Habitat Planning

Habitat Management Plan for HBRA

Since our founding in 1989, the Friends has collaborated with Lane County to restore diverse floodplain and upland habitats on the 2,200-acre Howard Buford Recreation Area (aka HBRA, Buford Park or Mt. Pisgah).  Habitat restoration has been accomplished or is underway on multiple project sites (such as the South Meadow, Spring Box Savanna, Meadowlark Prairie, etc.) totaling over 500 acres.

Yet, more than 1,000 acres on the park would benefit from habitat management. To guide and prioritize future restoration, the Friends has long supported the development of a park-wide habitat management plan. To that end, the Friends also has been collaborating with the Lane County Parks Division and an inter-agency Technical Advisory Group to produce a DRAFT Habitat Management Plan.

Lane County Parks Division is seeking public input on the draft habitat plan between May 9 and June 30, 2016.

Following are resources you can access to learn more about the plan’s elements:


Below are excerpts from the Lane County plan flyer.


The Howard Buford Recreation Area (HBRA) will be managed to conserve and restore prairie, savanna, woodland, forest, and river habitats in ways that enhance visitor experience, compatible recreation and educational uses described in the HBRA Master Plan (1994).

The uplands shall sustain increasingly rare Willamette Valley habitat types including a mosaic of open prairie, savanna, and oak woodland where these habitats occurred historically. Conifer and mixed forest shall be retained and enhanced on upland portions of HBRA that historically supported forests. The lowlands shall sustain healthy riparian (streamside) and aquatic habitats and processes. These native habitats shall support both common and rare native plants and animals, including federally and state-listed threatened and endangered species.

Habitat restoration shall provide significant increases in quality and/or extent of priority habitats to support a high diversity of wildlife species which were historically much more prevalent throughout the entire Willamette Valley. Restoration will also lessen the threat of severe wildfire through the reduction of dense, brushy fuels in prairie, savanna and oak woodland habitats.


The Parks Division initiated habitat management planning and received public input between 2008 and 2011, assisted by Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah and an inter-agency Technical Advisory Group. Planning was suspended in 2012 due to insufficient funding and resumed in 2016.




Target Brief Description
Visitor Experience This target seeks to integrate conservation of the unique “visitor experience” the park offers via sensitively located trails that lead to beautiful and sometimes rare natural habitats that are rich in wildlife and botanical diversity. Buford Park has 27 miles of official trails (including 9 trail miles within the 209-acre Mount Pisgah Arboretum).
Upland prairie and savanna Prairies are grasslands with very few to no trees. Savannas are also grasslands with 1 to 20 trees per acres (often oaks on Mt. Pisgah). Less than 5% of these habitats remain in the Willamette Valley due to conversion to other land uses.
Oak woodland Oak woodlands (20 to 100 trees per acre) have understory vegetation dominated by grasses and wildflowers. Less than 10% of these habitats remain in the Willamette Valley due to conversion to other land uses.
Wet prairie A grassland with few to no trees or shrubs located on hydric soils that are saturated during the rainy season and dry during the summer. Less than 1% of these habitats remain in the Willamette Valley due to conversion to other land uses.
Buckbrush chaparral A shrub-dominated community with few to no trees located on excessively drained to shallow soils on hot, dry hillside exposures and upon gravel bars within the floodplain. The principal shrub species is buckbrush (Ceanothus cuneatus).
Willamette riparian systems and associated floodplain Riparian areas encompass the land and vegetation adjacent to Willamette River and include channels, oxbow lakes, alcoves, sloughs and backwater areas with perennial or intermittent water and hydric and fluvent soils. Less than 10% of these habitats remain due to their alteration to reduce flooding and conversion to other land uses.
Creeks & streams Riparian areas with intermittent flows typically running from October through early June whose headwaters originate on Mount Pisgah.
Oregon Vesper Sparrow Oregon Vesper Sparrow breeds only in the region west of the Cascades. Recent surveys estimate fewer than 500 birds remain in the Willamette Valley.
Bradshaw’s lomatium This wet prairie wildflower, listed both federally and state as “endangered,” is endemic to the Willamette Valley. The population at HBRA is important for the recovery of the species because it is the largest, and possibly only surviving population within the Eugene East recovery zone.


Upland Conifer Forests Conifer forests may have 100 to 200+ trees/acre. The plan would sustain approximately 400 acres of upland conifer forest on HBRA on north-facing slopes to foster late successional (ancient forest) habitat.


GOAL 1: Provide a safe and positive visitor experience in Howard Buford Recreation Area.

GOAL 2: Educate park users about the unique natural values that make HBRA and broader Mount Pisgah area a priority for conservation.

GOAL 3: Maintain and improve park’s trail system to minimize ecological impacts while providing views of and access to HBRA’s diverse habitats.

GOAL 4: Minimize impacts of park management on conservation targets.

GOAL 5: Restore and enhance prairie, savanna and oak woodland habitats by reducing encroaching woody vegetation.

GOAL 6: Achieve significant restoration of prairie and savanna, oak woodland, and wet prairie habitats in HBRA.

GOAL 7: Achieve significant restoration of chaparral habitat in HBRA.

GOAL 8: Manage for diverse native plant communities within each conservation target habitat.

GOAL 9: Increase the extent of wet prairie habitat.

GOAL 10: Locate and to extent feasible reduce populations of feral or harmful non-native animal species impacting conservation targets.

GOAL 11: Locate and reduce the presence of habitat-modifying, non-native plant species within each conservation target habitat.

GOAL 12: Remove fish passage barriers from lower mile of creeks and streams on HBRA that flow into the Coast Fork Willamette River.

GOAL 13: Improve ecological health of creeks and streams.

GOAL 14: Improve ecological health of riparian floodplain habitats.

GOAL 15: Manage habitats in the North Bottomlands Stewardship Zone to be mutually compatible with recreational activities identified in applicable Lane County Parks planning documents.

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