#GivingTuesday

Julia looked around cautiously.

The sun gleamed over the hilltop above the Coyote Spencer Wetlands. It looked safe. But Julia was wary; she knew there were people nearby.

Julia reared up and sniffed the air, balancing her 170 pounds of flesh and fur carefully atop her muscular hind legs. She dug her claws into the dirt, and slowly turned east, then west. She tilted her ears to the wind, listening for anything that might seem out of place. A red-tailed hawk circled above, calling kee-eeee-ar! A song sparrow flitted from an ash tree to a snowberry bush.

With a quiet grunt and a determined look, Julia signaled to Hugo. It was okay to come out of the woods now. The grove of oak and ash trees had been a great place for them to spend the last few hours, the warmest part of the day. In the shade of the big trees, in the grass, mama bear and her cub, taking a nap. This was a place they came back to, just about every day.

Hugo careened out of the woods. He was too little to understand the danger. Julia knew she would have to watch him closely. A little bear like Hugo could get into a lot of trouble. But luckily, they had found a terrific place to spend the fall.

This #GivingTuesday, you can protect their home…

In the photos up above, you can see just who we’ve been talking about: two bears, a mama and baby who we’re calling Julia and Hugo. They were caught on one of our wildlife cams this fall.

Thanks to people like you, the place that Julia and Hugo found is protected.

With the support of our generous members, we bought it two years ago and have been protecting it for the bears, the hawks, the sparrows, oak trees, praying mantises, and so much more.

Without people like you – people who care about these incredible wetlands – places like these and the refuge they provide will be less and less common each year.

You are the reason Julia and Hugo can find food and shelter on the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, a preserve just five miles from Eugene!

What will your #GivingTuesday donation do?

With your gift today to the McKenzie River Trust, you help us provide a home for Julia and Hugo on this protected land.

And you help us get out there to protect the next one.

Will you give $50 now to offer Julia and Hugo a place to rest, to grow, and to thrive?

You can also call our office to give over the phone: 541-345-2799.

Your $50 gift today will leverage over $1 million in grant funding in 2015. You help us protect and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and riverbanks from the Cascade mountains to the Oregon coast.

We need your support on this #GivingTuesday. Help us raise $3,000 by midnight so we can get out there to protect and care for the special places where Julia and Hugo live.

Will you please contribute $50 or more today?

To learn more about the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, click here.

What is #GivingTuesday?

Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is December 2 this year.

Here’s the idea, from the #GivingTuesday website: “We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.”

So on behalf of the McKenzie River Trust, on December 2nd you’re invited to give to your favorite causes, to share how you give with your friends, and to join a global and local community of givers. Our goal is to raise at least $3,000 on December 2nd. Help us make it happen!

On #GivingTuesday, download this graphic and share it with your friends on social media to help protect Julie and Hugo’s home!

Click here for more downloadable graphics to share on social media.

We need your comments

McKenzie River Trust Land Trust Accreditation Renewal

Open for Public Comment until November 21, 2014

Did you know that land trusts can become accredited, just like colleges and universities? Accreditation recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is the organization that certifies accredited land trusts. The McKenzie River Trust first earned accreditation in March, 2010, and we are now applying for renewal of accreditation. A public comment period is now open on our renewal application. As part of this process, the Commission is conducting an extensive review of our policies and programs.

We need your comments!

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how McKenzie River Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. Click here to learn more about these standards.

To learn more about the accreditation program, click here. You can submit your comment online, or email it to info@landtrustaccreditation.org.

Comments may also be faxed or mailed to:

Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments
36 Phila Street, Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
(fax) 518-587-3183

Comments on McKenzie River Trust’s application will be most useful by November 21, 2014

Thanks to you, wetlands are protected!

Wetlands and oaks near Fern Ridge will be a home to wildlife and fish, forever.

The Coyote Oaks Conservation Easement permanently protects 152 acres of wetlands and oaks just north of Fern Ridge Reservoir in the Long Tom River Watershed. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

There’s a tucked away spot just north of Fern Ridge Reservoir where – just about any time of year – you can hear the loud waka-waka-waka of an acorn woodpecker. Huge expanses of wetlands and oak trees thrive here. And thanks to the foresight of a restoration-conscious landowner and the support of the Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and people like you, this place will be protected forever.

The Coyote Oaks Conservation Easement was signed in September, and with that, 152 acres of forested wetlands and marsh are protected from future development and commercial use.

The land is owned by longtime Eugene residents and MRT supporters Art and Anita Johnson. Mr. Johnson has completed numerous projects to enhance wetland and oak woodland habitat on the Coyote Oaks property. He’s won awards for his land stewardship on this property and others.

Strong partners

Meaningful partnerships play a role in the project, too. The Long Tom Watershed Council, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Army Corps of Engineers all have a presence in the neighborhood, working towards a vision for a 1,200-acre natural area surrounding the property. When you get to that scale, you can amplify the benefits of conserving a single parcel. Partners helped identify the Coyote Oaks property as a conservation priority due to its extremely high-quality wetland and oak habitat.

Nootka rose is one of many native plants growing on the Coyote Oaks Conservation Easement. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

This rare habitat means that there is exceptional ecological diversity on the property. Bradshaw’s lomatium, red-legged frog, cutthroat trout, slender-billed nuthatch, yellow-breasted chat, and western bluebird have all been spotted here. It’s not unusual to see signs of elk, bobcat, black bear, and river otter.

Ownership in the area is a mix of public and private land, with federal agencies managing over 700 acres and private landowners committing to permanent land protection on 260 acres through easements held by MRT. The Johnsons now join them.

Funding for land protection

The Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife provided funding for the project through the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, with additional support from individual donors like you. The grant to purchase the Conservation Easement was awarded through a competitive application process. The Coyote Oaks project was the second highest ranked project for the Willamette Valley in 2014, showing the importance of this investment for land conservation in our region.

The Willamette Wildlife Habitat Agreement, which created the grant program that funded the acquisition, was signed in October of 2010 between BPA and the state of Oregon. This 15-year agreement provides stable funding for wildlife habitat acquisitions for more than 26,000 acres in the Willamette Valley to offset the impacts of federal dams on the Willamette River and its tributaries, as required by the Northwest Power Act.

Flushing for fish

Restoration of the former Coburg Aggregate gravel pits on Green Island is all about working with the water we have.

If you ask Chris Vogel, the $1 million restoration project happening this summer on Green Island is all about flushing.

This summer, Wildish Construction Company crews moved over 110,000 cubic yards of gravel to create habitat for fish at the Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project on Green Island. Photo by River Design Group.

“We’ll be working with the same amount of water we used to get on site,” says Chris, who has been Green Island‘s restoration Project Manager for six years. “It’s just where it goes and how and how long it stays that’s different.”

Flushing is simple: in a healthy river system, you’ve got water in, and water out. When a side channel fills up and then empties out, at least a couple times a year during high water events, the river flushes any ponded water and the critters living in it down the channel. In a natural area, this flushing provides a huge range of benefits for fish and wildlife.

The CARP site is in an active side channel of the Willamette River. We call this area the historic McKenzie River channel, because the main channel of the McKenzie River flowed right through here before the big 1964 floods which moved the McKenzie-Willamette confluence to where it is today, just south of Green Island. The channel has water year round, even more in the winter.

But it’s far from a natural area.

An altered landscape

CARP stands for Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project. Until the McKenzie River Trust purchased this 56-acre parcel in 2010, the site was mined for sand and gravel. And that created steep gravel pits with few places for native plants to take hold.

“Before restoration, when that historic McKenzie River channel filled up, it would overtop into the pits. Lots of fish – both native and non-native – would get trapped until the next high flow,” says Chris.

In other words: no flushing.

The fish didn’t have a way to escape back into the channel as the water dropped. So, stranded, the fish lived their lives in the pits. “More frequent flushing will get them out,” says Chris.

Restoration solutions

The solution is to use heavy construction equipment to grade the slopes to a more natural rise of one foot up for every ten feet out. And that’s exactly what we did this summer at CARP, hiring the Wildish Construction Company to move 125,000 cubic yards of gravel to create those slopes and the right entry and exit points for the ponds to be much friendlier to native Willamette spring Chinook salmon, Oregon chub, and other fish and wildlife.

A new side-channel bypasses gravel ponds at the Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project on Green Island, allowing fish to go around the pits in high water events and continue on down the Willamette River system. Photo by Raptorviews by Philip Bayles.

This winter, we’ll plant thousands of willows and other native trees and shrubs along the pond edges. As the plants grow up, they’ll offer fish plenty of places to hide from predators.

The next time the water rises, we’ll see on the ground how all this work makes a difference for salmon.

“We’re always looking for ways to give life to the river,” says Joe Moll, Executive Director of MRT. “This is one of the best investments we can make to do that.”

Special thanks

The Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and Meyer Memorial Trust’s Willamette Special Investment Partnership provided funding for CARP restoration. Additional funds were provided by The Nature Conservancy Portland General Electric Habitat Support program, and individual donors like you.

Become a Member

Membership Campaign: April 1 – 30, 2014

For nearly 25 years, people like you have helped the McKenzie River Trust conserve over 4,000 acres of lands and waters that cradle us in western Oregon. Now we’re coming to you with a special request:

    Will you join us as a member to build the next 25 years of conservation success?

Your membership gift today will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs. This offer is only available from April 1 – 30, so we’re asking you to GIVE NOW.

Membership FAQ

How do I become a member?

To become a member, simply make a donation through our secure online server at mckenzieriver.org. Or mail a check to: McKenzie River Trust, 1245 Pearl St, Eugene OR 97401. A gift of any size qualifies you as a member. Please give generously!

But I thought I was already a member….?

In fact, a membership program is a new thing for us. We have always valued our many supporters. You are the reason we can protect and care for land! But during our Living River Celebration last June, we realized how many people wanted a closer connection, a shared identity as members of MRT. So we are kicking off that program now.

Why should I become a member?

With your membership gift today, you will be part of a local organization that looks at conservation projects with the long term in mind. Without the support of people like you, we would not be here today.

Every week, we receive calls from landowners wanting to know how they can protect the land they cherish. Our mission is to help them achieve their vision for the future of these lands and to share the fruits of good land stewardship – clean water, nourishing foods, abundant fish and wildlife, memorable experiences in nature – with everyone.

By joining as a member of the McKenzie River Trust, you will help sustain those very values and our ability to protect them for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Why are you doing this now?

Over the years, many people have asked us how they can become members. And we’ve heard you loud and clear: you want a closer connection with the McKenzie River Trust and a way to identify other people who care about our clean water, fish, wildlife, and natural areas.

Today, we’re responding to your call. Our members, committed friends in our community who help protect and care for the special places that surround us, will be the core of what we do. Members will provide a stable base of support for us to get our boots on the ground, pursuing the next big land conservation opportunity. Within a few years, we hope to have 1,000 members.

What is the matching gift challenge?

Our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs are offering a matching gift challenge for all donations during the month of April. When you make a membership gift to the McKenzie River Trust from April 1st to 30th, your donation will be matched by Mountain Rose Herbs dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000. And if you give $100 or more you’ll receive our new MRT ceramic mug.

What are the benefits of a McKenzie River Trust membership?

You might be wondering: What do I get for my membership gift?

  • You will receive news about conservation on a regular basis by the means you choose: print newsletter, email, social media. You just let us know.
  • You’ll also get invitations to regular tours and events, including our annual Living River Celebration.
  • And you’ll be contributing to all of our projects, current and future.
  • As a member, you’ll also be able to spend time with other members, people like you who love western Oregon and its natural splendors.

What kinds of people are members?

Anglers, birders, bakers, painters, runners, walkers, bee-keepers, boaters, brewers – all are a part of our growing circle of friends who care for the lands and rivers of western Oregon.

So please join them today with your membership donation to the McKenzie River Trust. And invite your friends to do the same. And celebrate with us on Saturday, June 28, when the Living River Celebration returns to Green Island.

Thanks for your consideration.

Celebrate Someone You Love This Season

Volunteers on Green Island help protect newly planted native trees and shrubs. Photo by Brandi Ferguson.

Are you looking for a gift for someone who has everything?

This holiday season, you can make a tribute gift in honor of a friend or family member, or make a memorial gift in remembrance of a loved one.

A tribute gift is a special way to honor someone’s love for the lands and rivers that make western Oregon such a great place to work, live, and play.

What your gift will do

Your gift supports the protection and care of special places in these watersheds:
McKenzie, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette, Upper Willamette River, and the coastal streams and lakes from Reedsport to Yachats, including the stunning Tenmile Creek drainage.

If you know someone who loves our rivers and lands, then make a tribute gift today.

Donate Now!

Restoration Progress on Green Island

Big Earth Works for Little Fish

Restoration on Green Island

Green Island low water crossing construction, photo by Chris vogel
The downstream run for a juvenile Chinook salmon can be a gauntlet. Flushed from mountain headwaters, they ride high winter flows with logs and stones, avoiding predators, looking for food, seeking to grow before heading out to the ocean. Floodplains and side channels can provide a bounty and a respite, but as waters drop young fish can also be cut off and isolated, trapped in pools and then puddles that warm and make them vulnerable to hungry birds, bull frogs and non-native bass.

This fall on Green Island we brought in the heavy equipment – dump trucks, backhoes, loaders, and even cranes – to provide safer passage for such small fry.

What you’ll see

The next time you cross the old McKenzie channel or “the neck” near the property’s center, you’ll see the results of three major earthworks that will make it easier for young salmon to get in and to get out of the site. The low water crossing, our road access across the historic McKenzie River channel onto the property, has been completely retrofitted with a concrete span engineered to withstand significant winter flooding. Crews have also been hard at work on a side channel of the Willamette River, placing massive logs and root-wads there, creating pools that are perfect for young salmon. And a culvert thirteen feet in diameter will help connect side channels of the mainstem Willamette to the historic McKenzie channel for longer seasonal stretches.

Why are we doing it?

These changes will provide more frequent floodplain connections, better passage for fish through the area, and better places for native fish and wildlife to thrive. The project brought more than $270,000 for local restoration contractors, including R.L. Reimers Company of Albany and the Corvallis-based River Design Group. Grants from the Bonneville Power Administration Willamette Biological Opinion Habitat Technical Team and Natural Resources Conservation Service are funding the work.

In the coming years, we expect to be carrying out similar work around the CARP ponds – the gravel mining site that we added to Green Island in 2010 – so look forward to more big equipment and earth moving on behalf of some tiny little fish.

1% for Watersheds Celebrates First Year

1% for Watersheds Celebration

Thursday December 5th from 5-8pm
At the Oakshire Public House, 221 Madison Street in Eugene

In 2013, Oakshire Brewing set aside 1% of revenue from sales of Watershed IPA in the southern Willamette Valley for the McKenzie River Trust’s work protecting watersheds in western Oregon. Join us at the Oakshire Public House to celebrate this partnership with Oregon Wood Fired Pizza, pints, and other people who care about the health of our rivers and lands.

More about the 1% for Watersheds program

“Our mission is to brew the highest quality beer while providing exceptional service to our customers. We cannot achieve either of these goals without the highest quality ingredients,” said Oakshire Founder Jeff Althouse. “We established a partnership with the McKenzie River Trust in 2011, and quickly realized we wanted to do more to protect our brewing source water.”

Clean water is essential to the brewing process and is a focus point of the Oakshire Brewing community. Eugene was chosen as Oakshire’s location in part due to the accessibility of clean, soft water from the McKenzie River.

“We’re very proud to have again earned Oakshire’s support,” said Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust. “The 1% for Watersheds program demonstrates their ongoing commitment to clean water and healthy watersheds, something that benefits our entire community.” Oakshire previously brewed three beers to benefit the McKenzie River Trust and commemorate EWEB’s 100th Anniversary.

McKenzie River Trust is committed to a future in which intact, functioning ecosystems provide clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and productive natural landscapes throughout western Oregon.

Oakshire Brewing of Eugene, Oregon was founded in October 2006 and has become regionally and nationally recognized for consistently brewing fresh, unique and delicious beers. The name Oakshire represents their core values: Strength, Independence, and Community. Learn more about Oakshire Brewing, their craft beers, brewery events, tours and tastings at http://oakbrew.com.

Give Now

You love healthy natural lands. Now will you invest in their protection?

We share your passion.

Today, you have a special opportunity to support the McKenzie River Trust. People like you support our work – people who share your love for clean rivers, healthy forests and natural areas. And because of your donation, others will be able to experience the natural treasures we enjoy today, long after we are gone.

Please donate today to fuel that passion and protect and care for special lands.

Ten years ago MRT Board, staff and supporters brought such a desire to a big, complicated land transaction. The Green Island project was born, and MRT was transformed. This past summer we celebrated on siteperhaps you joined us?

As we shared the day with 800 others, we learned more about the experiences that drive all of us to support land and water conservation. We wrap those interests into every new project we pursue. And we’re thankful for the good fortune we’ve enjoyed.

But what if that were not the case?

What if land protection stopped, and there were fewer and fewer outlets for our love of nature? I suspect you’ve seen special places that were dear to you get paved over or crowded out.

A fear of such losses also drives our work. We never want to say, “What a shame…” about the places we enjoy today.

Your donation will keep that from happening. Please make a gift of $100 to protect and care for special lands this year.

Here’s how your gift will continue to make a difference.

In the last month we were able to increase the size of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands by 20%. We bought the extra ground from a neighbor who shares our love for the wetlands. We did so with grants and gifts from people like you. So when we head back out there next spring to tour the wildflowers and hear the birds, that much more of their home will be secure.

Your gifts help us sink roots deeper into a passion for local foods and clean water. Our partners at the Berggren Farm produced fresh vegetables and poultry for local markets and schools on land nourished by the McKenzie River. And within the Duncan Island protected area, Joy and David Pippenger of Whiskey Creek Organics filled a CSA and grocers’ shelves with organic fruits and vegetables. Right alongside a rich maze of Siuslaw River estuary channels that nurture young coho salmon, crabs, and shrimp.

If you join us at Green Island for the next Living River Celebration – mark your calendars for June 28, 2014! – you’ll do so over a new crossing that is better both for our access and for the native fish that thrive there. And you’ll see new connections between the old McKenzie and the new Willamette channels.

Gifts from people like you make that happen as well.

And in just another month or two, we expect to see a big announcement from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Oregon Chub will be proposed for de-listing from the Endangered Species Act. This would be the first time ever that a listed freshwater fish has made such a recovery in the United States.

And when you make a donation to the McKenzie River Trust, you’ll have a hand in it. Places like McKenzie Oxbow and Big Island – places that were protected in years past thanks to the generosity of people just like you – have become havens for chub.

So you see, protected areas do make a difference.

And it’s your passion for making that difference that allows us to protect and care for special lands together.

As you celebrate your own passion for nature, please consider making a $100 donation to the McKenzie River Trust today. Thank you so much for that consideration.

Special note

Your tax-deductible gift will be put to work right away, so please send it by December 31.

Give now through our secure online server.

If you’d like to send a check, please make it out to McKenzie River Trust and send to:

McKenzie River Trust
1245 Pearl St
Eugene, OR 97401

Or phone in your gift to 541-345-2799.