The 160-acre reserve north of Madras includes a 1.5-mile stretch of Ward Creek
The Deschutes Land Trust announced Thursday (April 14) that it has expanded the size of its Priday Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary north of Madras. The 160-acre addition includes 1.5 miles of Ward Creek and is located just north of the main Priday Ranch property.
The newly protected Ward Creek addition protects a deep, rugged canyon that retains Ward Creek, along with thick riparian vegetation. Ward Creek is home to summer rainbow trout and resident redband trout as it empties into Antelope Creek at Priday Ranch and eventually joins Trout Creek.
In recent years, Trout Creek and its tributaries have experienced some of the lowest flows on record, with many lower parts of Trout Creek dry for much of the year. Ward Creek, however, provides year-round water through this newly protected section to its confluence with Antelope Creek. Year-round cool water habitats are vital for the young summer rainbow trout that mature in these streams and for the larger population of rainbow trout that depend on these streams. refuges during drought years as our climate continues to warm.
A wide range of other wildlife are also found in and along Ward Creek. Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer use this area for their winter range. Hares, bobcats and cougars use grasslands and stream corridors for various life stages and needs. Beavers benefit from robust riparian vegetation that provides food and building materials for their dams. Finally, ground-nesting birds and raptors, such as golden eagles, use grassland and sagebrush habitats for food and cover.
“Protecting this new section of Ward Creek continues a long tradition of conserving and caring for the land that the Priday family loved so much on their family ranch. This ensures fish and wildlife habitat is protected forever. , and that the creek and its surrounding lands continue to provide clean, cold water to human and natural communities for years to come,” said Rika Ayotte, Chief Executive of the Land Trust.
Like many Land Trust projects, Priday Ranch sits on land ceded to the United States by the Confederate Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation in the 1855 treaty with the tribes of central Oregon, and the Land Trust will seek to involve the tribes in the development of strategies. to manage and restore the plot in conjunction with the rest of Priday Ranch. Priday Ranch can be visited on guided tours.
This information is provided by the Deschutes Land Trust.
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