West Eugene Wetlands Earns National Attention for Conservation

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan Palmer The Register-Guard

The awards continue stacking up for the West Eugene Wetlands. Honored both nationally and in Oregon for conservation successes in previous years, the 3,000-acre site has received two awards this month, one from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and one from the Bureau of Land Management.

The Cooperative Conservation Award honors environmental and natural resource achievements that come about through cooperative efforts.

The West Eugene Wetlands has that in spades, said BLM spokesman Doug Huntington. It's a partnership involving the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the city of Eugene, the Long Tom Watershed Council, the McKenzie River Trust, the Nature Conservancy, Oregon Youth Conservation Corps and the Willamette Resources and Educational Network.

The West Eugene Wetlands partners won this Interior Department award first in 2005 and again this year because it's more than just a partnership on paper, Huntington said.

"From our Washington office perspective, the West Eugene Wetlands is a perfect example of how things are supposed to work," he said. BLM funding is leveraged 10-fold by the partner governments and nonprofit agencies, bringing not only more funding, but thousands of volunteers into the wetlands to do everything from gathering seeds to getting rid of invasive plants.

The award also specifically recognized the Willamette Resources and Educational Network, an education and outreach nonprofit associated with the wetlands. …