Special habitats are places on the landscape that are unique and rare. They are home to plants, animals and fish that require specific environmental conditions to survive and are often only found in these special locations.
Distribution of special habitats
Special habitats are dotted throughout the landscape of the MFWWC – rocky outcroppings at the tops of mountains, upland meadows surrounded by forest, oak savannah, wetlands, and off-channel ponds are just some of the unique habitat types in our watershed. These locations, though open to the public when on public lands, are not singled-out on maps in order to protect them from over-use and disturbance.
Threats to special habitats in the MFWW
Invasive Plants & Loss of Native Habitat: If left unchecked, many invasive plants have the potential to transform entire ecosystems by out-competing native species and, consequently, reducing native fish and wildlife habitat. Invasive plants are prevalent throughout the watershed, particularly below Dexter Dam.
Succession: Many of these special habitats are present due to disturbances such as fire or flooding. Once natural disturbance regimes are limited, different plant communities may develop, hydrology can change, and the animal and fish species associated with the habitat conditions may disappear.
Council goals for special habitats:
- remove non-native species and enhance native species distribution
- protect existing special habitats by encouraging natural disturbance or using methods to replicate the function of natural disturbance
MFWWC Projects involving special habitats:
- Aumack Riparian Enhancement
- Buckhead Natural Area
- Desmond Wetland Enhancement
- Haws Oregon Chub and Riparian Enhancement