Natural Resources

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The Burns Paiute Natural Resources Department was created to protect and enhance fish and wildlife, to prevent further resource losses that impact traditional land uses, to ensure environmental standards on the reservation are met, and to provide training and employment opportunities for Burns Paiute Tribal Members.

New Video Highlights Need for Wildlife Crossing Solutions Along Oregon’s Highway 20 
As collisions increase and mule deer populations plummet, communities call for action  


For Immediate Release 


Calla Hagle, Burns Paiute Tribe, 573-8021 


Burns, Ore. (August 9, 2021) – In a video released todaystakeholders urge elected officials and policymakers to “work together to prevent wildlifevehicle collisions along a stretch of Highway 20 through Malheur River Canyon in Eastern Oregon. The average cost of vehicle collision with a mule deer is about $8,000, and the total cost of wildlife collisions in this area on Highway 20 is estimated to be over $2 million dollars a year. Statewide, more than 7,000 wildlife-vehicle collisions are recorded each year resulting in thousands of injuries and an average of two deaths per year 


“People need to get where they need to go safely, and so anytime we are having accidents and fatalities on the highway, that needs to be addressed,” said Cidney Bowman, the Wildlife Passage Coordinator at Oregon Department of Transportation.  


The Burns Paiute Tribe collared and collected data on mule deer in the area from 2010-2013.  In recent years, mule deer populations have declined 20 percent-40 percent in the Malheur Canyon area alone.  Now, they are partnering with state and federal organizations to share data, identify problem areas, and find solutions. 


Calla Hagle, the natural resources director for the Burns Paiute Tribe said, “Mule deer are a species that need to be able to cross the landscape. When you see those kinds of drops you wonder whether they are going to be here within our lifetime.” 


“Mule deer distinctly have summer higher elevation habitats and lower elevation winter habitats,” said Ken McCall, vice president of the Oregon Hunters Association. “Highway 20 runs directly through the mule deer’s winter habitat.”  


Wildlife-related outdoor recreation is big business in Oregon. In 2016, wildlife-related outdoor recreation on Bureau of Land Management Lands generated 5,511 jobs and $196 million in salaries and wages. Additionally, a 2020 survey found that 86% of Oregonians think protecting wildlife migration routes is important, and 95% of hunters and anglers share this sentiment. Ninety percent of those who live in central and eastern Oregon, where there is a high density of migrating wildlife, and 87% of rural Oregonians overall agree.  


“Mule deer contribute to our strong economy: Recreation, hunting, wildlife viewing,” added Laurel Williams, a program officer with the Pew Charitable Trusts.  


Successful wildlife passage projects have been developed in other areas of Oregon, including on Highway 97, near Lava Butte and Gilchrist.  Since the crossings were installed, wildlife vehicle collisions have been reduced by 86 percent “If you think about the annual cost of collisions, even over a few years, a passage structure can pay for itself,” added Calla Hagle.  


The U.S. Congress is currently working to reauthorize the Federal Transportation Bill. Due to public awareness and an appetite to reduce wildlifevehicle collisions, the U.S. House recently voted to pass a bill that, for the first time ever, includes dedicated funding for wildlife crossings. The U.S. Senate is poised to pass similar legislation to ensure wildlife crossing funding remains in the final bill. That way, Tribes, states, and other local governments can invest in projects like those needed on Highway 20.  


“The animals don’t have a lot of places left on this planet, and they are slowly dwindling away,” said Eric Hawley, a member of the Burns Paiute Tribe.  “And for something that can be managed, we should do our part.”  


You can view the video here: 

The Malheur River Subbasin is culturally important to the Burns Paiute Tribe (BPT), and protecting/restoring native species and associated habitat are key to sustaining its importance.  A primary focus of our Fisheries Program is to restore ESA-listed bull trout populations and their associated habitat. Non-native brook trout are a limiting factor to bull trout recovery due to resource competition and hybridization. Subsequently, suppression efforts were initiated in the Upper Malheur River in 2010 to reduce or eliminate brook trout populations.

For more in-depth information on our Fisheries Program, please visit our other website:

The goals of the Logan Valley and Malheur River wildlife mitigation projects are to implement habitat protection and enhancement efforts for plant communities to support diverse fish and wildlife assemblages. Management goals include: 1) improving water quality, 2) enhancing upland, wetland, floodplain meadow and riparian habitats, 3) controlling noxious weeds, 4) protecting springs and seeps, 5) managing grazing on the Bureau of Land Management and Department of State Lands allotments to meet wildlife objectives, and 6) preserving cultural resources; and providing public hunting and recreation opportunities.

Protecting the land, air and water are important goals for the Environmental Department.  We monitor and manage the environmental health and quality of the Reservation; this includes surface and ground water quality testing, managing solid waste, and illegal dump cleanup and many other important environmental duties throughout properties owned and managed by the Burns Paiute Tribe.

TitleJob TitleEmailPhoneCell Phone
Calla HagleNatural Resources Directorcalla.hagle@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-573-8021
Brandon HaslickFishery Program Managerbrandon.haslick@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-573-8084
Brandon PalmerWildlife Program Managerbrandon.palmer@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-573-8019
Rebecca FritzFisheries Biologistrebecca.fritz@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-573-8018
Jason FentonEnvironmental Managerjason.fenton@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-573-8020
Rhonda HoltbyAdministrative Assistantrhonda.holtby@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-573-8087
Lucas SamorSite Managerlucas.samor@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-277-3375
JonesboroManager's House541-277-3375
Eric HawleyLead TechnicianEric.Hawley@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-277-3300
JC McNellyRangeland EcologistJohn.McNelly@burnspaiute-nsn.gov541-573-8085
Hanna L. HaeberleWildlife

Contact Info

71210 Foley Drive

Burns, OR 97720

Phone: (541) 573-1375

Fax: (541) 573-7806


Main Ranch Bunk House

Jonesboro, 5105 Highway 20 East

Juntura, OR 97911


Ranch Manager House

Jonesboro, 5106 Highway 20 East

Juntura, OR 97911


2019 Newsletter