The Fern Ridge Project encompasses more than 11,000 acres, ranging from open water to marsh, wet prairie and upland prairie habitats. More than 5,000 acres of the Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is managed cooperatively with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. In addition, the Corps works with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to support resident game and nongame fisheries within the Long Tom River Basin.
The Willamette Valley Environmental Stewardship program focuses on restoring degraded uplands, wetlands and streams on Corps lands. Recent efforts include replacing exotic and invasive plants with native trees and shrubs, and restoring hydrology and topography to support native plant communities and wildlife habitat.
The upland prairies and extensive wetlands at Fern Ridge provide habitats for a variety of plants and animals. Fender’s blue butterfly and its host plant, Kinkaid’s lupine, occupy upland prairie habitat around the lake.
Oregon’s largest breeding colony of purple martins is at Fern Ridge, as well as significant populations of breeding western pond turtles. Thousands of acres of emergent marsh support the summer breeding habitat for a variety of water-bird species.
Native upland prairies, along with wet prairies, now cover much less than one percent of their former area, making them some of the rarest North American ecosystems. Remnants of these highly diverse, complex and poorly understood ecosystems provide necessary habitat for many rare species. More than 50 rare species can be found at Fern Ridge, including several species federally listed as threatened or endangered.
The Fern Ridge Lake Shoreline Management Plan was developed in 1988 and revised by Addendum in 1997.
Related: Moorage Guidelines.