I did not see the notice for this special meeting Sept. 1 about the Moraine Management Plan in the any newspapers — Observer or Wallowa County Chieftain, but it was on the Chieftain website. This public meeting at the Cloverleaf Hall was canceled at the last minute and replaced by a Zoom meeting in the courthouse. A bit difficult for people to attend without a computer?

It is my concern that the Wallowa Lake Moraine Management Plan and Baseline Documentation Report, which are approved by the county but not adopted, are incomplete and violate state law.

The county retained Goal 5 zoning maps adopted in 1995 depicting other resources — a scenic resource map, Indian Cultural Resource map, geologic resource map, but during the process of digitizing the maps the critical wildlife map was lost.

The text of the WCLUP states and the conservation easement in the BDR addresses:

“CONFLICTING USES: The majority of private land within the inventoried wildlife habitat area of the Wallowa Lake moraines is zoned EFU or TG. With the exception of the grazing of livestock — specifically cattle and sheep — all permitted and conditional uses in these zones may change or alter the natural quality of the area and constitute a potential conflicting use ... examples of potential conflicting uses:

01. SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING: Dwellings on the moraines definitely alter the wildlife habitat resource. The increased presence of humans in this resource area will only hasten wildlife demise...”

02. NON RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES

03. “ROADS, DRIVEWAYS, AND OTHER MEANS OF ACCESS: Roads which are located on the moraines would definitely alter the wildlife habitat resource and constitute a conflicting use. Other items which fall under this category include, but are not limited to, are bicycle paths, pedestrian paths, driveways, etc. Uses of this type serve to increase the level of human density and activity in the inventoried area and are considered to have negative effects on wildlife habitat.” (WCLUP Goal 5, Appendix 5-5 and Appendix 5-8.)

The management plan does not contain any of the wildlife inventory maps outlined in the WCLUP. The management plan version is a digitized map and the county maps are typed and hand drawn. The county commissioners have not involved ODFW in the preceding hearings, nor in the prior planning directors meetings with the Wallowa Land Trust on Wildlife issues. Some ODFW persons were involved initially in 2018-19 but have since retired and Pat Mathews is out of state in Colorado. The new wildlife biologist has just started.

It is a great mistake that the management plan does not include the Critical Wildlife Habitat Map adopted into the the Wallowa County Land Use Plan in 1980 and 1995. The management plan does not identify this area at all with respect to the text of the WCLUP outlined above. By avoiding the application of land use law 3C limit conflicting uses, the county is violating Goal 5 and amending the WCLUP itself. The WCLUP must be amended before the county can allow the increase in human density on the moraines.

If the human interaction caused by one house per 160 acres is considered to be in conflict with the resource because it increases human density in the underlying zone, then how can we lose the wildlife map and rezone the property? This rezone will allow upgraded trails and permit-based four-wheelers to access and debase the moraine and the wildlife habitat.

———

Mildred Fraser Ocallaghan

lives in Joseph, and is a land-use planning advocate.

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