Plan to keep land pristine.
Byline: Susan Palmer The Register-Guard
CORRECTION (ran May 25, 2007): The Bonneville Power Administration The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) is a U.S. self-financed federal agency which transmits and sells wholesale electricity in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana. The BPA is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, and is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. paid local landowners John and Robin Jaqua $4.9 million in a conservation easement easement, in law, the right to use the land of another for a specified purpose, as distinguished from the right to possess that land. If the easement benefits the holder personally and is not associated with any land he owns, it is an easement in gross (e.g. deal, which will restrict the use of their Coburg Hills acreage to habitat restoration. A story on Thursday incorrectly reported the amount the BPA BPA British Paediatric Association. paid.
SPRINGFIELD - Few things last forever, but thanks to a private-public collaboration, the south face of the Coburg Hills will stay wild for a long, long time.
John and Robin Jaqua will announce today that they've placed 1,244 acres of their McKenzie Oaks Ranch into a permanent conservation easement that will protect it from development, no matter who owns the land.
The complex deal allows the Jaquas to retain ownership of the Coburg Ridge Preserve but restricts the way they can use it. The Jaquas received $5.3 million from the Bonneville Power Administration and $400,000 from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in compensation for the restrictions. The acreage had been assessed at $6.3 million. The Jaquas will give $3.8 million to The Nature Conservancy Nature Conservancy, nonprofit organization established in 1951 to preserve or aid in the preservation of natural environments. It protects wilderness areas in the United States and Canada and is affiliated with similar groups in Latin America and the Caribbean. as an endowment to cover the cost of conservation management.
The Jaquas, well-known local philanthropists, have lived on the scenic ranch nestled in a bend of the McKenzie River For rivers name "Mackenzie", see .
The McKenzie River is a tributary of the Willamette River, 86 miles (138 km) long, in northwestern Oregon in the United States. It drains part of the Cascade Range east of Eugene into the southernmost end of the Willamette Valley. since 1954. The property extends across McKenzie View Drive up into the Coburg Hills in a mile-wide swath that includes prairie, oak savannah Savannah, city, United States
Savannah, city (1990 pop. 137,560), seat of Chatham co., SE Ga., a port of entry on the Savannah River near its mouth; inc. 1789. and woodland, and patches of conifer conifer (kŏn`ĭfûr) [Lat.,=cone-bearing], tree or shrub of the order Coniferales, e.g., the pine, monkey-puzzle tree, cypress, and sequoia. Most conifers bear cones and most are evergreens, though a few, such as the larch, are deciduous. forest.
The BPA and U.S. Fish & Wildlife financed the deal to fulfill their conservation obligations.
"It's the quality and size of the habitat that makes it special," said Dorie Welch, a project manager in the BPA's fish and wildlife division. "This helps us work toward our mitigation goals."
The acreage won't be open to the public, except for occasional limited tours by The Nature Conservancy. The nonprofit agency is best known for buying property in its preservation efforts, but managing conservation projects on privately owned land is an equally useful strategy, said Jonathan Soll, the agency's Willamette Basin conservation director.
The Jaqua land is particularly valuable because it abuts a Weyerhaeuser conservation easement already being managed by The Nature Conservancy and BLM BLM n abbr (US) (= Bureau of Land Management) → les domaines land, creating a broad swath of habitat for a range of species, some endangered and others struggling to remain viable.
The upland prairie, for example, is preferred habitat of the endangered Fender's blue butterfly Fender's Blue (Icaricia icarioides fenderi) is an endangered subspecies of butterfly found only in the Willamette Valley of northwestern Oregon, United States. The species was first noticed in the 1920s but wasn't scientifically documented and named until 1931 by and its host species the threatened Kincaid's lupine lupine or lupin (l`pĭn), any species of the genus Lupinus, annual or perennial herbs or shrubs of the family Leguminosae (pulse family). .
The oak savannah and woodlands are home to the acorn woodpecker, vesper sparrow and white-breasted nuthatch nuthatch (nŭt`hăch), common name applied to a number of Old and New World species of small birds of the genus Sitta, related to the titmouse and the creeper. , birds whose habitat has dwindled to almost nothing in the Oregon landscape, said Soll.
Most such land has been lost to agriculture and cities in the Willamette Valley. What little remains has been overrun by the domestic grasses preferred by cattle, and invasive species such as Scotch broom and blackberry.
The conservation easement will allow managers to survey the land to see what's there and develop strategies for enhancing the traditional habitat: logging to remove Douglas fir trees that shade out oak, mowing down blackberries, reseeding with native grasses. Limited burning - a practice employed for thousands of years by Oregon natives to maintain the prairies - will be needed, Soll said.
Looking out over the meadow and oak woodlands on a windy afternoon this week, Robin and John Jaqua, both 86, said they wanted to find a way to preserve the pristine view, not just for themselves and their family, but for Springfield residents as well.
"It's just such a magical place," Robin Jaqua said.
She and John bought the land from the Seavey family, who had originally homesteaded there in the 1840s. By the 1950s, the bottomland was a failing hops farm, the hills above logged and mostly bare.
Hard work has turned the ranch into a tidy, productive place with cattle and sheep pasture, and hazelnut orchards along the river. The 1,200 acres north of the road have been judiciously logged and used as pasture, said son Jon Jaqua, who manages the farm.
The conservation easement allows the family to preserve the land without losing ownership, he said.
"It's an estate issue," he said. The land won't be taxed to the degree that it would be when it's handed down to the next generation, and the easement wards off potential future disputes about whether to develop it.
The view will be a valuable asset to Springfield residents, said city assistant public works director Leonard Goodwin.
"To be able to look out on forested hills - that oak savannah - is something that few people in this country have the opportunity to do," he said. "The fact that they were able to preserve it is really their legacy to Springfield."
COBURG RIDGE PRESERVE
What it is: The largest privately owned nature sanctuary in the Willamette Valley, featuring rare native prairie, oak savannah and woodlands.
Ecological significance: Less than 2 percent of native upland prairie and fewer than 8 percent of oak savannas and woodlands that were historically part of the Willamette Valley remain today.
Important species: Besides the endangered Fender's blue butterfly and threatened Kincaid's lupine, the preserve is home to species of concern such as the western gray squirrel, sharptail snake, southern alligator lizard The Southern alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) is a lizard native to the Pacific coast of North America. It is common throughout Southern California and can be found in both grasslands and urban areas. , horned lark, western meadowlark meadowlark, common North American meadow bird of the family Icteridae, also called meadow starling. Unlike other members of the family, which comprises blackbirds, grackles, orioles, and others, the meadowlark does not travel in large flocks, and it eats harmful and Taylor's checkerspot check·er·spot
Any of various butterflies of the genus Melitaea native to North America, having a spotted or checkered pattern on the wings. butterfly.