Fern Ridge Wildlife Area
Ducks Unlimited recently completed enhancement activities at the East Coyote Unit of Fern Ridge Wildlife Area, near Eugene, improving water management capabilities and wetland function on 300 acres. The project included replacing failing water control structures with newer more dependable structures, rebuilding and re-structuring more than 1,450 feet of levees, and excavating and re-grading of more than 22,000 feet of water delivery swales.
The East Coyote Unit is managed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) for emergent wetland habitat primarily to benefit wintering waterfowl and other migratory bird species. This management is achieved through the collection of rainfall and by pumping water into the units from Fern Ridge reservoir during the late summer/early fall. The unit’s infrastructure is used to deliver and maintain desired water levels and durations to promote optimal habitat conditions. The redesigned infrastructure will allow water to be drained more efficiently as well as moved between units, if necessary. These changes will result in greater wetland vegetation diversity and structure, and increased water efficiency and distribution, which will result in a higher quality of habitat. This will also affect bird response and hunter experience.
With support from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant, Ducks Unlimited is providing more than $150,000 in funding to the project. Additionally, ODFW is also providing funding to the project from state Migratory Game Bird Program. In partnership with ODFW, DU’s staff provided all the engineering and project design support, and assisted ODFW with construction oversight and inspection.
In August, Ducks Unlimited hired Kelly Warren as the newest Regional Biologist for the Western Region. A native Oregonian, Kelly has lived in the Willamette Valley most of his life, and currently lives near Corvallis. His background includes degrees from Linfield College and Portland State University along with professional positions with state and federal agencies. Before joining DU, Kelly was the Willamette Basin Mitigation Coordinator for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. Kelly’s duties will primarily focus on developing projects and partnerships in Western Oregon including Willamette Valley, Lower Columbia, and Coastal Oregon.
Kelly brings a shared passion of the outdoors, waterfowl, and hunting, along with a love of his native state and a purpose to make a positive impact for waterfowl and DU’s mission in Oregon. For the first time in many years, DU has a regional biologist dedicated primarily to Western Oregon, and we are excited for the potential that this opportunity will create. Funding for this position comes in part from the Murdock Charitable Trust and DU’s Wings and Wetlands Initiative.