Resource Management

Article Intro StormPetrel 512x219

To help plants and wildlife, Oregon Coastal Refuge staff uses a variety of habitat management techniques to maintain, recover or enhance plant and wildlife values. Refuge staff carefully considers all management techniques, employing those best-fit to the situation at hand. The varied approaches we take to benefit wildlife is commensurate with the array of species and habitats we're charged with protecting.


Biological Investigations

Many land management objectives occur at scales that can be challenging to grasp from ground level. A good aerial photograph is worth thousands of words when conveying the big picture perspective of how all the pieces of a landscape fit together.
 
How do you count 50,000 tightly-packed Common Murres on an inaccessible offshore rock without disturbing them? Surveying birds from high altitude using aerial photographs is often the only accurate, low-impact way to do it. And when you have 320 miles of coastline to survey, it's the only efficient option.
 
The coastal refuges offer unique opportunities to study plants and animals in pristine or relatively undisturbed habitats. These field studies seek to answer questions ranging from the needs of a single species to how an entire ecosystem functions.
 
Biologists conduct innovative research in many coastal habitats. Oregon Islands NWR currently hosts the only Leach's Storm-petrel research on the U.S. west coast. Ground-breaking fisheries research is being conducted on Siletz Bay, Nestucca Bay, and Bandon Marsh Refuges. Native plant communities on coastal refuges provide models for habitat restoration elsewhere on the Pacific coast.

 

Restoration

While some refuge lands are acquired in a pristine state, other lands have been modified and require habitat restoration to reach their full biological potential. Restoration can take many forms, including planting native vegetation and restoring natural hydrological function to streams and tidal marshes using heavy equipment.
 
Oregon has lost more than 75 percent of its salt marshes, a vital habitat for many species of wildlife and fish such as Coho Salmon. Habitat restoration efforts have focused primarily on these diked tidal wetlands at Siletz Bay, Nestucca Bay and Bandon Marsh.
 
Removing the dikes brings back the influence of daily tidal cycles and restores the natural hydrology of the marsh. Native plant species recolonize the marsh, sinuous tidal channels re-form, and fish return to inhabit historic and newly-created breeding and rearing areas. Other management practices implemented at these estuarine refuges include reforestation, restoration of riparian areas and coastal prairies, and removal of invasive plants.