PORTLAND, Ore., 10/4/04 - The Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization, today announced that it has permanently protected another 49 acres along Tenmile Creek on the Oregon coast.
TPL bought the property and transferred the land to the U.S. Forest Service, where it will become part of the Siuslaw National Forest.
"This is more land which will be protected for fish in the Tenmile Creek basin," said Geoff Roach, TPL's Oregon director. "This area includes some of Oregon's best coastal habitat and is part of the program we've been working on for years to protect the waters of the Tenmile basin for the trout and salmon who need it."
TPL bought the property and transferred it to the U.S. Forest Service, where it will become part of the Siuslaw National Forest. The $800,000 cost of the project was provided from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, with the support of Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Gordon Smith, R-Ore.; and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.
"Tenmile Creek is one of the crown jewels in the Siuslaw National Forest with some of the best habitat in the Coast Range," said Wyden. "I am glad the federal government recognized the importance of protecting the land between the Cummins and Rock Creek Wilderness areas."
"Making Tenmile Creek a part of the Siuslaw National Forest will insure future generations will be able to enjoy the natural beauty and resources of this coastal treasure while protecting the flora and fauna found there," said Smith.
DeFazio said, "The Tenmile Creek watershed is home to populations of steelhead, cutthroat trout, coho and Chinook salmon. The Tenmile basin is a priority watershed for endangered species recovery, and contains critical habitat for Roosevelt elk, deer, and litany of other sensitive species. Acquiring parcels in the watershed is essential to protecting the parcels themselves as well as adjacent public land, advancing the recovery of endangered species, and protecting the value of public investments in the area."
"These six parcels will help preserve a unique ecosystem," said Jose Linares, supervisor of the Siuslaw National Forest. "This is a good example of how non-profit groups can work with federal agencies to help protect threatened species."
The Tenmile Creek basin, located seven miles south of Yachats on the state's scenic coastline, is a key part of one of the largest temperate coastal forests still left in the Pacific Northwest. Both the state of Oregon and the federal Fish and Wildlife Service have concluded the basin is one of the key places to help protect endangered fish species, such as salmon.
"These parcels we are announcing today are only the latest in a long effort we have undertaken in the Tenmile basin," Roach said. "For example, beginning in the 1980s, TPL bought 1,700 acres in the Tenmile watershed and conveyed it to the Forest Service to be added to the Siuslaw National Forest. Last year, we bought another 401 acres along Upper Deadwood Creek for the Siuslaw.
TPL is still working in the area. "We are trying to acquire about 93 acres of forest and a mile of Fawn Creek," Roach noted. In addition, TPL is trying to protect another 80 acres on Deadwood Creek by setting up a conservation easement, which will permit the landowner to maintain ownership, but protect the land from having the trees cut or from future development.
The 630,000 acre Siuslaw National Forest runs from Tillamook to Coos Bay and is one of only two national forests in the continental 48 states to front on an ocean. The Siuslaw stretches 135 miles along the central coast and includes four major rivers which flow into the Pacific - the Nestucca, Alsea, Siuslaw, and Umpqua. Many other smaller streams and tributaries funnel into the four rivers and thus are part of the annual route taken by salmon and steelhead as they migrate upstream to spawn.
TPL is a national land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people as parks, greenways, wilderness areas and natural, historic, and cultural resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.9 million acres nationwide. In Oregon, TPL has conserved more than 86,000 acres, including the Columbia River Gorge, parkland from Portland to southern Oregon, and working ranches and signature landscapes in eastern Oregon. For more information, visit www.tpl.org