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People Who Collaborate

Ed Contreras, SONEC Conservation Delivery Coordinator

Ed Contreras has a passion for working lands and rangelands. You could say it’s in his blood. His family roots are in ranching with family still ranching their land in Mexico. It’s this passion for working lands that he brings to his work with the Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) as the SONEC (Southern Oregon—Northeastern California) Conservation Delivery Coordinator. This title is a mouthful but simply it means that his work is about conserving private land wetland habitat by developing voluntary conservation programs for landowners. These programs provide cost share assistance for projects like flood-irrigation infrastructure improvements that benefit agricultural production and habitat.

Ed lives in Klamath Falls and has been working with IWJV since November 2017. He spends his days partnering with organizations like Ducks Unlimited, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Within Oregon, he works in Harney, Lake and Klamath Counties. “Personally, I’m interested in developing community-based capacity for conservation. Having community input, working voluntarily, that’s how you can get things done, in my opinion. I’ve always been interested in agriculture and wildlife. I grew up in the city, but my family has a history in agriculture in Mexico. My family ranches in Mexico and I was exposed to agriculture early on through that. That has shaped my views on how ag producers are part of the solution in addressing natural resource challenges and conserving the western landscape.”

As part of Ed’s work with IWJV he is an active partner with the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative (HBWC). “HBWC has created a lasting model for community-based conservation. There’s so much time that’s been invested into it, it feels like it’s going to be a permanent way of doing business in Harney County. There are still many complex challenges in the Harney Basin but now there’s a template for how we’re going to tackle issues. Working in other basins, there are similar issues and I try to bring some of the lessons I learn from being part of HBWI to the other places I work in.”

When Ed isn't busy fostering partnerships or participating in collaborative meetings, he spends time with his wife Kara fishing, hunting, riding horses and skiing. More about Ed here.