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Pulling barbed wire fence at the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge with ONDA

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Photographs Copyright© 2005-6 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.


From our Calendar of interesting events:
Sunday through Wednesday, May 15 to18, 2005, Hart Mountain Fence Pull with Oregon Field Guide, free with ONDA
Oregon Field Guide is doing a special on Hart Mountain and we get to play a part! The fence pulls have been a significant part of the restoration at the Refuge and by the end of this summer, all old fence will have been removed. Help take out some of the last sections of obsolete barbed-wire fence, possibly appear on OFG, and soak in the hot springs at the cow-free Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Contact Erin at (541)330-2638 or for more information.


More information about the Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge

Hart Mountain National Antelope Range

"Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge derives its name from the massive fault block ridge that ascends abruptly nearly three quarters of a mile above the Warner Valley floor in a series of rugged cliffs, steep slopes, and knife-like ridges. The east side of the mountain is less precipitous, descending in a series of rolling hills and low ridges to the sagebrush-grasslands typical of southeastern Oregon and the Great Basin.

The rugged diversity of the terrain creates a rich mix of habitat types, home to more than 300 species of wildlife. Featured species include pronghorn antelope, California bighorn sheep, mule deer, sage grouse, and redband trout. The 269,000-acre refuge is one of the most expansive wildlife habitats in the arid West free of domestic livestock.

Since its creation in 1936 as a range for remnant herds of pronghorn antelope, management of the refuge has broadened to include conservation of all wildlife species characteristic of this high desert habitat and restoration of native ecosystems for the public's enjoyment, education, and appreciation.

For over a century, livestock grazing and fire suppression greatly influenced the native plants and wildlife on the refuge. A management plan completed in 1994 excludes livestock grazing from the refuge for 15 years (until 2009) and calls for the reintroduction of fire as a primary process to restore native plant communities and wildlife habitat. Prescribed fire is now used to restore native plant communities.

We closely monitor the effects of management actions such as prescribed fire on wildlife and their habitat to ensure management objectives are met. Hundreds of miles of interior fence were constructed to manage livestock and utilize vegetation. With livestock removed, the interior fence is no longer needed and reduces the natural movement of wildlife.

Removing this fence is a primary objective of the refuge. Riparian areas and upland watersheds are monitored annually to track the recovery of these critical habitats. If left unchecked, the Hart Mountain feral horse herd, currently about 200 animals, doubles about every 3-4 years. Feral horses are descended from domestic stock turned loose around the turn of the twentieth century.

Their grazing can devastate native vegetation and severely damage riparian habitat. They directly compete for forage and water with native wildlife. The 1990 Hart Mountain Comprehensive Management Plan calls for total removal of these horses. Over 300 species of birds and mammals are found on the refuge. Pronghorn, sage grouse, mule deer and California bighorn sheep are featured species.

The Hart Mountain California bighorn sheep herd provides the genesis for the majority of sheep reintroductions in Oregon. Its health is essential for the continued success of reintroducing this species throughout the northwest. Although the refuge has been historically known for its abundant big game, the extensive riparian habitat and unique old growth juniper woodland has also made it a mecca for serious birders."
--US Fish & Wildlife Service




Read more . . .
Hart Mountain National Wildlife Range
Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge

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