A Nehalem ranch has been praised for its work around wildlife conservation.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recognized Karen Kuntz and her Foley Peak Angus cattle operation with the Riley Freeman award during the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and Oregon Cattlemen’s Convention and Tradeshow earlier this month in Bend.

Kuntz has worked with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Tillamook Soil and Conservation District to put a resource management system in place and encourage diverse habitat across her ranch, located in the Nehalem River watershed.

Foley Peak Angus employs techniques like rotational grazing to maintain good field conditions and to reduce sediment and manure runoff into Tomlinson Creek, a tributary of Foley Creek and the Nehalem River. The ranch also maintains buffer strips along waterways, providing good canopy and habitat for wildlife and keeping temperatures cooler for fish.

The planting of native trees and shrubs across the ranch has improved wildlife habitat and provides escape cover, thermal protection and rearing and roost areas for native birds, according to the state. Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer, raptors, mustelids and beavers have also benefited, as have juvenile salmon who seek refuge in Tomlinson Creek where healthy riparian buffers make for cooler water in the summer.

North Coast Watershed District Manager Chris Knutsen said Foley Peak Angus was a pleasure to work with and a “great example of working agricultural land that continues to provide important habitat for Oregon’s fish and wildlife species.”

The Riley Freeman award is named after a past chairman of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Wildlife Committee. While Freeman defended property rights, he also advocated for partnerships between wildlife managers, landowners and wildlife consumers.

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