protect & preserve PRIVATE LAND for future generations
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified “holder” that allows a landowner to limit the type of uses on their property while retaining private ownership of the land. If you or your organization are interested in visiting either of our conservation easements, please contact our Outreach Coordinator, Morgan Neil at email@example.com.
Polk SWCD acquired this 188-acre property with a perpetual conservation easement in the fall of 2019. It consists of oak-covered hillsides in the Baskett-Butte area rising gradually above an intermittent branch of Crowley Creek, a tributary of Rickreall Creek. These hillsides, containing nearly pure oak stands of varying density and are dotted with upland prairie openings, host a large and growing population of federally endangered Fender's blue butterfly and its host plant, Kincaid's lupine.
Below these oak hillsides are several fields in the process of returning to active use (a mix of grazing and grass seed production) after several decades in the USDA Conservation Reserve Program.
Polk SWCD acquired Cornerstone in 2016. As part of a long-term vision, these 87 acres will continue to hold onto, and expand, the grassland and oak savanna with portions of Oak woodland with a transition to mixed woodland and conifer forest in the southern portion of the property. To achieve these long-term goals, the existing woodlot will be harvested and replanted as grassland and oak habitat types, developed and managed to match and complement the existing oak areas. Significant efforts will be required to establish a native grass understory in this area to prevent the expansion of invasive vegetation populations. Additional areas restored to native prairie will improve Cornerstone’s ability to house additional sensitive bird species, increase native forb species populations and forage quality for oak associated birds, mammals, and invertebrates, as well as wet meadow and riparian species who frequent or reside in nearby areas.