The largest privately owned nature sanctuary in the Willamette Valley, Coburg Ridge features some of the largest and best examples of remaining valley native prairie and oak habitats.
The entire Willamette Valley was once dominated by prairie and oak savanna, but today less than 2% of those habitats remain.
Containing 70% of Oregon’s population, the valley is one of the fastest growing regions in the state. Pressures to convert remaining natural areas into residential and urban use pose a significant threat to the future of our fish and wildlife.
In the western foothills of the Cascade Range, east of Eugene
This rare remnant of Willamette Valley upland prairie and oak woodlands features abundant native bunch grasses, Oregon white oak trees, and a variety of wildflowers including Kincaid’s lupine, a critical host plant for the Fender’s blue butterfly larvae.
One of the four largest populations of the endangered Fender’s blue butterfly thrives here, with the preserve also providing prime haunts for at least 25 other at-risk species including western gray squirrel, horned lark, Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly and western meadowlark, Oregon’s state bird.
With the support of private landowners, ecologists have been studying the Fender’s blue butterfly and restoring habitats at Coburg Ridge since the mid-1990s. Now Conservancy staff and volunteer teams are conducting detailed inventories of plant and wildlife populations and habitat conditions.
Restoration efforts include removing invasive plants such as blackberry, replanting native grasses and wildflowers, prescribed burning, and removal of overshadowing Douglas-fir trees to revitalize oak habitats.