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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
KLAMATH FALLS FWO: Of Oaks and Acorns: Klamath Falls FWO, Museum Host Community Workshop
Region 8, October 20, 2009
A young girl plants an acorn as part of an event sponsored by the Klamath Falls FWO to raise awareness of oak woodlands and their importance to wildlife.  The Service is engaged in restoration projects to thin conifers in areas where they have crowded out oak woodlands.  Photo by Todd Kepple, Klamath County Museum.
A young girl plants an acorn as part of an event sponsored by the Klamath Falls FWO to raise awareness of oak woodlands and their importance to wildlife. The Service is engaged in restoration projects to thin conifers in areas where they have crowded out oak woodlands. Photo by Todd Kepple, Klamath County Museum. - Photo Credit: n/a
Dave Ross of the Klamath Falls FWO talks about the importance to oak woolands at an acorn planting event in Klamath Falls, Or. Oak woodlands have vanished in much of the Pacific Northwest and they are enormously important for all kinds of wildlife.  The event was co-sponsored by the Service and the Klamath County Museum.  

Photo by Tood Kepple, Klamath County Museum.
Dave Ross of the Klamath Falls FWO talks about the importance to oak woolands at an acorn planting event in Klamath Falls, Or. Oak woodlands have vanished in much of the Pacific Northwest and they are enormously important for all kinds of wildlife. The event was co-sponsored by the Service and the Klamath County Museum. Photo by Tood Kepple, Klamath County Museum. - Photo Credit: n/a

by Matt Baun, Klamath Falls FWO
Native oak trees in the Klamath Basin have enormous importance for wildlife and migratory birds. This is especially true considering that nearly 95 percent of all oak woodlands that once stood in the Northwest no longer exist today. That is one of the reasons why Dave Ross, a biologist with the Klamath Falls Fish and Wildlife Office, spent this past Saturday at the Celadonia Ranch amidst local conservationists and acorns – lots of acorns.

Ross, and Todd Kepple of the Klamath County Museum, spoke to more than a dozen conservation-minded locals about the importance of oak woodlands to wildlife and the ecosystem. Participants also learned about strategies to successfully plant acorns.

The Caledonia Ranch is privately owned, and it is also the site of a restoration project that the Klamath Falls FWO is funding in association with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife program. The Klamath Falls Office will be thinning conifers on the 300-plus acre ranch over the next several years.

"Conifers tend to grow fast and they simply crowd out the oak woodlands, which are essential for all kinds of wildlife and migratory birds that are found in the Upper Klamath Basin," Ross explained. "Oak woodlands are the most important terrestrial wildlife habitat in the Northwest and they are essential to keep the ecosystem in balance."

Not only do oak woodlands provide cover and shelter for birds and other wildlife, they also produce acorns which are packed with protein. Oaks also serve as a host for certain lichens, which in turn, provide a home to numerous insects. These insects are another protein-rich food source for native wildlife, especially migratory birds .

In addition to the numerous migratory birds like warblers and vireos, Lewis' woodpecker, elk, deer, woodrats, and in some areas, northern spotted owls, make use of oak woodlands.

After the program, attendees gathered and collected dozens of acorns. If all goes well, scores of the native Oregon white oak will take root and sprout in the spring -- a visible sign of a conservation success in the making.

Contact Info: Matt Baun, 530-842-5763, matt_baun@fws.gov