S. Ore. habitat set aside for threatened species

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MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — In Southern Oregon, conservation organizations are using what a biologist calls strategic grazing to protect tiny freshwater shrimp and an endangered plant.

At a 132-acre site near Eagle Point, cattle graze at a seasonal body of water called a vernal pool in the winter. That helps to keep unfavorable grasses from invading the wetlands habitat.

In the dry season, the cattle are taken off to protect the species that have adapted to the vernal pool habitat by going dormant.

The site is owned by a California conservation-bank company Wildland. It’s managed by the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy.

In Oregon, the seasonal vernal pools are found only in Jackson County, and have been greatly reduced.

Federal law protects a plant and an animal: the large-flowered woolly meadowfoam and the fairy shrimp,

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Information from: Mail Tribune, http://www.mailtribune.com/