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Local man honored for his conservation work

Paulina rancher Greg Bedortha, was presented with the Governor's award for his work with the Crooked River Watershed Council

   Greg Bedortha was one of a handful of Oregonians recognized by Gov. Kitzhaber for their effort to improve conditions in local watersheds and communities. The etched glass "Leadership Award" was presented by Neal Coenen, on behalf of the governor.
   Greg Bedortha of Paulina was recognized for his leadership in watershed stewardship at a meeting of the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts early this month. The "Governor's Spirit of the Oregon Plan Leadership Award" was presented by Neal Coenen, on behalf of Governor Kitzhaber.
   "Greg has been an invaluable member of the Crooked River Watershed Council and the ranching community for many years," noted Coenen. "As Crooked River Council Chair, Greg has demonstrated his commitment to watershed restoration and collaborative decision-making. His strengths as a skilled facilitator have been the key to building relationships and resolving complex issues. In addition to outstanding work in a volunteer capacity, Greg has taken an innovative and proactive approach to the management of his own property. He is currently working to re-establish sinuosity in Beaver Creek on his ranch. Instrumental as an opinion leader and early adopter of conservation practices, Greg has created interest and enthusiasm among other landowners to adopt similar practices."
   Bedortha was among fifteen Oregonians from around the state to receive the award for 2001. The award program was created to recognize leadership in such areas as:
   * Adopting and/or practicing innovative or unprecedented conservation strategies in the watershed
   * Bringing together a community to accomplish watershed restoration or conservation (MORE)
   * Outstanding work as a volunteer in watershed restoration or conservation
   * Outstanding support for watershed restoration or conservation exhibited over several years
   "The success of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds depends on Oregonians to be stewards of the state's watersheds," said Coenen. "It simply can't happen without the kind of dedication that these award winners have shown. We want to recognize the contributions people from all over the state have made to improve conditions in our watersheds and communities."
   Candidates were nominated by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board regional program coordinators and the Governor's Natural Resources Office. Each winner received a deep-etched glass likeness of a jumping salmon set in a cherry wood base.
   The Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds is designed to restore the healthy functioning of Oregon's watersheds. It focuses on salmon because they have great cultural, economic and recreational significance to Oregonians, and are important indicators of watershed health.
   The plan represents commitments from interest groups, private citizens, and government from all sectors of the state. While it originated as an effort to address declining populations of coastal coho salmon, it now covers the entire state and additional fish species.
   In contrast to endangered species recovery and environmental protection that rely primarily on regulatory approaches, the Oregon Plan represents a new way of restoring watersheds and improving water quality - the "Oregon Approach." This approach meshes scientific actions with local watershed-based public support. It relies on teamwork between government at all levels and groups of citizens, resulting in voluntary and cooperative actions.
   For more information on the Oregon Plan, visit www.oregon-plan.org/