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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon Parks and Recreation Dept’

At its Corvallis meeting on Wednesday, November 20 the Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously approved all four motions regarding this action (quoted below from the meeting’s press release http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/Documents/bandon-november-action.pdf):

Motion 1: the Commission finds that the contemplated Bandon Biota exchange meets the “overwhelming public benefit” standard of OAR 736-019-0070(4) and instruct the department to prepare a proposed final order for Commission approval.Motion 2: the Commission finds that the acquisition of Grouse Mountain Ranch meets the acquisition standards in OAR 736-019-0060 and instruct the department to prepare a proposed final order for Commission approval.

Motion 3: the Commission directs the Department to continue good faith efforts to address local community concerns as reflected in the Governor’s letter dated November 19, 2013.

Motion 4: the department will accept additional written testimony until December 6, 2013, regarding the proposed exchange or the proposed Grouse Mountain Ranch acquisition to afford the department the opportunity to consider the comments in preparing the proposed final orders.

Apparently the Bandon Biota’s latest golf course, slated for the Natural Area, is overwhelmingly beneficial to the public. Other pledged land and matching cash for acquisition, lots of cash for a new eastern Oregon State Park, and a promise of gorse removal might have had something to do It. The letter Governor Kitzhaber penned supporting the swap might have also had some impact on the decision.

I admit I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the 2+ hour audio of the meeting. A quick glance through the additional comments received didn’t seem to suggest overwhelming approval from the public, especially those in Grant County, the eastern Oregon locale of the potential new state park. Skimming through the botanist’s report on the natural area vegetation in the swap area, I noticed some interesting maps, two which appeared to  show rare plant distributions (pg. 38 and 39), and another (pg. 44) at least one area of “highest natural resource value. Habitat contains legally protected species.” http://www.oregon.gov/oprd/Documents/bandon-habitat-inventory-20131029.pdf

I also noted that the Governor’s letter was not “cced”  to any elected official or office in Grant County. I doubt State Parks employees are looking forward to addressing Motion 3’s direction to address local community concerns. As far as I can tell, so far nobody’s talked much with anybody out there at all about this idea.

Final Commission approval is slated to be considered at its next meeting, February 5, 2014 in the Salem area.

Want to get involved? You’ve got until December 6. Email at: oprd.publiccomment@state.or.us

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Although quite wild in appearance, if you look closely at the “native” vegetation here along the Southern Oregon coast you’ll be reading a graphic tale of human impact on our coastal ecosystem. From the steep beach foredunes, to neighborhood yards and beyond, highly invasive introduced species have come to symbolize our local plant life.

Beach Grass © AME

Beach Grass
© AME

At the shoreline, European beach grass forms stunningly beautiful waves of green directly at the beach’s edge. But beach grass, a deeply rhizomed dune stabilizer, intentionally planted in the 30s to foster more agricultural land inland, has ended up forming the steep foredunes which have come to characterize the Southern Oregon coast today.

Armenian Blackberry © SRE

Blackberry Amid the Gorse
© SRE

Tangles of Armenian (Himalayan) blackberry first noted in Oregon in 1922 line our roads and cover our hillsides and are considered by the state to be the most noxious and invasive weed in Western Oregon. There is no approved biological agent to control it. In our yard, we cut it back or periodically “weed it out” by hand but it quickly returns from its nightmarishly long and tenacious roots.

Then there is Scotch broom, beautiful but invasive, which was introduced as a garden ornamental by early European settlers to the Pacific Coast. What to do? Dig it up, cut it back. Watch for its recurrence. Repeat.

Perhaps at the top of the most noxious list is broom’s cousin gorse, a spiny yellow-flowered shrub which forms almost impenetrable barriers up to 15 feet high. This weed is particularly noteworthy around nearby Bandon, and is said to have been introduced by founder Lord George Bennett who brought it over from the old country Eire. Not only did he gift the town gorse, he also named Bandon after his home town in County Cork. You can read more about gorse’s historical impact on Bandon here: http://www.offbeatoregon.com/H1011d-bandon-founder-favorite-plant-destroyed-his-town.html.

Gorse© SRE

Scotch Broom © SRE

Of course these hardy species greatly outcompete indigenous flora, many of which have become extremely rare. And getting rid of the pesky invaders has proved extremely difficult, labor intensive and costly.

In fact so costly that just this week the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Commission has begun to consider a proposal to trade land in the Bandon State Natural Area to a golf development company, Bandon Biota, in exchange for $300,000 for gorse removal in nearby parks as well as money to purchase other land for future park development. A proposal worth keeping tabs on.

For more info on the State Parks proposal for Bandon State Natural Area see: http://www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2013/07/oregon_state_parks_shifts_meet.html

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