Commission Approves Access and Habitat Grants

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The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved nearly $2 million in grants to improve wildlife habitat and public hunting access on public and private lands statewide.

Implementation of these grant projects opens nearly 3 million acres of public hunting access throughout Oregon.

The Oregon Access and Habitat Program is open to landowners, corporations, organizations and agencies. Regional advisory councils quarterly receive and review projects for funding, then forward approved submissions to the state Access and Habitat Program panel. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is responsible for final review and approval of projects.

Many of the projects use funding beyond Access and Habitat grant allotments, provided by private cooperators.

The nine projects approved today include the following:

• Malheur County: Pole Creek Road and Westfall Ranches -- $542,388. Moves 3.5 miles of Pole Creek Road from private to public land, ensuring public hunting access to 40,000 acres of private ranch property and improving access to 140,000 acres of public land.

• Harney County: Alvord Ranch and Keuny Ranch access -- $50,500. Provides five years of by-permission hunting access on 10,500 acres of private land and 28,200 public land acres along the east base of Steens Mountain.

• Malheur County: Bentz access project -- $25,000. Provides five years of open public access to nearly 10,000 acres of federal Bureau of Land Management property and 400 private acres, in an area where quality public hunting land availability is limited.

• Malheur County: Opie access project -- $60,000. Ensures 10 years of public hunting access on 2,400 acres of private land, and expands public access to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

• Hood River County: Tamiyasu Orchard Deer/Elk fence project -- $1,628. Allows orchard owner to fence property, and ensures by-permission public hunting for 10 years on 50 acres of private land.

• Lane County: Price Creek hunter access project -- $16,240. Provides five years of public hunting access on 5,600 acres of private timberland.

• Benton, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Polk and Yamhill counties -- $697,306. Hires six retired Oregon State Police officers to patrol private timberlands for five years, and ensures public hunting access on 1.25 million acres of private timberlands.

• Clatsop, Columbia, Washington, Tillamook and Yamhill counties -- $577,680. Hires five retired Oregon State Police officers to patrol private timberlands, and ensures public hunting access on nearly 1.5 million private timberland acres for five years.

• Marion County: Abiqua Basin hunter access project -- $3,635. Provides public hunting access on 25,600 acres of Longview Fibre Co. timberlands for the 2005-06 deer and elk seasons, in cooperation with the Capitol Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association.

For details on the 2005 Access and Habitat grant projects or more information on the program, contact Nick Myatt, program coordinator, at 503-947-6087, or visit the ODFW Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us.