Action Plan

2008-2012
Adopted January 2nd, 2008

INTRODUCTION

WorkingWalama Restoration Project (WRP) was founded as a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization in June 2001. WRP held its first formal Board of Directors meeting in February 2002.

Mission

Walama Restoration Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to environmental stewardship and biological diversity through education and habitat restoration.

WRP’s programs and projects have expanded rapidly over the last three years. This document focuses on building the effectiveness of WRP’s internal processes in order to improve Board involvement, utilize the expertise of collaborating groups, address staff needs, sustain fiscal growth, and foster public involvement. The plan will also guide the implementation and direction of WRP’s educational programs, stewardship projects, and contracting services for the next four years.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Walama Restoration Project would like to thank the University of Oregon Business Consulting Team and their enthusiastic Faculty Advisor for their support and guidance in the formulation of this Action Plan. As part of the Business School’s senior thesis project, this group of honors students worked diligently and effectively with our staff and Board of Directors to understand the full scope of WRP. After ten weeks of hard work, they presented a final document to the Board that provided a strategic plan outline and a customized agenda for designing WRP’s long-term future activities. The team, who volunteered to direct WRP on this journey, provided the organization with invaluable information and technical support.
The Strategic Planning Team

  • Evelyn Hess, WRP President
  • Howard Bonnett, WRP Board Member
  • Micah Frumkin, U of O Business Team
  • Rachel Garrett, U of O Business Team
  • Chris Gray, U of O Business Team
  • Lukas Jones, U of O Business Team
  • Anne Forrestel, U of O Business Team Faculty Advisor and Senior Instructor of Business
  • Heather Lintz, WRP Co-Founder
  • Rachel Foster, WRP Board Secretary
  • Stuart Perlmeter, WRP Board Member
  • Kit Kirkpatrick, WRP Board Member
  • Michael Robert, WRP Board Member
  • Nick Otting, WRP Board Member
  • Sabra Marcroft, WRP Board Member
  • Stephanie Schroeder, Executive Director
  • Yotokko Kilpatrick, Operations Director

HISTORY AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

The activities of the WRP are divided into two main categories of community involvement: environmental education, and habitat restoration. Both components are multifaceted and work together to meet the objectives of the organization.

A. Environmental Education

WRP has helped formulate an understanding of watershed issues that are relevant to people in and adjacent to the Southern Willamette Valley. WRP has collaborated with the City of Eugene, The City of Cottage Grove, The Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council, Lane County Public Works, Lane Community College, University of Oregon, community volunteers, one private school, and more than ten public schools in Lane County on the following watershed education, land stewardship, and public outreach projects:

  • Riparian restoration along the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers
  • Removal of invasive plant species
  • Establishment of a native upland prairie
  • Propagation of rare upland and sub-alpine plants
  • Water quality monitoring
  • Seed collection of sensitive species
  • Habitat monitoring

WRP has served more than 1,600 students in public schools throughout Lane County since 2002 including McKenzie High School in the rural Cascade Mountains and Territorial Elementary school in the rural area of Cheshire. Additionally, WRP has worked with more than 200 volunteers and University students on projects ranging from on-the-ground restoration work to hosting public events and monitoring research plots. The following are community and school programs that WRP has designed and implemented.

  1. Native Seeds to Native Lands Watershed Program (NSTNL)WRP began the NSTNL Program in public elementary schools in 2002. The program began as a series of seasonal workshops that consisted of interactive field trips, the introduction of ecological concepts, and hands-on opportunities to conduct restoration work such as tree planting, seed collection, seed cleaning, and plant propagation. NSTNL workshops have been implemented in more than 10 schools throughout Lane County. In addition, NSTNL workshops have evolved into partnerships with two summer day camps, four local non profits, one watershed council, and several local businesses.
  2. Whilamut Natural Area Butterfly Meadow ProjectThe Whilamut Natural Area (WNA) is an urban park that has been identified by the City of Eugene as valuable habitat to be restored to its natural plant communities- upland prairie, oak savanna, and riparian woodland. The 3-acre WNA Butterfly Meadow within the park is surrounded by more than 280 acres of parkland bordering the Willamette River, providing an important buffer zone for wildlife species. The butterfly meadow has been managed as a mowed field for several years prior 2004. A long-term priority for WRP is to introduce a large source of native nectar and host plants in the butterfly meadow. The meadow will provide an upland corridor for rare butterfly species currently returning and increasing in population throughout prairie ecosystems in the region.
    In June 2004, WRP initiated a seed collection and nursery program that targeted species suitable for prairie ecosystems. In spring of 2005, WRP staff and volunteers placed 15,000 square feet of clear solarizing plastic sheeting onto a tilled portion of the butterfly meadow, initiating Phase I of our rehabilitation project. In October 2005, staff and local youth removed the plastic and seeded the area with a mix of native forbs and grasses. Staff and volunteers also planted hundreds of plants representing more than 20 species grown in WRP’s nursery. In spring 2006, WRP staff and local youth continued Phase I by intensively hand weeding the site. Volunteers from a youth group aided WRP in placing more than 16,000 square feet of shade cloth directly adjacent to the Phase I site.
    To date, WRP has inventoried more than 52 species of native prairie plants growing in thick densities throughout the 31,000 square foot area. WRP has worked with approximately 300 students from the Eugene 4J School District and 36 community volunteers on its meadow restoration project.
  3. Native Plant Nursery and Propagation CenterIn early 2007, The City of Eugene provided WRP a large space in its nursery and maintenance center to build additional raised beds for plant propagation. The nursery site is directly adjacent to the Whilamut Natural Area Butterfly Meadow. WRP worked with volunteers and students from a local high school to construct, fill, and sow beds with native plant species. The nursery serves as a collaborative effort to increase species diversity and abundance in restored prairie sites. The nursery also serves as an educational platform for elementary and high school classes. The WNA butterfly meadow will be the main recipient of many of the propagated plants grown in the nursery.
  4. Coast Fork STREAM (Students Trained in River Enhancement, Awareness, and Monitoring) ProgramWRP is collaborating with the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council, the City of Cottage Grove, and four instructors from Cottage Grove schools to develop and implement a watershed preservation project focusing on one reach of City property along the Coast Fork Willamette River within walking distance of 3 schools. Student projects include monitoring water quality, performing ecological assessments and restoring the reach of the river with native plants. WRP’s goal for this project is to illustrate the relationship between watershed preservation, riparian restoration, and human health. WRP fosters individual student achievement through field-based learning and will use outcomes from the STREAM Program as a model for additional restoration projects in tributaries of the Coast Fork. Finally, this project promotes collaboration between the local watershed council, the City of Cottage Grove, South Lane School District, and other agencies to advance advocacy for watershed preservation in the Upper Willamette basin.
  5. Obsidian Preservation ProgramWalama Restoration Project is continuing a community-driven seed collection and re-vegetation project at degraded campsites in a highly used limited entry area of the Three Sisters Wilderness. This recovery project expands stewardship efforts to sustain ecological diversity in the Obsidian Falls region of the Three Sisters Wilderness Area. WRP has worked closely with middle and high school students from the Network Charter School and McKenzie High School to conduct seed cleaning and plant propagation of more than 15 species of sub alpine plants. Network Charter School students accompanied WRP staff in the wilderness area on two occasions to transplant more than 500 seedlings at one campsite and to collect cuttings for propagation. Additional partners involved in the project include the McKenzie Ranger District and The Backcountry Horsemen of Oregon. The Obsidian Preservation Project will continue in subsequent years and expand to additional degraded campsites throughout the Three Sisters Wilderness.
  6. Public Outreach and ParticipationWRP has made a strong effort to conduct extensive environmental outreach in Lane County. WRP conducts year-round field canvassing that produces a large amount of public financial support, and serves as an effective tool to disseminate information about the organization’s current programs. WRP has more than 2,200 donating members who receive a biannual newsletter, online bulletins and updates, and invitations to work parties and events. WRP has hosted numerous successful volunteer work parties in public parks since 2002. In addition, WRP has actively participated in many public events including restoration and native plant conferences, field tours, annual community festivals, and program fundraisers.
    WRP has a highly informational and up-to-date website that posts newsletters, announcements, programs, and links to partnering organizations. WRP has drafted and distributed two informational brochures, “English Ivy: The Hazards and Removal Strategies,” and “How to Restore a Native Ecosystem in Your Backyard.” Both brochures may be downloaded from WRP’s website and are available to the public.

Habitat Restoration

WRP currently serves the public by conducting high profile, collaborative habitat restoration work in public parks and on private property throughout the Southern Willamette Valley, the Oregon Coast Range, and the Central Cascades.

  1. StewardshipsWRP voluntarily adopts public land parcels specifically for restoration and educational purposes. The adoptions, or stewardships, consist of assessment, restoration, maintenance, and educational activities contributing to the restoration of a land parcel to as near its original integrity as possible. Community volunteers and students participate in any or all aspects of the stewardship, thereby complementing WRP’s environmental education objectives by adding an experiential component.
    The assessment involves a close survey of areas located on either public or private land. The assessment is performed in cooperation with or at the request of the landholder, and is prioritized based on the ecological significance of the site. After assessment, a restoration plan is proposed including treatments such as invasive vegetation removal and native species replanting. Upon acceptance, a work plan is developed and implemented. After completion of the initial work plan, WRP fulfills the final role in the stewardship by periodic maintenance of the site to ensure long-term success of the work plan.
    WRP stewardship sites:

    Site Name Landowner
    Whilamut Natural Area Butterfly Meadow City of Eugene
    Maurie Jacobs Park City of Eugene
    Crest Heights Park City of Eugene
    Lafferty Park City of Eugene
    Gudu-Kut Natural Area City of Eugene
    Coast Fork Willamette River City of Cottage Grove
    Obsidian Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness USDA Forest Service
  2. Restoration ServicesWRP enters into fee-based contracts with public agencies and private landowners to restore and enhance degraded sites in the Southern Willamette Valley. The contracts periodically employ up to fifteen restoration workers at a time. WRP is licensed and bonded to conduct work for agencies ranging from local watershed councils to municipal, county, and federal governments.
    WRP has propagated more than 15 sub alpine and middle elevation species in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Additionally, WRP has collected seeds of, propagated, and planted more than 30 valley and foothill species, including rare grasses and herbaceous plants. In collaboration with local watershed councils, WRP has restored more than 60 acres of stream-side habitat along salmon-spawning tributaries of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. WRP has successfully re-contoured unstable riparian slopes, weeded invasive species, and planted more than 52,000 trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
    In partnership with the City of Eugene, Eugene BLM, Marion County, and The Nature Conservancy WRP selectively weeded non-native vegetation on more than 60 acres of critically endangered wetland habitat. WRP has additionally planted more than 46,000 native grass and wildflower starts in order to improve imperiled upland and prairie habitats. WRP assists crew members to learn plant identification, work methods, floral and faunal communities, and native plant propagation methods.
    Additional contracted work includes:

    • Non-chemical weed control including innovative shade cloth treatments
    • Plant propagation
    • Removal of large woody species
    • Sheet mulching and maintenance
    • Field monitoring and data collection
    • Site design and project plan development
    • Site consultations

    In addition to the ecological impact that WRP restoration work has conducted in public parks, WRP has made a positive impact on neighboring communities. For instance, WRP has held a price agreement with the City of Eugene since 2001 to perform invasive species removal in sensitive areas. English ivy (Hedera helix) has been removed from more than 36 acres in seven City parks. WRP’s field canvass has visited neighborhoods bordering the parks providing information to neighbors and distributing a WRP flyer discussing English ivy hazards, removal methods, and maintenance. As a result, many landowners have become involved with WRP, collaborated with staff to conduct ivy removal on their own properties bordering impacted parks, and raised funds for further ivy removal within bordering parks.

GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

Goal 1. Improve effectiveness and efficiency, and broaden organization scope.

Objective 1. Improve WRP Board effectiveness.
  1. Introduce a subcommittee structure to Board function.
  2. Develop functional Board subcommittees that will utilize all members of the Board according to their interests and expertise.
  3. Subcommittees will bring recommendations to the entire Board at quarterly meetings.
  4. Increase board activities in planning and policy development, organizational development, and fundraising development.
  5. Increase training and development of current and future members within the Board.
  6. Strive to increase the number of Board Members and to obtain one additional member with financial experience.
  7. Assure subcommittee and Board structure is functional, effective, and performing adequately.
Objective 2. Improve individual and organizational satisfaction with WRP.
  1. Develop survey forms to determine satisfaction levels and to receive feedback. One form will be developed for restoration work and one form will be for educational services.
  2. Survey satisfaction levels of individuals and organizations that receive WRP services.
Objective 3. Ensure consistency of mission, goals, and activities.
  1. Adopt procedures for annual review by the Board to assure WRP’s activities remain aligned with its Mission and Goals, and to determine whether modifications of WRP’s goals or activities may be necessary.
  2. Conduct annual reviews of WRP’s expenditures and activities, beginning for the 2008 calendar year.
  3. Create a process to follow social, economical, environmental, and restoration trends.
    1. Utilize either a subcommittee or community forum to annually discuss relevant changes in trends.
    2. Use the information gathered to evaluate WRP’s current activities and goals.
Objective 4. Improve WRP staff effectiveness.
  1. Recruit new staff members to support, strengthen, and expand program and project capacity.
  2. Clearly define staff titles and write descriptions of individual staff duties, and provide competitive compensation with benefits.
    1. Provide detailed job descriptions of Executive Director, Operations Director, Program Coordinator, and Office Manager.
  3. Provide resources for training and/or conferences to support skill development among staff.
  4. Work with Executive Director to serve as a communication link to Board, and work with Board to identify key issues and concerns.

Goal 2. Ensure fiscal growth and sound financial management.

Objective 1. Present quarterly reports and annual reviews that describe WRP’s fiscal activities.
  1. Office Manager will reconcile payroll and fiscal activities bi-monthly. Executive Director will develop financial reports, maintain financial records, and work with the Board Treasurer to report finances to the Board.
  2. Budget/Finance subcommittee will work with the Executive Director to develop and track budget progress and make recommendations to the Board.
Objective 2. Secure financial support for education/outreach programs from diverse funding sources and strengthen grant competitiveness.
  1. Hire a grant writer/Development Coordinator.
  2. Actively research funding trends and sources, and continue to update the grant donor fundraising matrix sheet that identifies deadlines, grant amounts, reporting, and procedures.
  3. Encourage partnerships with other organizations and agencies to collaborate on funding/granting opportunities.
  4. Establish a reserve fund with remaining funds from 2007 budget year and monies budgeted for 2008. Use of the reserve fund should be restricted to shortfalls in revenue needed to maintain on-going WRP programs.
  5. Maintain and update website to recognize contributors and volunteers.
Objective 3. Strengthen effectiveness of contracting for services.
  1. Actively research competitive contracts out for bid, competing agencies and their rates, and contract licensing requirements.
  2. Survey satisfaction levels of agencies and individuals receiving WRP’s contracted services.
Objective 4. Strengthen membership program structure and local fundraising.
  1. Update membership database bi-monthly in order to track membership dues received per quarter
    1. Send reminder letters each quarter to members who haven’t renewed their memberships.
  2. Develop thank-you postcards to send to all new or renewed members.
  3. Increase the number of public fundraising events held yearly.
  4. Expand door-to-door fundraising efforts beyond Eugene area.
  5. Evaluate cost effectiveness for WRP fundraisers to ensure alignment with organizational objectives.
    1. Restructure canvassing efforts to focus both on fundraising and recruiting new members.

Goal 3. Increase education and community outreach.

Objective 1. Strengthen community outreach and participation.
  1. Develop annual activities at restoration sites that will increase the involvement of members and community volunteers.
  2. Utilize AmeriCorps program to gain assistance in strengthening education/outreach objectives
  3. Hire a Program Coordinator or hire a school intern/AmeriCorps volunteer to host volunteer community work parties and events.
  4. Participate in local and regional events that will promote WRP’s programs and activities and recruit volunteers.
  5. Develop and update new and current brochures on community programs and projects.
  6. Develop monthly volunteer days at the WRP urban nursery site.
Objective 2. Strengthen and expand school-based education programs.
  1. Hire AmeriCorps intern and/or Education Coordinator to expand and facilitate education program at existing and new schools.
  2. Continue to develop curriculum for Middle and High School Charter Schools.
  3. Continue to develop a set curriculum for schools in the Coast Fork Willamette River STREAM Program.
  4. Recruit additional schools to participate in the education program at Whilamut Natural Area Butterfly Meadow.
  5. Develop an additional nursery/education site at Agnes Stewart Middle School in Springfield, OR.
  6. Strengthen and continue partnerships with University of Oregon and Lane Community College in developing education internships for credit.
    1. Develop internships for research at the Whilamut Natural Area Butterfly Meadow.

Goal 4. Expand and develop habitat restoration strategies

Objective 1. Evaluate and improve existing habitat restoration practices.
  1. Monitor existing restoration sites and establish research plots to determine best management practices for achieving project goals.
    1. Establish photo points at restoration sites to monitor research and project succession.
  2. Utilize feedback forms issued to partnering agencies by WRP to determine project successes.
  3. Conduct vegetative and pollinator surveys to help determine effectiveness of restoration procedures.
Objective 2. Develop and evaluate new restoration practices.
  1. Establish test plots to evaluate various restoration treatment methods.
  2. Utilize most effective methods in different aspects of restoration procedures.
  3. Utilize most effective methods specific to given restoration site.
  4. Conduct on-going monitoring of restoration sites to evaluate effectiveness of restoration treatment procedures.
Objective 3. Disseminate best practices with other agencies.
  1. Conduct extensive networking to agencies beyond the scope of WRP’s current clientele to expand the use of effective practices.
  2. Network with regional and national agencies beyond the scope of WRP’s current clientele to find additional effective restoration practices that fall within the framework of WRP’s mission.

IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION

The Walama Restoration Project Board of Directors, Executive Director, and Operations Director will be responsible for developing the beginning stages of the Action Plan in 2008. Walama Restoration Project realizes that this action plan serves as a living, evolving document that will allow the organization to move in a positive direction, fulfill the present goals, enable WRP’s capacity to grow, and provide new project opportunities. The Action Plan will help steer the WRP Board and staff in developing, implementing, and evaluating the organization’s progress in the next four years. The WRP Board and staff will revisit the plan each year to monitor progress and determine whether revisions are necessary.