The next phase of the Wasco County 2040 work plan focuses on Goal 5 issues (Open Spaces, Scenic and Historic Areas and Natural Resources). This work impacts many of Wasco County’s Environmental Protection Districts.
Feedback from outreach over the last several years has included an interest in developing protections for Oregon White Oak. A deciduous hardwood tree native to Oregon, the hardy Oregon White Oak can withstand flooding and drought, and is critical habitat for many wildlife species including western gray squirrels, woodpeckers, and red fox.
An interesting factor of this habitat is that a mix of white oak stands with dead, healthy and decadent trees of various sizes attract the greatest variety of wildlife. In part, this is because the cavities in dead white oaks provide storage and nests.
White oak trees are most commonly seen in Wasco County in our forest zones.
One proposed method to protect this critical habitat is to modify Wasco County’s sensitive wildlife overlay (Environmental Protection District 8) to include preservation of white oak stands by not allowing development to occur on white oak stand sites.
The Landowner’s Guide (link shared below) includes many strategies a property owner can also employ to safeguard white oak trees.
This is one issue that will be evaluated during the next six to eight months as Wasco County 2040 as new policies and implementation strategies for Goal 5 resources are developed. This includes removing conifers, performing thinning, and planting native grasses. There are also several useful flow charts to help assess individual properties for different restoration or preservation measures.
To learn more about Oregon White Oaks, please check out these resources:
Oregon Department of Forestry’s What’s so special about Oregon White Oaks
Woodland Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife on White Oaks Woodlands
Woodland Fish and Wildlife’s Oregon White Oak and Wildlife
Would you like to provide comments about Goal 5 or Oregon White Oaks and Wasco County’s land use plans? Submit a comment here!