OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Learn about wetlands online through ‘Oregon Wetlands Explorer’

11/03/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A far-reaching, highly interactive Web experience that provides deep, richly illustrated insight on the historic and current states of Oregon’s wetlands is the newest member of the critically acclaimed Oregon Explorer family of sites produced by Oregon State University Libraries, the Institute for Natural Resources and, in this case, The Wetlands Conservancy.

Oregon Wetlands Explorer  takes users virtually to areas throughout the state, from coastal salt marshes to mountain fens desert salt grass flats and many points in between, providing information on wetland ecology, history, wildlife and restoration opportunities.  Oregon has lost more than half of its wetlands since European settlers arrived in the 1800s, and producers of the site hope the information will be helpful in encouraging protection of the areas that remain.

“Wetlands are uniquely productive and valuable ecosystems, occurring in all corners of Oregon and are among the most biologically productive and species-rich habitats in the state,” said Esther Lev of The Wetlands Conservancy. “Oregon Wetlands Explorer is designed to support the work of citizens, agencies and watershed councils and non-profits by providing information on wetland ecology, history and restoration opportunities in the conservation of these sensitive, vital areas.”

In addition to deep historical data, charts and graphics, site visitors can expect to experience such highlights as:

  • Images from the William L. Finley Photo Collection taken by the important early conservationist of Oregon wetlands. The images are housed  at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service library.
  • The Passing of Marshlands, a silent, 1930 black-and-white documentary by Finley and Arthur N. Pack of the American Nature Association that incorporates footage from such periods as the Clear Lake reservation in 1912 and the Malheur Lake in 1915.
  • Mapping tools allowing users with a variety of skills and experience to use Geographic Information Systems to create their own maps with rich data layers and other advanced features.

The site was developed over the past two years with funding from the Murdock Memorial Trust, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Highways Administration. It joins such others sites as Oregon Land Use Explorer, Wildlife Risk Explorer, Oregon Imagery Explorer and sites specific to the Umpqua Basin, Willamette Valley, North Coast and more. Browse them all at http://oregonexplorer.info/index.aspx.