About this iReport
  • Not verified by CNN

  • Click to view PElden's profile
    Posted June 23, 2014 by
    Cottage Grove, Oregon

    Phillip Elden Shares Details on a New Environmental Program in Benton County, Oregon

    Greenbelt Land Trust recently announced the acquisition of conservation easements near Willamette River in Benton County, notes longtime Oregon resident and conservation expert Phillip Elden.

    Q: What is the overall mission of this project?

    Phillip Elden: This project is designed to protect important habitat for wildlife and fish and other wildlife as determined by the Oregon Conservation Strategy.

    Q: Which species are most prevalent in this area?

    Phillip Elden: A number of species are expected to benefit from this project, including red-legged frogs, western pond turtles, Pacific lampreys, Oregon chub, cutthroat trout and Chinook salmon.

    Q: How was this project made possible?

    Phillip Elden: Organizations involved in this program include the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Bonneville Power Administration, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Existing landowners were also extremely beneficial.

    Q: What is the purpose of these conservation easements?

    Phillip Elden: They protect wildlife habitat while still allowing for many uses of the land – farming, for example. Conversion of farmland for conservation and restoration purposes is also encouraged.

    Q: How much of the land is privately owned?

    Phillip Elden: At this time, over 96 percent of the land is under private ownership. This includes Harkens Lake, which features a number of native fish populations.

    Q: Who is responsible for the conservation of Harkens Lake?

    Phillip Elden: It’s been made possible through a relationship with landowners Sherie and Mark Adams, and Jenny, Gary and Steve Horning.

    Q: What do these partners hope to achieve?

    Phillip Elden: The partners aim to restore the property’s riparian areas and floodplain forests to their previous conditions.

    Q: Why is restoration such an important activity for Benton County?

    Phillip Elden: Restoration decreases flood damage and erosion from seasonal inundation.

    Q: What other groups or organizations are offering assistance for this project?

    Phillip Elden: This critical work could only be completed with the help of federal and state agencies, foundations, non-profit organizations and private landowners. In Willamette Valley, it’s proven to be a monumental task to accomplish riparian restoration and fish recovery.

    Q: When will these collaborators feel like they have succeeded in their efforts?

    Phillip Elden: In the end, the goal is to restore and protect these environmentally sensitive regions and bring them back to prominence in our local community.

    As the Conservation Director at Native Oregon, Phillip Elden takes a particular interest in environmental preservation throughout his home state. He serves as a champion for the cause by establishing relationships with conservation agencies and government organizations throughout the country.
    Add your Story Add your Story