PRESS RELEASE: ODFW to hold public hearings on Elkhorn Wildlife Area

August 09, 2006 12:00 am

PRESS RELEASE

ODFW Scheduled Public Meetings to Present

Elkhorn Wildlife Area Draft Management Plan

ODFW has scheduled two public meetings to present a draft management plan for the Elkhorn Wildlife Area. Users of this area, including hunters, anglers, campers, hikers and wildlife viewers are encouraged to attend.

The two meetings are scheduled on Wednesday, August 16, 7-9 p.m., at the Baker County Courthouse at 1995 Third Street, Baker City, and on Thursday, August 17, 7-9 p.m. at the Blue Mountain Convention Center at 404 12th Street in La Grande.

ODFW is updating the long-range management plans for its many wildlife areas. The Elkhorn Wildlife Area is one of 12 staffed wildlife areas managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for the benefit of a variety of resident and migrating fish and wildlife species.

The Elkhorn Wildlife Area, located approximately 8 miles west of North Powder, is comprised of eight separate tracts of land totaling 8,674 acres in northeast Oregon, including portions of Union and Baker counties and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. It sits east of the crest of the Elkhorn Mountains and west of I-84 between the communities of La Grande and Baker City.

Of the total acres managed as the Elkhorn Wildlife Area, 6,566 acres are under ODFW ownership. An additional 1,728 acres are cooperatively managed with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management while the remaining 380 acres are leased from private landowners.

Acquired in 1971, the area represents critical winter range for migrating deer and elk. To help the survival of these big game species and minimize their impact on surrounding agricultural land, ODFW provides supplemental food for up to 1,400 wintering elk and 800 deer at Elkhorn Wildlife Area each year. Ten feeding sites are monitored daily during the winter months to provide the appropriate amount of food for the herds. ODFW also tests and monitors these populations for disease and other health issues.

The goals of the wildlife area will remain the same as when the area was originally established, which are:

Goal 1: To minimize or alleviate conflicts caused by deer and elk to privately owned lands and agricultural crops;

Goal 2: To protect, enhance, and restore habitat diversity for all other beneficial wildlife on the area, compatible with Goal 1, and;

Goal 3: To provide a variety of quality recreational and educational opportunities to the public which are compatible with both Goals 1 and 2.

Attendees of the public meetings will hear a brief presentation on the new management plan and have the opportunity to ask questions and make public comments.

For more information, contact Eddie Miguez, Elkhorn Wildlife Area at (541) 898-2826.

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