Both editions of Wild in the City neatly bracket the Portland metropolitan region's efforts to integrate nature into the city. The first edition celebrated urban greenspace planning from the late 1980s to the first wave of regional natural area acquisitions, while the region debated public policy regarding protection of nature in the city. Wild in the City, Exploring The Intertwine picks up where the wisdom of protecting nature in the city is no longer debatable and that integrating nature into the urban fabric is considered essential to creating livable, healthy and economically successful cities and regions.
|Dr. David Goode|
|Camley Street Natural Park |
Lesson learned-----the power of the outside expert. And if they have an English accent, so much the better!
Lesson learned------hosting symposia and conferences, while energy intensive, is a great strategy to build political and grassroots support and goes a long way in establishing long-term relationships with researchers and allies.
|Great Blue Heron|
Photo: Mike Houck
|Blue Heron Ale label|
Lesson learned------make time for celebrating your successes, preferably over a great ale!
Lesson learned------ Elected officials and policy makers are loath to be a pioneer, particularly in a down economy. Use successful models to emulate and generate political will.
One of our biggest hurdles to building the political will and agency support for protecting restoring and managing urban wildlife habitat was the entrenched bias against allegedly "trashed" urban natural resources. A prime example was an early natural heritage project that mapped the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. When mapped as such a large scale the pixel size was so great that the entire Portland metropolitan region was interpreted as "urban", meaning there was little if any biodiversity in the urban landscape.
Fortunately one of our early partners, the Oregon office of U S Fish and Wildlife, contracted with the Oregon Natural Heritage Database to remap the urban growth boundary which surrounds the 24 cities and three counties within the Portland region. At that finer scale what had appeared as a monotypic "urban" landscape revealed significant areas of high species richness right into the center of the urbanized environment.
That early mapping effort justified future work by our regional government, Metro, and others in the Portland-Vancouver region, on both sides of the Columbia River.
Lesson learned---------People love maps. The first thing they do is look for their house. Your best friend is the nearest GIS whiz. Scale is everything!
|Clark County Legacy Lands|
Lesson learned-------"Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Think big." Daniel Burnham
An Excerpt from Wild in the City
|Click here to read the full excerpt.|
Mike Houck, Director
*U S Fish and Wildlife Service former regional director, Marv Plenert and his staff, Russ Peterson, Bob Fields, Pat Wright, and Dennis Peters---all since retired----deserve a huge debt of gratitude. More recently, State Supervisor Paul Henson and his staffer Jennifer Thompson and Regional Director Robyn Thorson have continued USFWS's support of The Intertwine Alliance. Special thanks to Nancy Pollot for her encouragement and posting our blogs.