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Malheur Benson Pond Work Party #2

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When: Jul 29, 2017 from 08:00 am to 03:00 pm

Join Portland Audubon at Benson Pond on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as we work to enhance the habitat and visitor amenities of this very special birding hotspot.

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

Pump House
Historic Pump House at Benson Pond

Join the Audubon Society of Portland at Benson Pond on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, as we work to repair the CCC-era historic pump house structure and transform it into a new visitor hut! No experience is necessary although carpentry skills are a plus. We can teach all you need to know. It will be a wonderful feeling after a days work to see the progress we make!

While you're at the Refuge, take time to enjoy the abundance of wildlife. Enjoy the 187,757 acres of wetlands, lakes, dry lakes, native grass meadows and arid upland habitats. The diversity of these habitats makes the Refuge incredibly vital for wildlife living and migrating through the northern Great Basin desert. The Refuge hosts 20% of the world's population of White-faced Ibis, as well as significant populations of pelicans and Sandhill Cranes. The area is truly a birder's paradise. Late July is the perfect time to look for shorebirds on the southbound migration and young ducks, geese and swans are also abundant.

What to bring: Please bring your own lunch and water, sturdy ankle-high work boots and work gloves, sunscreen, and dress for the weather. This time of year, daytime temperatures are in the high 80's. 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!  

You are responsible for arranging your own food, lodging and transportation. We can facilitate participants organizing a car pool 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.

 Trip Timeline:

Friday, July 28: We recommend out-of-town folks arrive in the evening and get settled into your hotel or camping area. 

Saturday, July 29: Drive to Benson Pond (see directions below). Please arrive on time at 8 a.m.  Work to repair the historic pump house and possibly work on other projects at the site (e.g. trail  maintenance, vegetation work, etc.) depending on number of participants. Bring a lunch to enjoy in  the field.

Sunday, July 30: Reward day! Join Portland Audubon biologists for a morning of birding and wildlife watching in some of our favorite hot spots on the Refuge. More details to come!

Please complete the RSVP form. Group size is limited to 20 people. You will receive a follow-up email by July 8. The confirmation email will provide any new updated information regarding the event and we will confirm that everyone is still able to participate. 

This trip is led by Portland Audubon’s Malheur Field Coordinator, Callie Gesmundo (callie.gesmundo@gmail.com) and Portland Audubon’s Avian Conservation Program Manager, Joe Liebezeit (jliebezeit@audubonportland.org, 971-222-6121). Group Size is limited to 20 people. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Joe. 

Lodging options: City of Hines and City of Burns, 32 miles north of Refuge Headquarters, provides 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).


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.

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



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