Smithfield Oaks

Smithfield OaksPhoto credit: The Center for Applied Ecology

For 50 years, scientists believed Fender’s blue buttery were extinct. But in 1989, these brilliantly blue butteries were rediscovered in the Willamette Valley. Today, the Willamette Valley is the only place in the world you can find Fender’s blue butterfly.

The largest concentration of surviving Fender’s blue butterflies live in the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Polk County. Thanks to collaboration between The Trust for Public Land, Polk Soil and Water Conservation District, and Bonneville Power Administration, butterflies in the Polk County will have more room to fly. The Trust for Public Land worked with a private landowner to permanently protect 183-acres of globally rare oak savanna ecosystem adjacent to the Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge. The newly conserved property will provide critically important habitat for the Fender’s blue butterfly and will support habitat restoration and public education efforts by the Polk Soil and Water Conservation District.

Fender's Blue ButterflyPhoto credit: The Center for Applied Ecology

As booming population centers in the Willamette Valley continue to grow, habitat for the region’s endangered species becomes increasingly scarce and fragmented. The Trust for Public Land is working throughout Oregon to protect lands that provide habitat for important wildlife and connect people to the outdoors.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.