August 04, 2022

Northwestern Pond Turtle East Cascades Research with ODFW in Mosier, Oregon

Enjoy this short video about the Northwestern Pond Turtle, one of two native turtle species in Oregon. ODFW's Conservation Biologist and Intern work to capture and mark turtles to better understand their population and movement corridors in the Mosier, Oregon area. The Northwestern pond turtle is an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species.

Posted on August 04, 2022 12:02 AM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 17, 2022

Pygmy rabbits and arboreal activity documented

Photo: A pygmy rabbit climbs a sagebrush. This image was captured on a trail camera as part of on-going survey efforts to document occupancy of North America’s smallest rabbit and the only arboreal rabbit species in the world.

ODFW's East Region Conservation Biologist and field staff continue their pygmy rabbit research in Oregon's sagebrush country and in 2022 they expanded their efforts into Lake County. During recent field work, technicians were able to document arboreal activity by a pygmy rabbit. They will climb sagebrush to forage green leaves, but this activity is rarely seen in the field or documented with a photograph!

Pygmy rabbits are a state Sensitive Species and a Conservation Strategy Species that ODFW biologists are working to learn more about. If you see a pygmy rabbit or tracks or signs of a pygmy rabbit while out exploring Oregon, take a picture, post it to iNaturalist, and be sure to share it with ODFW’s project Oregon Wildlife Conservation ( This ensures that your observations can contribute to conservation efforts for this unique species.

And if you'd like to learn more about pygmy rabbit research, be sure to watch our short video.

Scientists are trying to better understand pygmy rabbit distribution and abundance in sagebrush country as well as population dynamics and the effects of fragmented habitat. Roads and other development can impact pygmy rabbit movement across the landscape.

Pygmy rabbits use tall, dense clumps of basin big sagebrush where they find deep, loose soils for digging burrows near native grasses for summer forage. Habitat loss is a major issue for long-term survival of the species. Pygmy rabbit in Oregon are patchily distributed and susceptible to local declines caused by wildfire for example. Data from ongoing research may help manage pygmy rabbit and conserve Great Basin big sagebrush habitat.

Posted on March 17, 2022 11:50 PM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 27, 2021

Tracking the Disappearance of a Common Stream Frog: iNaturalist Data Leads to New Discoveries

Photo: ODFW biologists filter water samples using a portable pump in order to collect animal DNA from the local environment. Samples are then sent to a laboratory, and DNA material is identified to species. This approach ('eDNA survey") is an efficient way to detect sensitive aquatic species like foothill yellow-legged frogs without the stress to animals from handling. ODFW biologists are using frog data from the Oregon Wildlife Conservation Project to identify additional priority areas for eDNA frog surveys.

Foothill yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii) are an Oregon Conservation Strategy Species currently under review for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Relative to habitat in central and southern California, Oregon is considered a stronghold for enduring populations of frogs. However, populations have declined significantly in the northern and southwestern portions of their Oregon range. In the absence of baseline data on population trends, biologists are uncertain of the extent and magnitude of decline in theses areas where frogs were once abundant.

To support conservation goals for foothill yellow-legged frogs, ODFW and federal partners are documenting frog abundance and distribution using eDNA surveys. This data will help biologists to map occupied habitat to better inform future management actions.

iNaturalist users can take part in this effort by adding foothill yellow-legged frog observations to the Oregon Wildlife Conservation Project. There are over 100 drainages in Oregon where no one has surveyed for foothill yellow-legged frogs despite availability of appropriate habitat, and user observations in these areas could expand the known range of the species.

Staff are also looking for frog observations in over 60 priority drainages in Oregon where there are no recent observation data to confirm if historically documented populations still occur. iNaturalist users have made some excellent frog re-discoveries in these areas, such as the observation below from project member @leppinm. The observation is the first time this species had been seen in the area in over 20 years.

The observation below, submitted by user @jermerckling in Curry County, is the first foothill yellow-legged frog seen in this historically occupied drainage since 1973. Additional surveys nearby in 1999 failed to detect the species, so this is truly an outstanding observation!

For poorly documented species like foothill yellow-legged frogs, the time and effort of community scientists provides critical data needed to support conservation decisions and actions. Thank you to the iNaturalist community for sharing your wildlife observations with our project to help ODFW protect and enhance wildlife populations in Oregon.

To learn more about how to add your observations to the project, see our user guide found here.

Posted on October 27, 2021 03:44 PM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 2 comments | Leave a comment

July 09, 2021

Birds in the SONEC region

The mosaic of wetlands in Southern Oregon and Northern California provide important habitat for an incredible diversity of breeding and migratory birds, including Oregon Conservation Strategy Species like the snowy plover and long-billed curlew.

Earlier this summer, ODFW biologists and volunteers conducted a snowy plover census at sites in eastern Oregon, which added current year data points to a long-standing data set documenting occupancy trends for this species. With uncharacteristically severe heat and drought conditions in Oregon and throughout the west, this summer will be a critical time to monitor for changes in bird behavior and habitat use. Changing water availability and associated declines in habitat quality and forage availability can have lasting effects on where breeding birds are found, and your observations can help ODFW to detect potential impacts to the status and population trends of sensitive species. In areas of eastern Oregon where water features are limiting, even a single breeding season observation of a species like the snowy plover submitted through iNaturalist can add to our understanding of the current distribution of the species, building on efforts like the snowy plover census.

This snowy plover observation from eastern Oregon was recently added to our project by user @cgates326 !

If you have observations of birds, reptiles, amphibians, or mammals in Oregon from this summer, don't forget to add them to our project! Adding your data to our project allows you to share specific geodata for sensitive species with us, and contributes to contribution efforts in the state.

Posted on July 09, 2021 09:13 PM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 13, 2021

Help document Oregon's native turtles

There are two species of freshwater turtles native to Oregon: the western pond turtle and the western painted turtle. Warm spring weather is a perfect time to spot Oregon's native turtles basking on logs or rocks in their aquatic habitats. This is the breeding season for these turtles, so you may see female turtles emerging from ponds to find a spot where they will dig their nests and lay their eggs. Be on the lookout for turtles crossing the road; sometimes females will travel a long distance from ponds to deposit their eggs.

Both of these native turtle species are Oregon Conservation Strategy Species, and face a wide variety of conservation threats, including habitat loss and invasive species. Biologists in Oregon, Washington, and California have been working to map the current distribution of western pond turtles, and need your help! Have you seen turtles basking on a log in a pond or a turtle digging a nest on land? Snap a picture from a safe distance away, document the location, and add it to our project! You can also visit the iNaturalist project Western Pond Turtles in Oregon. Data collected describing the current distribution of this species helps biologists identify priority conservation areas that will help ensure the long term conservation of the species.

To ensure that your data can be used, make sure to add your data to the Oregon Wildlife Conservation project, or, under your project membership, select the option that allows private/obscured observation coordinates to be visible to project curators.

Posted on May 13, 2021 10:00 PM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 2 comments | Leave a comment

February 06, 2021

Curious about how we are using your data?

The data you submit to the Oregon Wildlife Conservation iNaturalist Project is being used to help support ongoing conservation projects, like the Oregon Connectivity Assessment and Mapping Project (OCAMP). OCAMP aims to link landscapes for wildlife by identifying habitat connectivity throughout the state for 54 of Oregon’s native wildlife species. Northern red-legged frog is one of these species, and there are over 500 observations of northern red-legged frog in Oregon logged in iNaturalist! 101 of these observations have already been shared directly with our iNaturalist project.

There’s just one challenge: iNaturalist automatically obscures the locations of observations of sensitive species like northern red-legged frog (distinguished as "taxon geoprivacy"). You can share your data for sensitive species that are obscured by adding them to our project. By sharing your data with our iNaturalist project, you share the actual location of where you saw the animal with us. That information allows us to develop wildlife research and conservation plans. The 101 observations of northern red-legged frogs you have already shared with our iNaturalist project will be used to help validate connectivity maps developed for OCAMP. If you have observations of any of the 54 OCAMP species, it’s not too late to share them with our project!

Posted on February 06, 2021 01:07 AM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 19, 2020

Another welcome to new users, and some helpful guides on how to get started

We’ve had a lot of great engagement with our project already, and are excited to see all of the observations users have shared with us! We have just begun to reach out to new iNaturalist users and conservation partners across Oregon, so another welcome is in order. As our iNaturalist project grows, please share with anyone you know who might be out in Oregon taking pictures or recording sounds of our many wildlife species.

Recently, we put together some helpful guidance documents to help with any questions you may have about joining the project or adding your data to the project. If you’re new to iNaturalist and need help getting started, please visit our guide for new users. If you’re an existing user and are looking for tips on how to add a large number of existing observations to a project, check out this step by step guide to help you easily add batches of up to 200 observations at a time.

We also recently highlighted iNaturalist on our monitoring page on the Oregon Conservation Strategy website. Check out this page to learn about other monitoring efforts in Oregon that help build our understanding of the current status of species and the effectiveness of applied conservation actions, and how the observations you share with us through iNaturalist fit into the monitoring effort.

As you add more wildlife observations in Oregon, don’t forget to add them to our project! You can also set your membership in the project up to allow us to add your observations to the project directly, just visit the guidance documents linked above to learn how.

Thanks, and we're looking forward to seeing what wildlife you see out there

Posted on December 19, 2020 12:51 AM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

November 21, 2020

Oregon Connectivity Assessment and Mapping Project (OCAMP)

Help wildlife stay connected!

Many species rely on the ability to move throughout the landscape to fulfill their daily and seasonal needs for access to food, shelter, and opportunities to reproduce. Human changes to the landscape often restrict the ability of wildlife to move by adding barriers, inducing changes in their behavior, impacting critical migration stopover sites, and increasing habitat fragmentation. The Oregon Connectivity Assessment and Mapping Project (OCAMP) aims to link landscapes for wildlife by identifying habitat connectivity throughout the state for 54 of Oregon’s native wildlife species.

How You Can Help

In particular, there are ten species that have very few observations in the state, and we need your help to find out where they are:

  1. North American Porcupine
  2. Black-tailed Jackrabbit
  3. Ord’s Kangaroo Rat
  4. Northern Alligator Lizard
  5. Western Rattlesnake
  6. American Pika
  7. Bushy-tailed Woodrat
  8. Mountain Goat
  9. Long-nosed Leopard Lizard
  10. Northern Flying Squirrel

Observation data helps us identify where species are in the state, and where they’re moving! We’ll be using observations collected by iNaturalist users to validate our connectivity maps. The more observations we have for a given species, the more confident we can be that the maps we produce will be useful for species conservation. You can help us by sharing photos of any of the 54 OCAMP species. Exploring Oregon’s forests, meadows, and peaks to find where these species are is an important mission, and we can’t do it alone!

Posted on November 21, 2020 12:11 AM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 4 comments | Leave a comment

November 12, 2020

How to Add your Observations to our Project

Hello Oregon iNaturalists!

You’ve joined our project, and now you may be trying to figure out how to add your observations. There are a number of ways to “Batch Add” your existing iNaturalist observations to the project. Here is one option that allows you to add up to 200 of your observations at a time:

  1. Navigate to your observations
  2. select "Edit Observations"
  3. click "Batch Edit”
  4. click "Select All"
  5. click "Add to Project"
  6. choose Add for "Oregon Wildlife Conservation" in the drop down menu

You may also be asking why you need to take action to add your observations – some other projects do it automatically! As the agency in charge of monitoring and managing sensitive species in Oregon, ODFW is especially interested in spatial data for sensitive wildlife species. To protect this sensitive data, iNaturalist requires that users actively choose who they make these data available to. Data for sensitive species (threatened, endangered, sensitive, or otherwise vulnerable) have an obscured geoprivacy setting. This means that the locations of these observations are displayed as a random point within an area of almost 400km² at our latitude. To protect this sensitive data, iNaturalist requires that users actively choose who they make these data available to. Obscured data does not provide the precision that ODFW needs in order to accurately monitor the presence and distribution of these species. The Oregon Wildlife Conservation project is a tool that allows iNaturalists to choose to share their spatial data for these species with us.

As you add more wildlife observations in Oregon, don’t forget to add them to our project! You can also set your membership in the project up to allow us to add your observations to the project directly.

If you run into any problems, please reach out through our iNaturalist account or direct to our email for help.

Stay tuned for some further journal articles that describe how your sensitive species data can contribute to ongoing projects that help ODFW protect these species!

Thanks for joining us, and we look forward to seeing your observations

Posted on November 12, 2020 10:50 PM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 0 comments | Leave a comment

October 28, 2020

Welcome to the Oregon Wildlife Conservation iNaturalist Project!

Have you ever taken a picture of wildlife in Oregon and wondered if anyone might want to know where you saw it? We do!

The Oregon Wildlife Conservation project is an iNaturalist project that allows you to share your wildlife observation data directly with biologists. Participation in this project helps to enhance our understanding of wildlife in our state, and your data can help improve wildlife conservation efforts in Oregon.

There are 109 wildlife Strategy Species included in the Oregon Conservation Strategy, including 17 amphibians, 58 birds, 29 mammals, and 5 reptiles. There are an additional 27 wildlife species identified as Strategy Data Gap Species that we are missing key information for that is needed to accurately determine their conservation status. It isn’t possible for ODFW to survey all of these species, so we need your help documenting where they occur throughout the state. If you see wildlife in Oregon, take a picture and share it with us! Even if you can’t identify what species you are looking at, odds are that someone in the iNaturalist community may be able to help narrow it down.

Thank you for joining the Oregon Wildlife Conservation iNaturalist project! We appreciate your contribution to understanding the presence and distribution of wildlife species across Oregon, and we look forward to seeing your pictures. For more information on this project, please refer to the “About” Section.

Posted on October 28, 2020 08:04 PM by oregonconservationstrategy oregonconservationstrategy | 0 comments | Leave a comment