$130,000 grant awarded to advance Quantified Conservation in the John Day Basin

June 3, 2016

The Freshwater Trust has received a $130,000 award from the Bella Vista Foundation to support three initiatives in Oregon’s John Day River Basin.

The funding will support a research project analyzing historical restoration to better understand how new approaches might enhance conservation impact, data collection to guide planned, on-the-ground efforts, and increased presence of local staff.

“All of this will allow us to gain a deeper understanding of the issues in the basin and target conservation investments to the highest priority sites and project types,” said Marley Gaddis, grants director with The Freshwater Trust. “We are essentially looking back to understand how we can use the tools and principles of Quantified Conservation to take more strategic steps forward.”

Quantified Conservation is about ensuring every action taken translates to a positive outcome for the freshwater resource at hand.

“The current conditions of our waterways must be quantifiably understood, trajectories and goals for their resilience must be clear, and actions on the ground must be targeted and tracked,” said Gaddis.

Until recently, the systems for implementing such precisely planned conservation actions did not exist. Emerging data science and technology allow for opportunities to analyze, track and report on ecosystem conditions in near real-time.

“It’s clear that if we want improvements for the freshwater resources on a timeline that matters, we need to be aiming at the right targets, and systematically tracking long-term progress toward outcomes. This funding gives us the opportunity to continue demonstrating the significance of Quantified Conservation and how the tools we have now can increase pace and impact of our efforts.”

Right now, factors limiting the recovery of native fish in the basin include high water temperatures, sediment loading, lack of habitat diversity, channel instability, and low streamflow at critical times and locations.

The Bella Vista Foundation’s Ecosystem Restoration program focuses on protecting, restoring, and revitalizing high priority watershed ecosystems in California and Oregon.

The Freshwater Trust has more than two decades of experience working in the basin, with the first project happening in 1995.

“We’ve always been committed to making a meaningful difference here, and Bella Vista’s funding is helping us build on an already solid foundation,” said Mark McCollister, habitat restoration director with The Freshwater Trust.

In 2014, representatives from nearly 30 organizations formed the John Day Basin Partnership, sharing a belief that the development of a more comprehensive and coordinated basin-wide strategy is needed to increase the impact of restoration in the John Day. The Freshwater Trust serves on the partnership’s steering committee.

“We understand this basin’s value to many – salmonids, farmers, ranchers and more,” said McCollister. “We also see the opportunities to accelerate the pace and scale of restoration here for the benefit of all that rely on the John Day. We’re looking forward to sharing these solutions more broadly, thanks to this grant.”

The Freshwater Trust

The Freshwater Trust is a group of bold problem solvers designing and implementing data-driven solutions that protect and restore America’s freshwater. Using science, technology, policy and finance, The Freshwater Trust builds and manages solutions that improve water quality and quantity. With data and 21st century tools and technologies, we enable smarter watershed management to happen faster and at a greater scale. We also employ our solutions on the ground for the benefit of both watersheds and the plants, animals and people that rely on them.

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#Bella Vista Foundation    #data    #Eastern Oregon    #John Day    #native fish    #Oregon    #quantified conservation    #Restoration    #science    #waterways    

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