and the general public. The Key Conservation Issues identified include climate change, and the plan offers a number of goals and actions in support of wildlife adaptation to climate impacts in Oregon.
The universal goals of the Conservation Strategy are to maintain healthy fish and wildlife populations by maintaining and restoring functioning habitats, and preventing or reversing declines of at-risk species. Along with acting as agency guidance, the Strategy contains “a blueprint for voluntary action” for landowners’ and land managers’ to protect and improve fish and wildlife habitat.
Climate change impacts that directly affect Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats are discussed, including: disruptions to natural cycles of migration, reproduction, etc. due to the early arrival of spring; sea level rise and resulting erosion and inundation of wetlands and coastal habitats; the introduction of and increased presence of pests and pathogens; freshwater warming beyond thermal tolerances of some aquatic species; increase in invasive species; ocean acidification; drying or wetlands and streams; and precipitation changes including transitioning from snow-dominated to rain-dominated winters.
A few Goals and supporting Actions are delineated specifically for managing climate impacts on the natural communities in Oregon:
Goal 1. Use the best available science, technology, and management tools to determine the vulnerability of species and habitats to climate change at a landscape scale. Many species may shift ranges so the goal is to focus on how a species or habitat will respond across the landscape.
Action 1.1. Work with partners to increase information on climate change vulnerability of habitats and species.
Action 1.2. Support long-term research on climate trends and ecosystem responses.
Action 1.3. Develop and implement monitoring and evaluation techniques for vulnerable Strategy Species and Strategy Habitats. “There is a need to develop monitoring protocols that can quickly detect climate-related shifts in populations and habitats, help tie existing and proposed management with on-the-ground results, and inform and refine vulnerability assessments.”
Goal 2: Identify, prioritize, and implement conservation strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, and habitats.
Action 2.1. Incorporate currently available climate change information into management plans for species and habitats. Focus on strategies that are robust to a range of potential future climates and that maintain or restore key ecosystem functions and processes.
Action 2.2. Minimize other threats. Many of the best available climate change adaptation strategies involve managing other threats to species and habitats - and overlap with other Key Conservation Issues in the Strategy.
Action 2.3. Develop regional and local partnerships to coordinate responses to climate change across political, cultural, and jurisdictional boundaries.
Oregon’s Species of Greatest Conservation Need are deemed “Strategy Species” which are defined as having small or declining populations, are at-risk, and/or are of management concern. 294 Strategy Species were identified including 17 amphibians, 58 birds, 29 mammals, 5 reptiles, 60 fish, 62 invertebrates, and 63 plants and algae. The Special Needs, Limiting Factors, Data Gaps, Conservation Actions, and available resources are listed for each of Oregon’s Strategy Species.
The American Pika is considered one of the plan’s Strategy Species. Pikas require talus, creviced rock, and other microhabitats that provide cool microclimates, and are very sensitive to high temperatures. They are highly affected by climate change and warming with limited dispersal ability, low fecundity, and extreme vulnerability to decreases in snowpack. The strategy for pika conservation as described in the plan is to: “Assess distribution, abundance, and trends; improve understanding of potential climate change impacts on predation, competition, and foraging dynamics” - by first improving monitoring efforts, and identifying isolated populations.
Publication Date: 2016
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Biodiversity and ecosystems
- Fish and fisheries
- Land management and conservation
- Plans (other)
- Air temperature
- Invasive species and pests
- Permafrost melt
- Precipitation changes
- Sea-level rise
- Water supply