Malheur Wildlife Refuge and Nonprofit Organizations
My search for the information that I will be sharing in this post began after I found a forum post stating that the Malheur Field Station located with the Malheur Wildlife Refuge was actually owned by a nonprofit organization. Wow! I thought that was very interesting. Turns out, this appears to be a well known fact, and a brief summary of this is included in an article published on January 22, 2016. The article states that the Malheur Field Station was formerly a Youth Civilian Conservation Job Corps camp, but was actually abandoned by the federal government in 1969. In 1971, a consortium of universities created the field station and a collection of 36 buildings was used as a base for research and education. For some reason, the Great Basin Society, a nonprofit organization, became stewards of the buildings in 1987. It is my understanding that this nonprofit organization still owns the buildings and equipment today. Following up on the information provided in the article, I located a cooperative agreement between the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Basin Society. This agreement is stamped Received on August 17, 1998. The agreement, unless terminated or revoked by the Regional Director, is set to expire on December 31, 2023. There is an interesting resignation letter from the President of the Board of the Malheur Field Station dated December 11, 2015 located here.
The Malheur Field Station is actually located a few miles from the Malheur Wildlife Refuge Headquarters, and the headquarters themselves are not part of the cluster of buildings owned by the Great Basin Society (at least I don’t think so – if anyone knows any differently, please do contact me). However, the presence of one nonprofit organization operating inside the Malheur Wildlife Refuge piqued my curiosity. Are there others doing the same? By this point in my research, I was discussing this with a group of other interested researchers. One of my fellow researchers happened to notice that a nonprofit known as the Malheur Wildlife Associates listed its principal place of business as 36391 Sodhouse Ln, Princeton, Oregon 97721. Interestingly enough, that address is the same address given by the official website of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Malheur/visit/plan_your_visit.html.
From information publicly available on the internet, one can find out that the person listed as the president of the Malheur Wildlife Associates in 2011 (linked in the previous paragraph) spent 15 years at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge employed as a National Wildlife biologist. A person with the same name was awarded a contract of $5000 in 2010 to provide consulting services to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
In reporting this information here, I am not implying that anything unlawful or unethical is occurring at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. I simply don’t know, but I will admit it was quite surprising for me to learn this information. I will leave you with a link to an interesting article from 2007: Conflict of Interest: Mischief, Thou Art Afoot. Maybe some of you, like me, also have questions. Hopefully this post will spur more research into this important topic.