Protecting Wildlife Corridors

April 26, 2019

With unabated habitat destruction and fragmentation, the vital corridors by which species move and migrate are being obstructed.  These pathways will become even more essential as animal and plant species are forced to adapt to a warming climate.  This program will focus on Oregon’s Blue Mountains, a mega-wildlife corridor, where the major eco-regions of the Rockies to the east, the Columbia Plateau to the north and west, and the Northern Basin and Range to the south converge.  Not surprisingly, this convergence results in an astounding diversity of animal and plant species.  The program covered the efforts underway to protect the connectivity of these wildlife corridors, their nature and importance, the legal tools available to achieve protection, and pending Oregon legislation to mitigate obstructions to wildlife passage.

Speakers:         Pete Sandrock, served as Benton County District Attorney (1977-1999), Senior Policy Advisor and COO of Metro Regional Government (1999-2003), and Assistant Director of the City of Portland Independent Police Review (2003-2013).  Among his numerous other activities, he drafted the final report of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Sustainable Development Conference (1996), advised the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development (1998-2003), and served as a director and President of Greater Hells Canyon Council (2007-2017).

                        David Mildrexler , holds a B.S. in Environmental Science and Resources from Portland State University, M.S. in Forest Science from the University of Montana, and Ph.D in Forest Ecosystems and Society from Oregon State University.  He worked as Conservation Director for Greater Hells Canyon Council for four years, helping to protect the land, waters, and wildlife of the Blue Mountains.  As an emerging leader in policy-relevant research, Dr. Mildrexler received the 2015 Wilburforce Fellowship in Conservation Science.  He now works as a Systems Ecologist for Eastern Oregon Legacy Lands headquartered in Joseph, Oregon.         

                        Christina deVillier is the Wild Connections Coordinator for Greater Hells Canyon Council.  In that capacity, Ms. deVillier works on the connectivity of wildlife habitat in the Greater Hells Canyon region.  Her diverse background includes an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, work with the Forest Service at the Starkey Experimental Forest, and work with the Nature Conservancy on the Zumwalt Prairie Preserve.

                        Nancy Duhnkrack is a 1985 graduate of Northwestern School of Law, Lewis and Clark College.  She retired in 2014 as Staff Attorney/Law Clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after 20 years at the Court.  She was an Adjunct Professor at the law school from 1990-2010 and is a frequent speaker on conservation easement design and enforcement.  Ms. Duhnkrack coordinates the pro bono program for the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts (COLT) and provides pro bono legal advice to COLT for its members.

Representative Ken Helm is the Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environment.  Rep. Helm represents House District 34, which includes the City of Beaverton.  He is the sponsor of House Bill 2834 pertaining to wildlife corridors.  Rep. Helm received his undergraduate and law degrees from Willamette University.