Working Wetlands Conservation Delivery Coordinator Joins the Team

The Intermountain West Joint Venture (IWJV) is pleased to announce that Eduardo (Ed) Contreras is joining the team on November 1st as the IWJV’s new Working Wetlands Conservation Delivery Coordinator for the Southern Oregon and Northeastern California (SONEC) region! Ed will lead the Working Wet Meadows Initiative, a nationally-supported model for integrating wetlands conservation and agricultural production on flood-irrigated working ranchlands. This position was established through the IWJV’s partnership with Oregon Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – as part of their Strategic Approach to Conservation – with additional cost-sharing from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Region 8 Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

In this role, Ed will foster collaborative and community-based conservation of working wet meadows in one of North America’s most important landscapes for waterfowl, shorebirds, and waterbirds. This involves working cooperatively with landowners to voluntarily improve their flood-irrigation infrastructure, conserve working wet meadows through conservation easements, and sustain productive ranching operations. Ed’s experience as a Range and Wildlife Conservationist with the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) in southwest Idaho over the last four years makes him especially qualified for the science-based and targeted work to bridge wildlife and agricultural conservation objectives on working lands through partnerships. Ed earned degrees in wildlife biology and resource conservation from the University of Montana while working as a Rangeland Research Technician and quickly put his knowledge to work as a Ranch Intern at the Clark Fork Coalition’s Dry Cottonwood Creek Ranch before moving on to SGI.  Ed thrives on fostering partnerships and building capacity for conservation in rural communities. 

“I have a passion for working landscapes and rangelands," he said. "Having worked on ranches, a rangeland vegetation research project, and with range managers on public lands, I bring a unique perspective to approaching partnerships for private lands conservation.”

The IWJV is excited to have Ed on board and serving as lead staff for the growing partnership with NRCS and the FWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in SONEC. He supports the strategic, proactive, partner-driven conservation of working wetland habitats in collaboration with private landowners, NRCS, FWS, Ducks Unlimited, state fish and wildlife agencies, state conservation programs, conservation districts, watershed councils, non-governmental organizations, and other conservation entities.

“We are elated to have Ed joining the IWJV Team and leading the Working Wet Meadows Initiative in SONEC,” said Dave Smith, IWJV Coordinator. “He understands ranching, knows the importance of building trust and credibility with landowners, and has a deep passion for wildlife habitat conservation on working lands through partnerships.”

The Wildlife Management Institute is hosting this position as part of a cooperative agreement with the IWJV to advance habitat conservation across jurisdictional boundaries. Ed will work out of the NRCS High Desert Basin Office in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Please welcome Ed and expand his conservation network. His contact information is: ed.contreras@iwjv.org.