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
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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
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