Welcome Jess Wennick, MNWR Restoration Coordinator


Welcome Jess Wennick, MNWR Restoration Coordinator

Written by Peter Pearsall

Malheur Refuge’s new Restoration Coordinator, Jess Wenick, has a long history with wildlife conservation in Harney County.

Born and raised in the area, Wenick ‘s first paying job, at age 15, was as a Youth Conservation Corps student at Malheur Refuge. This position introduced him to duck and crane banding, nest searches, and other aspects of wildlife resource management.

Later, Wenick served as the Wildlife Program Manager for the Burns Paiute Tribe. He returned to Malheur Refuge from 2003-2016, serving as the Range Management Specialist and Ecologist while also supervising the Refuge’s Wildlife Program.

During that period, Wenick was involved with writing the Refuge’s first Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), a guiding document that must be updated every 15 years. Malheur Refuge’s CCP expires in 2028.

Now, Wenick is back in a year-long detail as Restoration Coordinator. In addition to overseeing the Refuge biology program, one of his tasks is to work with Refuge staff and partners to begin planning a revision of the CCP.

“While we still have another 5 years until the CCP expires, we have enough resource management challenges in the immediate sense to start addressing revisions to the plan now,” Wenick said.

Among these challenges are the spread of reed canary grass in the P Ranch area, as well as that of smooth brome across the Blitzen Valley.

“Collaboration was a major component of creating the first CCP, and it will be just as important in the revision process,” Wenick said. “By working with others within and across the Refuge boundary, we can open up the conversation to a diversity of thought, finding creative solutions and aligning resources to address common goals in Harney Basin and beyond.”


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