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HIGH DESERT PARTNERSHIP NEWSLETTER

July 2016

PSU seminar students looking out over wetlands meadows from Wright's Point.
Participants in the Portland State University's (PSU) Executive Seminar Program for Natural Resources taking part in a discussion about the Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative on top of Wright's Point. Zola Ryan, HBWI partner and district conservationist for Natural Resources Conservation Service, is in the center presenting to the group. 

Need To Know

HBWI Provides a Case Study for Seminar Program

UPCOMING EVENTS
This year the Portland State University (PSU) Executive Seminar Program for Natural Resources chose to have one of its seminars in Harney County. They selected the Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative (HBWI) as one of their case studies. The course examined the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and HBWI and how the US Fish and Wildlife Service is increasingly working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders at the landscape level to address emerging wildlife management issues within and outside their refuge boundaries.

Several HBWI partners participated and spoke in the seminar including Intermountain West Joint Venture, the Wetlands Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. These speakers presented the group with the different nuances of enhancing and protecting waterbird habitat in Harney Basin and demonstrated why the partnership has been so effective to date. The PSU program "is a professional education program for midcareer natural resource professionals in public, private, tribal, and non-profit organizations." We hope participants in the class were able to gain some insight into the complexity and benefits of collaboration, and if applicable, are able to take home the lessons learned to use in their area.
July 12th
High Desert Partnership Board Meeting

July 27th
Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative Meeting

To Be Determined
Harney County Restoration Collaboration Field Meeting

For more information on upcoming events visit our website.

Photos of The Month

HBWI partner Chris Colson, a biologist with Ducks Unlimited, presenting to some of the students in the seminar program. 
PSU's Executive Seminar Program for Natural Resources
Peeping out from behind the sagebrush the participants in the Portland State University's Executive Seminar Program for Natural Resources gather for a group photo.

Other News

Positive Youth Investment Initiative Summit

Kids sitting on a railing at an outdoor class.
After months of conducting interviews and planning, we are excited to announce that we will be holding our first Positive Youth Investment Initiative summit! We are inviting interested stakeholders to join us for a dinner event in August where a facilitator will help guide participants through the process of forming this social collaborative. The facilitator will provide structure and context so stakeholders can decide how this collaborative will function and what kinds of projects they want to take on. We look forward to supporting this group as it develops and begins affecting change for youth!

Dairy Creek Field Tour

HCRC members looking at an area treated with prescribed fire.
This month, Harney County Restoration Collaborative (HCRC) partners toured areas on the Dairy Project that had been treated with mechanical thinning and prescribed fire. The group discussed the complex set of decisions required to manage on a landscape scale and the challenge of getting information out to the public that adequately conveys the intricacy of restoration decision-making. Group members also talked about the need for more latitude in being able to use prescribed fire. Currently, using prescribed fire is hindered by strict air quality regulations set by the Department of Environmental Quality. HCRC members recognize that prescribed fire doesn't always go exactly as planned, and believe it is an important part of restoration.

One interesting part of the tour looked at a mature aspen stand that was heavily damaged in a prescribed fire due to slash left on the ground. The slash was left to provide the aspen protection from herbivores. The aspen stand was already resprouting, and group members felt that the aspen stand would continue to respond favorably by suckering and resprouting heavily in the area. There was a general consensus that the stand might be able to withstand some level of herbivory after being reinvigorated by the fire. The group is still deciding on a date for their next tour in July. 
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