Critical Habitat Designation
Critial Habitat for Vernal Pools in the Agate Desert

Species Fact Sheet
Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp


Roseburg Field Office
Vernal Pools

Agate Desert Vernal Pool Habitat Restoration

Photo - Aerial view looking west at the 12-acre Denman Wildlife Area after the prescribed burn in June 2003.  The Rogue River, near Tou Velle park, is in the background.  (Photo courtesy of Robert Wille.)Prescribed fire. As part of two wetland restoration projects, a total of 37 acres of degraded vernal pool habitat was burned in early June 2003. Prescribed fire is one of the strategies used to assist in the recovery of native plant communities in and around vernal pool wetlands. The use of fire increases the functional value of these wetland areas by removing accumulated thatch and encouraging more diversity in plants.

One 12-acre restoration site is located on the Denman Wildlife Management Area just north of Medford, Oregon. The area was traditionally used to store cut logs and is now managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The site is being re-established as compensatory mitigation for the recent runway extensions and safety upgrades at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport expansion project.

Restoring the natural balance. After burning to remove unwanted invasive species, the topography of the site was restored with a backhoe and a bladed tractor. Small, light equipment was used to avoid damaging the hardpan layer located below the vernal pools. The site will be seeded with native vegetation in the fall of 2003, using a range drill and broadcast seeding methods.

Photo - Fire Crew sets prescribed fire at the Denman Wildlife Area.  (Courtesy of Joe Zimmerman, David Evans and Associates.)
Photo - Stephen Wille, USFWS, and Scott Banker, David Evans and Assoc., discuss prescribe burn results (USFWS).

Establishing an "outside laboratory." A second, 25-acre site is designated as a conservation area for the new Jackson County School District #9 elementary and middle schools in White City, Oregon. The site was carefully burned to remove invasive species and is scheduled to have a small amount (about 2 acres) of topography restored. The entire area will then be fenced and posted with informational and educational signage. Students will be involved in monitoring and documenting changes as part of the school's Arts and Sciences curriculum. The site will act as an “outside laboratory” for students and will serve as open space for the community.

Photo - The Jackson County School Dist. #9 conservation site after the prescribed burn in June 2003 (USFWS).


Minimizing harsh impacts. Vernal pool fairy shrimp, large-flowered woolly meadowfoam, and Cook’s lomatium have been documented at this site. The prescribed fire and restoration efforts were scheduled at a time of year that would avoid and minimize adverse impacts to these federally-listed species.


Photo - Looking west  - The new schools are on the left..  The 25-acre conservation site is across a new-built road (Avenue H) from the schools.  (Courtesy of Robert Wille)


Collaboration of effort.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working side by side with other community partners - the airport, the school district, the consultant, state and local agencies, and interested private citizens - to achieve success in this restoration effort.

The prescribed fire was coordinated with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Jackson County Fire District #3, David Evans and Associates, and Eagle Pass Reforestation,



Jackson County School District #9
Conservation Site