Area: 1,610 acres
Location: City of Eugene, Lane County, Oregon
Date Acquired: 2019
Acquisition Type: CNLM holds a conservation easement as well as a long-term agreement to protect the imperiled species and their habitats on the preserve. The preserve is owned by third party.
Key Habitats: Oak Woodlands, Flowing Water and Riparian, Grasslands, Wet Prairie (Willamette Valley), Wetlands, and conifer forest
Species of Special Interest to CNLM: Oregon vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus affinis) and potential to provide habitat for Taylor’s checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori)
The Center for Natural Lands Management applied to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program in 2017 for funds to purchase a conservation easement over the Creswell Oaks Preserve. The funding was provided by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to permanently protect and enhance important fish and wildlife habitat in the Willamette Basin in exchange for the ODFW supporting BPA’s partial fulfillment of Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act (Northwest Power Act) and Endangered Species Act (ESA).
CNLM holds a conservation easement (CE) as well an endowment that supports CNLM’s CE monitoring, enforcement, and defense role. The preserve is privately owned. In addition to its easement role, CNLM conducts some specific management and monitoring activities in partnership with the landowner—who manages the preserve to protect the conservation values and enhance the habitat for sensitive species.
The Preserve comprises undeveloped grassland, oak woodland, Douglas-fir forest, an ephemeral stream, and permanent stock ponds. The Preserve’s large size and its location near other conservation properties are of landscape-scale importance. Documented Oregon Conservation Strategy Species include the Western grey squirrel (Sciurus griseus), western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus), Oregon vesper sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus affinis), acorn woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), western bluebird (Sialia mexicana), slender billed (white breasted) nuthatch (Ammodramus savannarum), western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta), willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), and yellow-breasted wren (Icteria virens).
The management goals for the Creswell Oaks Preserve are to maintain and enhance all existing conservation values, monitoring species and habitats to help identify threats and population changes, and conducting restoration activities as needed. Desired future conditions of the Preserve include the establishment and restoration of native upland and wetland prairies, which would allow for future introduction of several imperiled species to the Preserve. The establishment of substantial portions of native grassland would result in one of the larger wildlife and conservation sites within the Willamette Valley, and would represent a site containing substantial examples of three of the major ecosystems (oak woodland, upland, and wet prairie) unique to the Willamette Valley.
The Preserve is strategically located as it forms a core habitat in its section of the “West Eugene Conservation Opportunity Area” (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Conservation Strategy, 2016) and represents 7% of the Camas Swale-South Valley Conservation Opportunity Area. The Preserve is within the “Rivers to Ridges” landscape (Lane County Council of Governments) and the City of Eugene’s “Ridgeline Open Space” is two miles north at Spencer Butte.
Because of the vulnerability of the species and habitats that exist on this preserve, it is not open to the public.
For information on Creswell Oaks Preserve or Center for Natural Lands Management, please contact Sanders Freed, Pacific Northwest Preserve/Restoration Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760.731.7790 extension 304.