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Symbolic species get funds.

Byline: From Register-Guard and news service reports

Oregon's "symbolic" species are the focus of 16 conservation projects being funded in recognition of the state's approaching 150th birthday.

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) created the Oregon 150 Fish, Wildlife and Habitat Restoration grant program to address the decline in key habitats that support several "state" species.

The American beaver, the chinook salmon, the western meadowlark and the Oregon swallowtail butterfly will benefit from the 16 grants awarded recently.

OWEB dedicated $1 million in Oregon Lottery funds for on-the-ground projects to improve habitat in conjunction with Oregon's sesquicentennial celebration, which kicks off in February 2009.

"There is no better gift to Oregon than to celebrate and conserve our natural heritage," said Ken Bierly, OWEB Deputy Director.

"The grants will help improve habitat important for the long-term health of our state species."

The American beaver, named the state animal in 1969, enhances habitat for many fish and wildlife species through its dam-building activities.

The distinctive song of the western Meadowlark signals the arrival of spring to many Oregon residents. School children selected it to be the "state bird" in 1927.

The chinook salmon, declared the state fish by the 1961 Oregon Legislature, is the largest of the salmon species.

The Oregon swallowtail was designated as Oregon's official insect in 1979.

For all four symbolic species, habitat has become a limiting factor.

The conservation grants funded by Oregon 150 will "provide significant ecological benefits for the species of concern," said Michael Pope, ODFW Oregon Conservation Strategy coordinator.

Grant recipients include the city of Eugene, for a Willamette River side-channel habitat enhancement project at Delta Ponds. The project will benefit beaver and chinook salmon.
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Title Annotation:Outdoors; The American beaver is just one species that will benefit from grants
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 11, 2008
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