The federal government is counting on Willamette Valley farmers to help the recovery of a threatened bird. This fall, the streaked horned lark was added to the endangered species list.
The bird prefers open habitat, which has been declining, so it's showing up on agricultural land. Typically, finding an endangered species on your land would prohibit any disturbance to the area. But in this case, an exemption will not penalize farmers who find the lark on their property.
Christmas tree plantings are prime locations for the lark. Stephanie Page with the Oregon Department of Agriculture says the same is true for grass seed farms.
Page: “Some of the agricultural practices that have benefitted the bird might be surprising to people. Herbicide applications, for example, between rows of crops can actually help create the bare ground these birds need.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking for farmers in the valley to be partners in a recovery plan to hopefully bring the lark's numbers back up. There are incentive programs available.