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Benson Pond 2019 Work Party

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When: May 04, 2019 from 08:00 am to 04:00 pm

Benson Pond is one of several visitor and birder “favorite” places on the Refuge. As part of the long-term plan, we will be working on weed removal, native plant restoration, building an ADA accessible loop trail, installing interpretive signs, and assisting with implementation of an experimental treatment for removing reed canary grass from the edges of Benson Pond.

Where: Meet at Benson Pond at 8 a.m. on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

Benson Pond is one of several visitor and birder “favorite” places on the Refuge. Currently, Benson Pond provides wildlife viewing along a dike top and along the CPR road. The stand of homestead-era mature deciduous trees provide owl and arborial bird viewing, shade, and harbor a CCC era pump/well house. Improving visitor access and experience at Benson Pond has been discussed a number of times over the past two decades. As part of our work in the Harney Basin, specifically at Malheur NWR, Audubon Society of Portland is working with Malheur NWR to develop a long-term plan for Benson Pond. 

As part of the long-term plan, we will be working on weed removal, native plant restoration, building an ADA accessible loop trail, installing interpretive signs, and assisting with implementation of an experimental treatment for removing reed canary grass from the edges of Benson Pond. This work party will be the first step in making the long-term plan a reality. 

Specifically, we will be removing the wire and posts from our planting last spring, clearing the willows around the shrubs that we planted, and doing some weed surveys and removal. If there is time, we will also be installing bird nest boxes and doing some preliminary work on the trail that is being created at Benson Pond. 

What to Bring 

Please bring a packable lunch and water bottle, sturdy ankle-high work boots and work gloves, sunscreen, and weather appropriate clothing. This time of year, conditions can be pretty cool, so be sure to check the weather before your trip.

The refuge sits (deceivingly) at ~4,000ft in elevation; slightly noticeable for some, but not an issue for most. Benson Pond can be uneven in spots, but in general is quite flat. There may be some tasks that require willing participants to do some heavy lifting. However, there will be plenty of opportunities for pacing oneself during the day, and plenty of extra water to stay hydrated. Our number one priority is that everyone stays safe! 

Lodging

Lodging on Refuge will be provided, however you are responsible for arranging your own bedding, food, and transportation. We can facilitate participants organizing a carpool by sharing participant contact info if participants desire. It is a long drive to Malheur from the Willamette Valley, so take that into consideration before committing to this trip.

Housing on the refuge will be at P-Ranch. The house at P-Ranch has four bedrooms and can house 4-8 people. Double occupancy in rooms is reserved for couples. There is also space for camping at P-Ranch, with access to the kitchen, laundry, shower, and bathrooms. You will need to bring and prepare your own food for meals, though spontaneous potluck meals are welcome and encouraged.

If you are not interested in the lodging provided on the Refuge, the City of Hines and City of Burns, 32 miles north of Refuge Headquarters, provide lodging accommodations. Please contact Harney County Chamber of Commerce at 541-573- 2636 or visit their website. For more rustic conditions, consider the Malheur Field Station or camp along the Blitzen River at Page Springs Campground, just three miles from the town of Frenchglen. 

Make sure to make reservations at the field station in advance (Page Springs Campground does not take reservations, camping is at a first come first serve basis).

To get to Benson Pond (for those who are not staying on Refuge):

  • From Burns: Head south on Hwy 205 approximately 47 miles to the turnoff for Krumbo Reservoir. Turn left and cross bridge, take immediate right onto the Center Patrol Road at the auto tour route site (do not go forward to Krumbo). In about one mile, Benson Pond will be on your left.
  • From Frenchglen: Head north on Hwy 205 approximately 11 miles to the turnoff for Krumbo Reservoir. Turn right and cross bridge, take immediate right onto the Center Patrol Road at the auto tour route site (do not go forward to Krumbo). In about one mile, Benson Pond will be on your left.

Please complete the RSVP form and we will get in touch with more details.

Contact Teresa Wicks at twicks@audubonportland.org if you have questions.

Thanks for working with us to care for your public lands!

Malheur Work Party at Benson Pond
Photo by Teresa Wicks

  

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