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BANDON – More than 30 organizations and individuals signed a Declaration of Cooperation on Dec. 4 at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, demonstrating a commitment to manage and control gorse in the South Coast region.

Cooperators represent both public and private interests in response to Gov. Kate Brown’s designation in December 2016 of gorse mitigation as an Oregon Solutions project. 

Gorse is a noxious weed often found in dense thickets along the coast of Oregon It is highly invasive, extremely flammable and is one of the most difficult weeds in the world to manage.

Gorse has fueled catastrophic fire, one of which burned the entire city of Bandon in 1936, and notable fires in 1980, 1999, 2007 and 2015.

While there are patches of gorse popping up along the Oregon Coast, it is concerning that dense gorse thickets currently cover approximately 60 percent of a 250-acre area of largely undeveloped land surrounded by urban development inside the City of Bandon’s urban growth boundary, posting a significant fire threat to residents and the city of Bandon. This area is referred to as the Donut Hole and is a top priority for annexation in the city's comprehensive plan.

In addition to being an extreme fire threat, gorse rapidly invades land, reducing economic and ecological value and impacting operations, including farming, grazing and forestry.

“Gorse is a pressing, everyday issue affecting the people, places and industries of the South Coast,” said state Rep. Caddy McKeown. “I am committed to supporting the Gorse Action Group in finding solutions for the control and eventual eradication of gorse.”

McKeown is a leader is Oregon’s Legislature in addressing invasive species threats to the state’s economic and environmental health.

For nearly a year, since March 2017, co-convenors Jim Seeley, director of Wild Rivers Coast Alliance, and Rep. McKeown have led a public and private collaborative group who outlined a set of solutions, ranging from establishing Firewise communities in the region; coordinating diverse partnerships to remove gorse along roads, railways, trails and waterways; to providing education, training and technical assistance to assist people working to manage – and hopefully eradicate – gorse infestations.

“Long-term progress is not achievable by one organization or person alone,” Seeley said. “The Gorse Action Group is an example of a diverse group of organizations, public officials and individuals coming together to pool resources, expertise and strategic vision to work toward a common and achievable set of solutions.”

The Gorse Action Group will continue to work toward the solutions identified during the Oregon Solutions project.

For more information, or to get involved, visit GorseActionGroup.org.

In support of the Oregon Solutions gorse project, the following committed to help control and eradicate gorse along the South Coast in various capacities:

Al Johnson, Wild Rivers Coast Alliance steering committee member, retired land use attorney

Bandon Dunes Golf Resort

Bureau of Land Management

By-the-Sea Gardens, LLC

City of Bandon

Coos County Board of Commissioners

Coos County Noxious Weed Control District Advisory Board

Coos County Office of Emergency Management

Coos Forest Protective Association

Coos Watershed Association

Coquille Indian Tribe

Curry County Board of Commissioners

Curry County Office of Emergency Management

Curry Soil & Water Conservation District

Douglas County Soil & Water Conservation District

Hedley Prince (individual) - Donut Hole property owner

Lane County Public Works

NeighborWorks Umpqua

Oregon Department of Agriculture

Oregon Department of Transportion

Oregon Regional Solutions, Southern Oregon Region, Office of Gov. Kate Brown

Oregon Natural Resources Conservation Service

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department

Oregon State University Extension Service

South Coast Watershed Council

South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

State Representative, House District 9, Caddy McKeown

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wild Rivers Coast Alliance

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