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New View at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge

Sunshine and blue skies encapsulated an event honoring our partners at Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge on July 17th.  The Nature Conservancy, along with many others, helped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acquire two new parcels of land known as the Two Rivers Peninsula.  As a result, the entire Cannery Hill peninsula on Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is protected for future generations of people and wildlife. 

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Photo Credit: Amelia O’Conner, USFWS

According to Service’s Pacific Regional Director Robyn Thorson, the message of the day was gratitude. Director Thorson expressed her gratitude by stating, “Partnerships are the backbone of our National Wildlife Refuges.  As clearly demonstrated today, they help establish and grow National Wildlife Refuges.  These parcels’ expansive rolling hillsides of lush upland forests, scenic views and two miles of estuary shoreline provide habitat for abundant plants and animals including migratory songbirds, bald eagles, peregrine falcons, black-tailed deer, bobcat, harbor seals and estuarine-dependent fish such as coho and Chinook salmon. We look forward to continuing the wonderful relationships established here as we nurture and manage the natural areas of the Nestucca Bay estuary for the benefit of fish, wildlife and people.”

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Photo Credit: Amelia O’Conner, USFWS

The Nature Conservancy in Oregon and the Pacific Region of the Service reached an agreement in September 2013, with the Jesuit Novitiate in Sheridan, Ore., to purchase the 102.53-acre Jesuit property located on Cannery Hill overlooking Nestucca Bay.   Combined with the 90-acre Harder property acquired in May 2013, the addition of this property to the 1,202-acre Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge means that the entire Cannery Hill Peninsula is now fully protected for wildlife and outdoor recreation. Funding for the permanent protection of this site was made possible by a National Scenic Byways grant to The Nature Conservancy through the Federal Highway Administration and Oregon Department of Transportation. National Scenic Byways grants are based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities. Funding for the adjoining Harder Property came from this same grant as well as from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a fifty year old program that uses revenues from offshore oil and gas development to conserve parks, open spaces and wildlife habitat for the purpose of hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation.

“I’m nearly speechless that this stunning piece of coastal landscape will be protected in perpetuity for the public as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Roy W. Lowe, Project Leader for the Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex. “The success of this acquisition was possible due to the herculean efforts of our valued partners at The Nature Conservancy, Federal Highway Administration, the Oregon Department of Transportation, and the Oregon congressional delegation,” added Lowe.

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Photo Credit: Amelia O’Conner, USFWS

Elected representatives from Tillamook County admitted at first they were skeptical of the acquisition, fearing it would take away profits from the local dairymen, but now they laud the project for the increases in tourism this refuge has the potential to bring in.   Even though the Service has a lot on its list of things to do before the property officially opens to the public, there will be a number of guided hikes to showcase the unique landscape and spectacular views. And it was Oregon’s state director for The Nature Conservancy, Russ Hoeflich who so eloquently ended the ceremony with, “this property is a gift; a gift for future generations.” 

For more information on Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and information on the guided hikes, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/oregoncoast/nestuccabay/

For more information on The Nature Conservancy’s work in Oregon, please visit: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/oregon/our-priorities/nestucca-bay-wildlife-refuge.xml

For more images of the property: http://bit.ly/17VWQnd

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