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Local Preserve Expansion Helps Nature and People

Acreage further protects critical habitat for federally endangered Fender's blue butterfly and other at-risk species.

Growing Yamhill Oaks

See photos and hear from a scientist why protecting Yamhill Oaks is important


YAMHILL COUNTY, OR | May 06, 2013

The Nature Conservancy announces the expansion of Yamhill Oaks Preserve. It recently purchased 48 acres adjacent to its existing preserve in Yamhill County, 40 miles southwest of Portland. The property will help conserve an additional 12 acres of critical habitat for the federally endangered Fender’s blue butterfly and its host plant Kincaid’s lupine.

When the Conservancy established the preserve in 2009, it became the northern Willamette Valley’s first protected core population of Fender’s blue butterfly. The butterfly was presumed extinct in the late 1930s and rediscovered in 1989. The expansion now protects 55 percent of the butterfly’s habitat in Yamhill County.

The area is home to rare oak woodland and prairie habitats which once dominated the Willamette Valley. Today, less than 5 percent remains. “This is a win for conservation,” says Dan Bell, the Conservancy’s Willamette Basin conservation director. “Acquiring this property strengthens a core conservation building block in the growing northwestern Willamette Valley.”

The property was purchased from the Pugh family, who has deep roots in the area. “We are honored that the Pugh family has entrusted The Nature Conservancy with the stewardship of this property,” adds Bell. “It takes all of us working together to ensure these beautiful and important places are here for generations to come.”

Family work parties at Yamhill Oaks Preserve are another example of partnering with the community in the name of nature. People are rolling up their sleeves for volunteer restoration activities like controlling invasive plants, thinning trees and collecting native seeds. The Conservancy encourages community members to register for the next family friendly work party at Yamhill Oaks Preserve on July 13.

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nature Conservancy members and donors are providing funding for the purchase and long-term management of the Pugh property.

“The establishment of the Yamhill Oaks Preserve is an incredibly important milestone in our goal to protect the Willamette Valley for nature and people”, said Judi Johansen, chair of the board of trustees for The Nature Conservancy in Oregon. “We’re counting on generous additional support from those who care deeply about conserving Oregon’s most important habitats as we work with partners to successfully advance conservation in the Willamette Valley.”

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Tracey Stone
The Nature Conservancy in Oregon

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