Beers Made By Walking returns to Eugene

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Beers Made By Walking returns to Eugene

Drink up the land. That’s what four local breweries and a cidery are hoping you’ll do on December 1st when Beers Made By Walking (BMBW) returns for a Eugene-based release party at The Bier Stein and The Tap & Growler.

This summer we’ve again worked with BMBW to invite brewers to create place-based beers inspired by plants found on nature walks on MRT properties.

The public walks this summer on three places protected by MRT in the southern Willamette Valley taught people about native and invasive plants, in addition to private land conservation in the area. The brewers have been challenged to create a beer or cider that represents the trails they walked.

This brewers have included a huge range of styles and ingredients in their beers. These experimental beers will be a joy to experience, particularly because they were inspired by the lands MRT members are helping to protect.

The proceeds from the events at The Bier Stein and The Tap & Growler on December 1st will support MRT’s mission.

Participating breweries and cidery include:
Agrarian Ales, Claim 52 Brewing, Falling Sky Brewing, Oakshire Brewing, and Wildcraft Cider Works. Additional support was provided by Ninkasi Brewing.

Tapping event details

For more details about the event, including a link to the full beer list, click here.

Coyote Creek Meadows Protected

Coyote Creek Meadows

Caring for the lands and rivers we cherish

With your generous support, 38 acres of wetlands and camas-filled meadows are now permanently protected for conservation. Thank you!


When Mary Minniti and Mike Shippey bought their 47 acre farm property 17 years ago, both buildings and land were clearly diamonds in the rough… with a heavy emphasis on rough.

“This living room ceiling was low and dark. It was like being in a cave: there were no windows providing a view of the wetland,” remarks Mary during a recent visit. “We thought we would move onto the land in five years, but we were spending every weekend here, so we just dove in. And we were here within 18 months.”

At the same time, Mike had looked on the heavily impacted land with promise. “Scattered among the meadow of planted forage grasses, I found many natives, including some rare ones, like Bradshaw’s lomatium.” An accomplished landscape architect, Mike set about to create Coyote Creek Meadows, a restoration project that included two wetland mitigation sites and a larger labor of love.

“We planted those ash, and those slough sedge; looks like the ash could use some water.”

We’re walking their property on a warm late September afternoon, meandering with the banks of Coyote Creek, just a mile upstream of its entry to Fern Ridge Reservoir. Coyote Creek Meadows is the latest addition to the McKenzie River Trust’s portfolio of protected lands: 38 acres under conservation easement, just 1/4 mile downstream from the Trust’s Coyote Spencer Wetlands, and 1/2 mile upstream from an extensive Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Management Area. Mary and Mike worked with MRT staff over the last two years to agree on terms and secure funding through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), a program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Landowners Mike Shippey and Mary Minniti protected their wetland property near Eugene with a conservation easement. Photo by Anne Nunn Photographers.

“We see our property as piece of that larger conservation vision for Coyote Creek. Our daughters and granddaughters all love this place as well. And they know that whatever they choose to do with the house and its lot, this larger property will be protected for nature and the public good long after we are gone.”

In addition to serving as a refuge of native wetland plants, Coyote Creek Meadows provides habitat for cutthroat trout, otters, elk, black bear, a metropolis of frogs, and large flocks of waterfowl in the winter. “We’ve had a dozen or so wood ducks roosting in the oaks next to our house,” says Mary with pride and wonder.

Both Mary and Mike attribute their love of nature and their commitment to its care to childhoods spent outside. Mike grew up on the outskirts Salem, where two acres of filberts and ready access to Mill Creek gave him the chance to explore, hunt, and fish. Mary’s childhood backyard was a forest on the edge of Renton, Washington. Their daughters now have careers in literature and food, and the land clearly calls to them both.

“This is the wedding ceremony meadow,” says Mike as we continue our walk. “Our daughter of course had to pick the one spot that was thick with 8’ tall Armenian blackberry, saying, ‘I want to be married between these two oak trees.’” Weeks of mowing and digging cleared out the blackberry, and extended the footprint of restoration. The meadow is now thick with native grasses, forbs and shrubs….

Clearly this is a family place, with a family that keeps growing. Grandchildren’s toys are scattered here and there. And long time MRT volunteers Matt and Holly McRae spent two years living in a small rental cottage on the site, caring for the place, caring for the earth, and caring for each other.

“Mary and Mike have a commitment to their land: to caring for it, to restoring it, to preserving its ecological function,” says Holly. “They have an appreciation for all of the communities that live on their property – plants, fungus, insects, animals large and small. They weave together a community of people connected by their property – a connection created by a place, rather than by time or proximity.”

Mary and Mike with their grandkids outside their home along Coyote Creek. Photo by Anne Nunn Photographers.

Mary’s career in health care has culminated in work that invites families to participate more closely in the recovery of loved ones, not relying on experts alone, but working hand in hand. They are taking a similar approach with Coyote Creek Meadows.

“Mary and Mike are generous with their time and affection.” Matt McRae adds. “Every Thanksgiving dinner begins with a walk around the property. To know Mary and Mike is to know their property. That’s who they are – they love and share that space. They share their love of that land. They truly look at the future for their grandchildren, and the legacy they will leave.”

The Long Tom Watershed Council, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Institute for Applied Ecology, the McKenzie River Trust… these are all professional organizations with strategic objectives and the capacity to carry out conservation projects. Mary and Mike cherish their place and the good fortune that allowed them to acquire and now care for it. The partnership, that melding of mind and heart in a place, in the work of conservation, is an investment that gives rise to more Bradshaw’s lomatium, more wood ducks, and fields of camas and buttercups in the spring. Look for an announcement for a guided tour of the site in spring 2017.

Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians Regain Salmon-Bearing Wetlands in Ancestral Homeland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 10-25-2016

Contact:
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (CTSI):
Mike Kennedy, Natural Resources Manager
541.444.8232
mikek@ctsi.nsn.us

McKenzie River Trust (MRT):
Liz Lawrence, Associate Director
541.844.9334 (cell) 541.345.2799 (office)
llawrence@mckenzieriver.org

Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM):
Carla Hudson
Stakeholder Relations & Communications
503.467.0805
chudson@ecotrustforests.com

Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians Regain Salmon-Bearing Wetlands in Ancestral Homeland

Purchase of the Fivemile Creek property restores Tribe’s ancestral homeland while protecting critical coho salmon habitat.

SILETZ, Ore. – October 25, 2016The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (CTSI) acquired 125 acres of ecologically and culturally significant wetlands on the central Oregon coast. The property, known as Fivemile Creek, is located upstream of Tahkenitch Lake between Florence and Reedsport. Fivemile Creek provides critical nursery habitat for Oregon’s most threatened and emblematic salmon species—the native Oregon coast coho salmon. The Tribe’s purchase will ensure that these wetlands and associated habitat will continue to support tribal cultural traditions while enhancing the long term vitality of the native salmon run.

The mouth of Fivemile Creek downstream of where it flows through the newly protected Fivemile Creek property and into Tahkenitch Lake. Photo courtesy Ecotrust Forest Management.

“The Siletz Tribe is pleased to acquire this property of our ancestors and help protect coho salmon,” said Tribal Chairman Delores Pigsley. “It’s part of our cultural tradition to take care of the land and its inhabitants, and this is another opportunity to do both. I’d like to thank Ecotrust Forest Management, the McKenzie River Trust, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board for their efforts in making this happen.”

Studies have shown that Fivemile Creek and its associated wetlands support some of the highest numbers of adult Oregon coast coho of any stream in Oregon. Hundreds of adult fish return yearly from the Pacific Ocean to spawn in the creek. The associated freshwater wetlands serve as a nursery for young salmon before they return to the Pacific Ocean. These fish populations are a significant economic driver for the Oregon Coast in terms of both commercial and recreational fishing. The 2015 Oregon Commercial Fishing Industry Report stated that commercial fishing alone generated $205 million in personal income. In order for these benefits to continue, salmon populations need stewards of the land—like CTSI—with long-term strategies that can support consistent cold water temperatures and functioning intact wetland habitat.

CTSI acquired the land from Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM), a for-profit FSC-certified forestland investment company that acquires and manages forestland in the Pacific Northwest region on behalf of its clients. EFM purchased Fivemile Creek in 2013 due to the property’s conservation significance and importance to the Tribe. “We are honored to have facilitated this important and historic transaction with the Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians, in partnership with the McKenzie River Trust and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. Fivemile Creek is a property that will greatly benefit from the Tribe’s deep knowledge, cultural traditions and significant history in this area.” said Bettina von Hagen, CEO of EFM.

The McKenzie River Trust (MRT), a not-for-profit land trust based in Eugene, Oregon, facilitated the transaction and secured grant funds for the sale. “We are privileged to have been able to be a part of this transfer,” said Joe Moll, executive director of the McKenzie River Trust. “Working together with EFM, the Siletz Tribe, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and other partners—this is how we are making progress at restoring salmon runs, healthy forests, and strong communities.”

Freshwater wetlands along Fivemile Creek serve as a nursery for young salmon. Photo courtesy Ecotrust Forest Management.

The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB), a state agency that provides grants for Oregonians to take care of local streams, rivers, wetlands, and natural areas, provided funding for the project. All three project partners contributed both cash and in-kind support. “This acquisition is located in the Tahkenitch Lake watershed which is highly productive for coho salmon,” said Meta Loftsgaarden, executive director of OWEB. “In addition to ecological values, this site offers important cultural benefits that will be preserved by the Siletz Tribe. OWEB is excited to be a part of this historic transaction.”

With the purchase of this land, CTSI is now poised to begin work to enhance the fish, wildlife, and plant communities on the property. The Tribe will be removing two old cross dikes and exploring options such as enhanced native plantings and adding large wood to the wetlands in order to increase the number of places for young fish to grow before journeying to the ocean.

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About the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians:
The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians is a diverse confederation of 27 Western Oregon, Northern California and Southern Washington bands. A 1.1 million-acre reservation was established by President Franklin Pierce on Nov. 9, 1855, fulfilling the stipulations of eight treaties. Over time, reservation lands were drastically reduced and the Tribe was terminated as a Tribe in 1954. In 1977, the Siletz Tribe was the second Tribe in the nation to achieve restoration and in 1980, some reservation lands were re-established. Since 1980, the Tribe has increased its land base to 15,615 acres, which includes 15,016 acres of timberland and 599 acres for cultural preservation, housing, operations, economic purposes, and wildlife enhancement. For more information, visit www.ctsi.nsn.us.

About Ecotrust Forest Management:
Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM) is a private forestland investment management company that strategically acquires and manages ecologically significant forestland in the western United States on behalf of its clients. Founded in 2004 by our parent company Ecotrust, we currently manage 27,000 acres of Northwest forestland to enhance forest health and productivity, and to produce a diverse array of forest products and services including timber, biomass, carbon, and improved habitat and water quality. For more information, visit www.ecotrustforests.com.

About the McKenzie River Trust:
The McKenzie River Trust is a nonprofit land trust based in Eugene, Oregon. Our mission is to help people protect and care for the lands and rivers they cherish in western Oregon. Since 1989, we’ve acquired property and voluntary conservation easements to protect over 4,800 acres of clean, free-flowing rivers, plentiful salmon runs, and vibrant farms and forests that provide livelihoods and habitat. We envision a future in which conservation lands are at the core of community efforts to sustain clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and diverse natural resource economies in western Oregon. Working with private willing landowners in eight different watersheds from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, we take on the responsibility of ensuring that the land and its conservation values will be protected forever. For more information, visit www.mckenzieriver.org.

Press Release: McKenzie Camp acquisition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 30, 2015

Contact: Joe Moll
Executive Director, McKenzie River Trust
541-844-6284 (cell)
541-345-2799 (office)
jmoll@mckenzieriver.org

McKenzie River Trust Protects Clean Water and Salmon Habitat Near Blue River in Land Acquisition From Rosboro

A side channel of the McKenzie River flows through the McKenzie Camp property, now protected thanks to a land acquisition by the McKenzie River Trust. MRT purchased 154 acres of riverfront land that includes numerous side channels, ponds, wetlands, and old floodplain forest in the scenic McKenzie River corridor from Rosboro on December 30, 2015. Photo by Tim Giraudier.


(EUGENE, OR) The McKenzie River Trust (MRT) has purchased 154 acres of riverfront land along the McKenzie River near the town of Blue River. The property, called McKenzie Camp, includes approximately two miles of riverfront, numerous side channels, ponds, wetlands, and old floodplain forest in the scenic McKenzie River corridor. MRT, a nonprofit land trust that has protected over 4,000 acres of healthy natural lands in the region, will steward the land for its clean water and fish and wildlife habitat. Rosboro sold the land to MRT after a closed-bid auction.

“We are grateful to the folks at Rosboro for working with us on this legacy project,” said Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust. “When you think of the McKenzie River, you imagine clean blue water, incredible salmon spawning habitat, and healthy floodplain forests. This property has all of that.”

MRT and Rosboro hope to reach agreement in the coming weeks on the sale of additional acreage across the river and nearby, including the Finn Rock Boat launch and a former logging camp used by Rosboro employees until the 1980s. After purchasing these additional parcels, MRT will work with local partners to manage the land, including possible restoration of areas impacted by gravel extraction and timber harvest. Details of the transactions are still being worked out.

In November, the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) authorized a grant to MRT of $250,000 for conservation planning and restoration of McKenzie Camp, as well as up to $500,000 as a matching challenge grant toward long-term stewardship of the site.

“The acquisition and long-term conservation of this property represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the 200,000 people in the greater Eugene area who rely on the McKenzie as their sole source of drinking water,” said Karl Morgenstern, EWEB water source protection manager. “The Trust’s planned activities to enhance the floodplain forest and wetlands in this part of the watershed will contribute in significant ways to EWEB’s source protection efforts.”

MRT used private donations and a low-interest loan from Craft3’s Conservation Bridge Fund program to pay for the purchase. The Conservation Bridge Fund provides loans to conservation organizations like MRT to acquire sensitive lands, restore habitat and protect water quality. The loan program was created through a program related investment and grants from the Meyer Memorial Trust.

MRT will be seeking additional donations and grants to pay back the loan, fund the subsequent purchase and stewardship of the additional parcels, and meet the EWEB challenge grant. Tax deductible gifts will be accepted through the MRT website, mckenzieriver.org, via phone at 541-345-2799, or by mailing a check to McKenzie River Trust, 1245 Pearl St, Eugene, OR 97401.

About the McKenzie River Trust:
The McKenzie River Trust is a nonprofit land trust with a mission to help people protect and care for the lands and rivers they cherish in western Oregon. Since 1989, we’ve acquired property and voluntary conservation easements to protect over 4,000 acres of clean, free-flowing rivers, plentiful salmon runs, and vibrant farms and forests that provide livelihoods and habitat. We envision a future in which conservation lands are at the core of community efforts to sustain clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and diverse natural resource economies in western Oregon. Working with private willing landowners in eight different watersheds from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, we take on the responsibility of ensuring that the land and its conservation values will be protected forever. For more information, visit mckenzieriver.org.

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It’s the trees

Because of you, a 294-acre conservation easement will protect an oak woodland near Eugene forever. Photo by Tim Giraudier, Beautiful Oregon.

It’s the trees

Thanks to you, an oak woodland and working forest is protected

When you ask Doug and Linda Carnine why it was important to permanently protect their 294-acre property a few miles south of Eugene, it seems to always come back to the trees.

Landowners Doug and Linda Carnine have protected 294 acres of their land on Lorane Highway for native plants and wildlife.

Inspired by a lifetime of travel, Doug and Linda have invested heavily in conservation in their own backyard.

They’ve purchased cut-over parcels of land around Lane County with a vision to turn them into thriving forests that clean the air and provide a home for native hawks, bees, cougars, rattlesnakes, and bears.

Now, one of those areas will be protected forever, thanks to a conservation easement the Carnines developed with the McKenzie River Trust. Funding for the project came from the Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, and members of the McKenzie River Trust. The Carnines also donated a portion of the value of the easement to make sure the land would be protected.

Doug and Linda will continue to own the land and manage it for its wildlife habitat, native plants, and for the public, who can access the property on walking trails. They will also continue to involve the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Confederated Tribes of Siletz, and Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.

The scenic protected property about 12 miles south of Eugene is home to many native plants and wild creatures. It is open for hiking, though the Carnines request that you call them before you visit. Photo by Tim Giraudier, Beautiful Oregon.

Total persistence

Getting the land to the condition it’s in today has taken years of hard work.

“Each of these trees is one we have intimate relations with,” says Linda. We’re standing in a place, she explains, that was once home to a ten foot wall of scotch broom. Sometimes, when Doug and Linda came to visit, they’d find young trees they had planted in an area gnarled, twisted, and bent. “They about died several times.”

Linda points to one redwood sapling, about ten feet tall atop the hill of the Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve and smiles.

“That one is amazing, the way it has popped up! It got real skinny, bent over, and we used stakes and all sorts of things to keep it growing, and now… look at that! Standing up and growing tall.”

“We probably replanted this spot about five times,” adds Doug.

Dedicated to Andy

The preserve’s namesake may be familiar to longtime members of the McKenzie River Trust.

Andrew “Andy” Reasoner, the preserve’s namesake, was MRT’s first Conservation Director from 2005 to 2007.

Andrew Reasoner’s enthusiasm for life extended to his community, family, and work as MRT’s first ever Conservation Director from 2005 to 2007. A warm, energetic and caring person, Andy was able to connect with anyone, from the youngest child to the most skeptical landowner.

Andy’s friend Darin Stringer has worked with the Carnine family for over a decade to support restoration of their land. Andy lived next door to the property and often hiked there. “He was such an avid outdoorsman,” said Darin. As a neighbor “he was really interested in seeing the property conserved.”

Andy passed away in 2007 after battling cancer. When Darin suggested that the Carines dedicate the preserve to Andy, it seemed a fitting tribute. That is even more true now, as the conservation easement will forever protect a place that Andy loved.

Catching on

“People are looking for a way to give back,” says Doug, explaining why more and more lands south of Eugene have been protected in recent years.

Oak woodlands dominate the views at the Andy Reasoner Wildlife Preserve. Photo by Tim Giraudier, Beautiful Oregon.

“For some reason land conservation resonates with them. Maybe they have heard the data on endangered habitat in oak savannahs and how important oaks are for so many species.”

That’s what Steve Smith, a retired US Fish and Wildlife Service refuge manager in the Willamette Valley, told Doug and Linda when he visited their property some years back.

Steve explained that oak savannah is the tenth most endangered habitat in the world. “We’ve lost a huge percentage of what was here when the Native Americans used fire to protect the oak,” says Linda.

It’s protected… so what’s next?

It seems conservation work is never done. Next up, Doug and Linda will work with the Long Tom Watershed Council to make the habitat even more attractive for sensitive species.

Pointing to a young forest of fir and oak to the north, Doug explains the conservation enhancement project. “We’re going to create a corridor from here all the way down to the prairie. We’ll take out some trees, release a lot of native plants and remove invasives.”

There’s a little rock out-cropping, which means diversity and the occasional rattlesnake sighting. There’s an old hunting blind where people have seen a bear cub running past. There’s chinquapin, Willamette Valley pine, and a woody grove that Linda calls her “madrone garden” that flourished in the hot, dry summer of 2015. And there are the oaks.

A special forest management zone in the easement will ensure that oaks will be protected in the midst of an area that the Carnines and any future landowners can thin for timber. The easement will require the area to be managed for the sake of the oak trees, rather than for maximal harvest.

Your visit

You can come see the Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve for yourself. In fact, the Carnines encourage it. “We ask people to give us a call,” says Linda. “It’s nice to know who’s out here.”

They ask that you access the property only on foot, and that dogs stay on leash. “Someone spotted a family of bobcats up here, so we’re really trying to protect them,” she adds.

When you visit…

  • Please do not block the gate.
  • Please call before your visit.
  • Please access on foot only.
  • Please keep all dogs on leash.

Before your visit, please call Doug and Linda to let them know you are coming: 541-485-3781

Address: 84731 Lorane Highway, Eugene OR 97405 – note that the address is approximate. There is no mailbox but look for the Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve sign (pictured above) and the small pull-out by the locked gate. Do not block the gate.

‘Safe Harbors’ for native fish


This is part of a series about the MRT members who have played a part in the incredible comeback of Oregon chub. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll share more stories of MRT members who aided the recovery.

‘Safe Harbors’ for native fish

Gail and Eric Haws

“The chub seems like such an insignificant little creature,” MRT member Gail Haws noted from her home along the Middle Fork of the Willamette River near Oakridge. But her family’s work to protect it has had a huge impact.

Gail and her husband Eric were among the first landowners to sign a Safe Harbor Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2009. Through the agreement, the Haws family committed to protecting Oregon chub found in their ponds.

Researcher Brian Bangs from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife helps coordinate the Safe Harbor program for Oregon chub in the Willamette Valley.

The Safe Harbor program started in the early 2000s. The program allowed private landowners to take on voluntary conservation measures on behalf of Oregon chub on their properties. This allowed agency staff to work in partnership with private landowners to manage endangered species on private property as well as public land. For species native to the Willamette Valley, where land is 96% privately owned, that’s critical.

“It’s been staggering to watch a community grow around this two inch minnow,” says researcher Brian Bangs. “There was a word of mouth to it. People begin seeing what one landowner is doing and saying, ‘Well, this is really neat. What can I do? How can I get involved, too?’”

The importance of healthy floodplains

Landowner and member Art Johnson with former MRT Land Protection Manager Ryan Ruggiero.


This is part of a series about the MRT members who have played a part in the incredible comeback of Oregon chub. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll share more stories of MRT members who aided the recovery.

The importance of healthy floodplains

Art and Anita Johnson

Places protected for Oregon chub are also habitat for many other creatures like Great blue herons, red-legged frogs, and Chinook salmon.

In 2007, MRT helped members Art and Anita Johnson create a conservation easement on their 28-acre floodplain property on the lower McKenzie. The land was protected for its ideal habitat for Chinook salmon, redside rainbow trout, steelhead, and red-legged frogs. Years later, researchers found Oregon chub were also using the side channels there year-round.

As more and more people studied the chub, they learned about the interrelationship between one species and the whole web of creatures that live in the river.

“You can’t allow one species to be lost without that having an impact on other species,” says Art. “I’ve been on the McKenzie and Willamette my whole life. I knew the chub was in the river and I was very pleased that they were in that pocket of our property.”

A healthy, functioning floodplain was a major help for Oregon chub. “The recovery of the chub, to a large extent, is because of natural features,” adds Art. “The way the river moves back and forth creates harbors” for fish like chub.

Like many who have assisted in chub recovery in ways large and small, Art and Anita are humble about their role. “We don’t take any credit for [the recovery],” says Art. “It was a bit of fortune that the habitat developed right in the bends of the river.”

Beers Made By Walking comes to Eugene

Photo by Trask Bedortha

Beers Made By Walking comes to Eugene

Drink up the land. That’s what seven local breweries and a cidery are hoping you’ll do on November 5th when Beers Made By Walking (BMBW) comes to The Bier Stein.

This summer we’ve been working with BMBW to invite brewers to create place-based beers inspired by plants found on nature walks on MRT properties.

The public walks this summer on three places protected by MRT in the southern Willamette Valley taught people about native and invasive plants, in addition to private land conservation in the area. The brewers have been challenged to create a beer or cider that represents the trails they walked.

This brewers have included ingredients in their beers as varied as yarrow, lemon balm, mustard seed, fennel, chamomile, and many other wild ingredients. These experimental beers will be a joy to experience, particularly because they were inspired by the lands MRT members are helping to protect.

The proceeds from the event at The Bier Stein on November 5th will support MRT’s mission.

Participating breweries and cidery include:
Agrarian Ales, Claim 52 Brewing, Elk Horn Brewery, Falling Sky Brewing, Oakshire Brewing, Plank Town Brewing, Viking Braggot Co., and Wildcraft Cider Works.

Tapping event details

For more details about the event, including a link to the full beer list, click here.

The little fish that we’d never noticed


This is part of a series about the MRT members who have played a part in the incredible comeback of Oregon chub. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll share more stories of MRT members who aided the recovery.

The little fish that we’d never noticed

George Grier and Cynthia Pappas

MRT made the front page of the Register-Guard on November 9, 2001, when researchers discovered Oregon chub on George Grier and Cynthia Pappas’ Big Island conservation easement. It was the first sighting of the fish in the McKenzie basin since 1899.

George Grier and Cynthia Pappas permanently protected 7 acres of their land, pictured above, with a donated conservation easement in 1992. MRT’s first easement, it prevented development on backwater sloughs and side channels of the lower McKenzie River on the edge of Springfield’s drinking water well field.

In 2001 during a routine fish survey on George and Cynthia’s property, researchers Jeff Ziller from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Mike Sheehan from the Willamette National Forest made an incredible discovery. They found Oregon chub, last seen in the McKenzie basin in 1899, over 100 years earlier. A Register-Guard reporter happened to be there to document what George calls “a new chapter” in chub recovery.

It was a new beginning. “No one really knew about chub on the McKenzie until this population was found,” said George. “By looking closely at where the major populations were on our property, [the researchers] were able to get a better handle on where to look for them” elsewhere in the McKenzie and in other Willamette River tributaries.

George Grier, pictured at right, with Mike Running and Ryland Moore, the former Co-Directors of MRT who were with the organization when chub was discovered on Big Island in 2001.

ODFW’s Brian Bangs agrees that the sighting was “a big deal.”

After chub were found on Big Island, researchers started looking for them in similar habitats nearby. “They were everywhere,” says Brian, reflecting back. “It’s the little fish that’s under everyone’s noses. The fish that people, even fisheries biologists, just ignored. We call them little brown fish. And people forget about them. It’s pretty remarkable that we could go 100 years before everyone realized what they were.”

When asked how they felt about the recovery of Oregon chub, George and Cynthia took an optimistic view. “I was pretty excited” to hear they’d be de-listed said George. “To play a role in something like that is a pretty major milestone. It was a long time coming.”

“I was actually surprised that it didn’t take longer,” added Cynthia.

Oregon chub makes a comeback

Because of members like you, an Oregon native makes a comeback

It was the early 1990s. Like many of our native fishes, the Oregon chub was in trouble.

Chub lived their lives in the moist backwater channels and sloughs of the Willamette Valley’s lush rivers and streams. But those streams had fewer and fewer rich habitat areas for the chub to thrive. Braided rivers with plentiful meanders, oxbows, and diverse floodplains that had once blanketed the Willamette Valley were now largely developed or cut off from the river.

In 1993, with only 1,000 known Oregon chub remaining, the fish was listed as endangered.

This was the start of a huge group effort to recover Oregon chub, a native species that went from imperiled to healthy in just 22 years.

Member stories

Together with our members, MRT has played an important part in the comeback of Oregon chub. Because of support from people like you, we’ve protected places for chub to grow and thrive, six places on the Lower McKenzie River.

In the coming days and weeks, we’ll share a few stories of MRT members who aided the recovery.

George Grier and Cynthia Pappas
Art and Anita Johnson
Gail and Eric Haws

 

Places our members have helped protect

Beers Made By Walking

Beers Made By Walking

Brewers to create drinkable portraits of protected lands

Beers Made By Walking, a program that invites brewers to go on nature hikes and make beer inspired by plants found on the trail, is partnering with McKenzie River Trust for a series of three walks this summer and a beer-tasting fundraiser in the fall.

Beers Made By Walking invites brewers and interested community members to go on nature hikes guided by local conservation and plant experts. Brewers attending the hikes are challenged to create a unique hike-inspired beer that serves as a drinkable, landscape portrait of the trails that are walked.

The resulting beers will be served at a special event on November 5th at The Bier Stein, and proceeds from the beers will benefit the McKenzie River Trust. Partnering breweries/cideries in the Eugene/Springfield area include Claim 52 Brewing, Elk Horn Brewery, Agrarian Ales, Oakshire Brewing, Falling Sky Brewing, Viking Braggot Company, and WildCraft Cider Works.

Hike on the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area

Thursday, June 4 from 6 to 8 pmRegister now!
This Beers Made by Walking tour explores the riparian forest and field edges of Berggren along the lower McKenzie River, a special place where farming and conservation come together. This tour will be guided by Jared Pruch, coordinator for the Berggren Demonstration Farm and joined by brewers from Claim 52, Elk Horn Brewery, Falling Sky Brewing, and Viking Braggot Company.

Hike on Green Island during the Living River Celebration

Saturday, June 27, time TBAGet more info
As part of the Living River Celebration, come and explore a natural area just 15 minutes from downtown Eugene. Green Island is McKenzie River Trust’s largest property and an ecologically diverse river system. The Living River Celebration will feature music, refreshments, and is family friendly event. This tour will be one of many offered during the day. It will be guided by Jenny Getty and hikers will be joined by brewers from Agrarian Ales and Oakshire Brewing.

Hike at the Hagens’ Confluence Farm on Ferguson Creek

Thursday, July 30 from 6 to 8 pmGet more info
This Beers Made By Walking tour explores Trey and Tammie Hagen’s family land near Monroe. Visit the intact, meandering section of Ferguson Creek that runs through the property, as well as the hay fields and blueberry patches of Confluence Farm, the Hagens’ berry operation. Located in the Pacific Flyway, one of several major routes across North America for migrating waterfowl, this walk will take hikers back in time to a homestead in the early settlement days of the Willamette Valley. The tour will be guided by plant and ethnobotany expert Heiko Koester and joined by brewers from Planktown Brewing and WildCraft Cider Works.

Beers Made By Walking Release Party at The Bier Stein

Thursday, November 5 from 5 to 8 pmGet more info
Taste the beers made by walking on MRT lands! Mark your calendars for this party at the Bier Stein, where you can meet the all the participating brewers and sample the unique beers inspired by the hikes. A portion of proceeds from this event will be donated to the McKenzie River Trust.

Scholfield Creek Wetlands Conservation Area

Public Meeting: Scholfield Creek Wetlands Conservation Area

Tuesday, May 26th at 6pm
Reedsport City Hall, 451 Winchester Ave in Reedsport

Summary: Please join us to learn more about a proposed land conservation project along Scholfield Creek near the city of Reedsport. The project will provide public conservation and recreation benefits to people in and around the area. Snacks will be provided.

   
You’re invited to learn about and comment on a proposed project just outside of Reedsport in the Umpqua estuary.

The goal of the Scholfield Creek Wetlands project is to ensure that the unique estuary wetlands just outside the City of Reedsport will provide conservation and recreation benefits for the public, on into the future.

The McKenzie River Trust, a nonprofit, non-governmental land trust, seeks to purchase +/- 215 acres of wetlands in Scholfield Creek. The wetlands are currently owned by the City of Reedsport, Douglas County, and Roseburg Resources, a subsidiary of Roseburg Forest Products.

The purchase would be funded by a state grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and a federal grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation program. Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers (PUR), a Roseburg-based non-profit, non-regulatory watershed council, would be responsible for habitat improvements and restoration.

We want to hear your thoughts and questions about the Scholfield Creek Wetlands project. Please join us for this Public Meeting!

Questions? Please contact us.

Alayna DuPont
Land Protection Manager, McKenzie River Trust
(541) 345-2799 or alayna@mckenzieriver.org

Matt Ruwaldt
Estuary Biologist, Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers
(541) 662-0049 or mruwaldt@gmail.com

Scholfield Creek Wetlands FAQ

What are the goals for this project?

McKenzie River Trust seeks to purchase the Scholfield Creek wetlands to protect an important community area for its fish and wildlife habitat, open space, and recreational values. Our long term vision is that the unique wetlands of Scholfield Creek that you value today will be there for your grandchildren’s grandchildren.

What public benefits will the project provide?

This project will provide conservation benefits, recreational benefits, and community benefits. By protecting the wetlands today, Reedsport residents and visitors will be able to enjoy and appreciate this area now and on into the future.

The Scholfield Creek wetlands are the nurseries for healthy fish in the Umpqua River. Coho and Chinook salmon and sea run cutthroat trout rely on the rich estuary habitat of Scholfield Creek for summer rearing and winter refuge. Clean water also comes from healthy wetlands. Like sponges, the wetlands absorb, store, and release water. They provide a buffer against flooding by absorbing and retaining high water levels.

The Scholfield Creek wetlands provide Reedsport residents and visitors with dozens of recreational opportunities, from duck hunting to bird watching, photography, and kayaking. Scholfield Creek is open for cutthroat trout fishing, and because other valuable fish like Chinook and coho use these areas, the wetlands are also beneficial to recreational and commercial fishing in the surrounding areas. Healthy fisheries that are supported by the wetlands provide benefits to local fishing businesses.

Why is now a good time to make this project happen?

The project fits with the City of Reedsport’s vision for recreation and conservation surrounding the city. Planning efforts for the Reedsport Levee Loop Trail and Water Trail show that there is a lot of interest in increasing recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. The opportunity for a project like this that advances a community vision for conservation of an important area for fish, wildlife, and recreation does not happen every day.

Who will benefit from this project? How?

Across Oregon, the angling community, including commercial fisheries, increasingly recognizes the value of estuary lands for the health of fisheries. Maintaining healthy estuaries benefits both commercial and recreational anglers, because wetlands are the nurseries of strong fish populations. Local businesses also benefit from these activities: examples include fishing boats along the Oregon coast, the local port, Reedsport river guides and outfitters, upstream recreational guides on the Umpqua River, and more.

Beyond anglers, MRT is committed to working with the City, neighbors, and the entire Reedsport community to explore development of the Water Trail and other recreational opportunities that are appropriate. We are committed to working with the City to maintain a healthy wetlands that can be enjoyed and appreciated by everyone.

Where does the money come from for this project?

McKenzie River Trust and the Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers have secured funding for this project through two competitive grant applications. A grant from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) will be applied towards the land purchase. OWEB is a state agency that provides grants to help Oregonians take care of local streams, rivers, wetlands and natural areas. OWEB grants are funded from the Oregon Lottery, federal dollars, and salmon license plate revenue. We have also been awarded a federal grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Program. After a national competition, 25 wetlands projects were awarded funding in 2015, including the Scholfield Creek Wetlands project. The Coastal Wetlands grant funds come from taxes paid on equipment and fuel purchases by recreational anglers and boaters nationwide.

Some of the land that is proposed to be sold is publicly owned right now. Why should a private land trust own that land?

The McKenzie River Trust’s mission is to help people protect and care for the lands and rivers they cherish in western Oregon. As an independent, community-based nonprofit 501c3 organization operated for the public benefit, we will ensure that this land is owned and managed for conservation, no matter what changes in the future. We are in it for the long run.

The McKenzie River Trust was founded in 1989 and has completed conservation projects on over 4,000 acres of land from the Cascades to the coast. MRT is an Accredited Land Trust. Independent accreditation ensures all our lands will be protected forever.

Why are the City of Reedsport, Douglas County, and Roseburg Resources considering selling this land?

Roseburg Resources originally approached MRT, because they consider the wetlands to be unproductive timberland. They realized that this unique part of Scholfield Creek could be better stewarded by a different owner, one with a conservation mission, like MRT. The City of Reedsport and Douglas County became interested in the project because they saw the potential for this kind of a project and partnership to bring more resources to their communities. This transaction is also a way for the City and County to ensure that the wetlands are cared for in line with the community’s interests without having to be responsible for the long term management of the land. All three sellers will be paid for the land they sell.

What will happen to the land once it is sold to the McKenzie River Trust?

MRT will work with the Reedsport community to ensure that the land will be managed for its long term conservation and recreation benefits. In the coming years, the Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers will also enhance the health of the wetlands through on-the-ground projects.

What kind of work is the Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers proposing to do in the wetlands?

PUR is working with estuary science experts to develop a plan to ensure that the Scholfield Creek wetlands ecosystem is as productive and healthy as possible. After assessing the needs of the wetlands, PUR will begin taking actions to enhance the habitat of the land by increasing estuary complexity. Estuary complexity is very important for wetlands. For example, historically, there would have likely been more woody debris in the Scholfield wetlands than there is today. Enhancement work that adds more woody debris now can provide overhead cover for native fish that use the wetlands. Woody debris also makes the tidal channels more complex, provides habitat for bugs and other macroinvertebrates that contribute to wetland health, and offers nurse logs for spruce trees and native shrubs to grow. Habitat enhancements like these can make the area a more appealing place for native birds, insects, fish, beavers, and more.

Who is part of the project team? What experience do they bring to the project? Do they have any connection to the local area?

The McKenzie River Trust team includes Alayna DuPont, Land Protection Manager, and Joe Moll, Executive Director. Alayna and Joe both bring many years of experience in conservation land transactions, including large-scale, complex transactions with multiple owners. Alayna has been with MRT since January 2015, and Joe has been with the organization since 2005. Both are trail runners and avid outdoors-people. Although this is MRT’s first project in the Reedsport area, we do have other projects on the coast near Mapleton and Yachats.

The Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers team includes Matt Ruwaldt, Estuary Biologist, and Eric Riley, Executive Director. Matt and Eric have over 25 years combined experience in science-based conservation in communities in Oregon and beyond. Matt has been with PUR since 2009, and Eric has been with the organization since 2007. Matt and his family are Florence residents and Eric lives in Roseburg.

I have more questions about this project. Who should I call?

  • Alayna DuPont Land Protection Manager, McKenzie River Trust: (541) 345-2799 or alayna@mckenzieriver.org
  • Matt Ruwaldt Estuary Biologist, Partnership for the Umpqua Rivers: (541) 662-0049 or mruwaldt@gmail.com

   

McKenzie floodplain forest will be home to fish and wildlife forever

Thank you for protecting habitat!


Because of you,
the abundant fish of the lower McKenzie River will thrive. Another critical piece of their habitat is protected!

In January, after years of negotiation and due diligence work, we purchased Chub Slough, a 34-acre property on the lower McKenzie River. Chub Slough adds to a network of complex, dynamic habitats across several hundred acres of floodplain land on the lower McKenzie.

Located nearby the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area and Bellinger Boat Landing, Chub Slough’s intact floodplain forest habitat adds to the “string of pearls” in this area. Within this network of conserved lands, healthy populations of Oregon chub, Chinook salmon, pond turtles, and red-legged frogs thrive – all thanks to your support.

Chub Slough also contains high value farmland. MRT is exploring ways this land might be enhanced and used in conjunction with the McKenzie Watershed Council and EWEB’s Healthy Farms Clean Water Program.

What’s in a name?

Oregon chub are a tiny minnow found only in the clean rivers of the Willamette Valley. After Oregon chub were placed on the Endangered Species List in the 1990s, the McKenzie River Trust came together with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, private landowners, and many other partners to take actions to protect habitat and create safe harbors for this unique fish.

On February 17, 2015, Oregon chub made history by being the first fish ever to be removed from the Endangered Species List due to recovery. The Chub Slough property contains such incredible habitat for Oregon chub that we had to name it after them.

Special thanks

Chub Slough was protected thanks to the support from people like you. The McKenzie Watershed Council 412 Fund and EWEB’s Drinking Water Source Protection Program, and Meyer Memorial Trust also provided grants for this project.

A generous gift protects an oak woodland

The newest protected area in the Umpqua River Watershed

Photo by Ryan Ruggiero

Landowners Joyce Machado and Dale Carey donated a conservation easement protecting oak woodlands and a portion of Pollock Creek to the McKenzie River Trust. Photo by Bruce Newhouse.

Dale Carey had no idea oak trees would be such a big part of his life.

Dale and his wife Joyce Machado retired to 62 acres of oak woodlands on Pollock Creek in Douglas County nine years ago. “The minute we got off the road, I said I like this place already,” recalls Dale. “It’s beautiful land, that’s about all I can say.”

A self-described nature person, Dale spends most of his time on his land. He tries to walk it every day. He knows practically every tree and rock, having worked extensively to restore habitat on the property.

In late November, Dale and Joyce took another step to protect their land by donating a conservation easement to the McKenzie River Trust. The easement permanently protects the impressive oak habitat, upland prairie, marsh, and forested wetlands from future development or commercial use.

“It’s about the oak trees.”

Jim Lee, a Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District employee, inspired Dale and Joyce to make some big changes on the property – changes that eventually led them to the ‘forever’ protection of a conservation easement.

Joyce met Jim at an open house at Kanipe County Park, just down the road from the couple’s property. When she began telling him about the oaks on their land, Jim’s eyes lit up. Jim visited Dale and Joyce’s land many times in the coming years. He described what oak habitat offers for native critters and suggested they remove the fir trees that were beginning to crowd out the oaks.

While hesitant to cut any trees at first, Dale and Joyce used Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds, matched by their own savings, to thin out their stands. They sent the downed firs to a lumber mill. Dale was determined that all the proceeds – over $20,000 – should go back into the land. Then Cindy Bright, also from the Soil and Water Conservation District, helped Dale and Joyce improve the habitat in Pollock Creek for coho salmon.

“Jim convinced me,” said Dale. “Oak trees have character, plus they support all kinds of life. I never knew that before I met Jim Lee.”

Jim died in 2011 at age 49 after an intense battle with cancer. Speaking with Dale today, you can hear how Jim’s legacy of supporting private landowners in their restoration work will live on in the oak trees of Douglas County.

Protected forever

At some point in those many years of restoration work together, Jim suggested that Dale and Joyce consider a conservation easement to permanently protect their property for fish and wildlife. The McKenzie River Trust came up. As Dale recalls, the organization was “just another abbreviation,” part of the alphabet soup of the conservation world.

Then Land Protection Manager Ryan Ruggiero came for a visit, and the possibility of long-term protection became more real.

When asked how he feels about his property being protected, Dale gets philosophical. “Forever. What a concept. I hope that’s the way it is.”

“Life is just slower up here,” says Dale. “We see lots of deer . . . There’s elk and bear from time to time, and beaver and [coho] salmon down at the creek.” Dale loves to catch sight of a western bluebird or pileated woodpecker, and hummingbirds and vultures migrate through.

Now, thanks to Dale and Joyce, and years of encouragement and effort by Jim Lee, all those creatures and their homes will be protected. Forever.

#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.

McKenzie River Trust member’s passion evolves into Oregon’s first published field guide for dragonflies

This post is part of a series of profiles of McKenzie River Trust members. Have an idea for a member spotlight? Contact Jules Abbott, Membership and Outreach Coordinator: jules (at) mckenzieriver (dot) org.

Member Spotlight: Steve Gordon


Steve Gordon vividly remembers the day that would change the course of his life.

A fifth-generation Oregonian, Steve is an avid birder, dragonfly expert, and McKenzie River Trust member, among many other pursuits.

That day, as he sat in a business meeting, he noticed a dragonfly land on a flower outside the window.

“I sketched the dragonfly and the wing pattern,” Steve recalled. “[After the meeting] I went to find out what species the dragonfly was and noticed it was difficult to find a field guide.”

Steve began to hunt for dragonfly guides and groups in Oregon. He discovered a survey website that listed Oregonians who were interested in dragonflies. Steve noticed an acquaintance, Cary Kerst, on the list. He got in touch, and over coffee, they decided to take a field trip. Soon after, they ventured into the west Eugene wetlands to learn about and identify new dragonfly species.

Eventually, their combined passion inspired them to publish the first dragonfly field guide for Oregon.

“We probably spent three years working on it. I think Cary discovered six or seven new species of insects, and together, we added a new dragonfly to the Oregon list.”

Now, Steve supports McKenzie River Trust by leading dragonfly field trips, participating on the lands committee, and advising the board on acquisitions. He’s also a member.

“McKenzie River Trust is good for my heart and soul,” Steve said. “It’s the accumulation of preserved sites that really starts to make a difference on the landscape. In 10 years, you’ll be able to see a ribbon of connective pieces starting to form. I think at that point you really do have an impact on the landscape.”

Steve believes that his support of McKenzie River Trust will help ensure that Oregon continues to be a wonderful place to live ages from now. With Steve’s help, his great-grandchildren — future eighth-generation Oregonians! — will still have plenty of natural areas to enjoy.

Get involved!

Do you want to join Steve on his next Dragonfly tour? Sign up for the McKenzie River Trust email list to hear about new tours and other ways to explore our protected landscapes. Enter your email address in the upper right corner of our website to sign up for e-news.

Caddis Fly Angling Shop’s Annual Two-Fly Tournament Supports McKenzie River Trust

This post is the first in a series of profiles of McKenzie River Trust members. Have an idea for a member spotlight? Contact Jules Abbott, Membership and Outreach Coordinator: jules (at) mckenzieriver (dot) org.

Member Spotlight:

Chris Daughters, Caddis Fly Angling Shop


One of Chris Daughter’s earliest memories of life is fishing. Chris caught the family tradition the first time he cast a rod into McKenzie River’s crisp, clear water with his father and grandfather. Fishing quickly became his passion.

When Chris was only ten years old, he began working at the Caddis Fly Angling Shop. The owners became his second family. By his twenties, he bought it.

It’s all about enhancement

Today, as owner of a respected fly-fishing shop, Chris values McKenzie River Trust and its positive impact on Oregon Rivers and fish. Chris sees a strong connection between the shop’s customers and the Trust.

“[MRT] supports healthy habitat enhancement for rivers which enhance fish and clean water,” Chris says. “My philosophy is so much like theirs … [and] it benefits the customers as well. We’re all looking for enhancement.”

Chris believes that small steps can positively affect rivers and fish, and recognizes the importance of preserving the McKenzie River and its natural beauty.

“It has quite a bit of diversity, excellent gradient and beautiful forests,” Chris says about the McKenzie River. “When you get down into the lower flood plains, it has a totally different character. It’s a really diverse body of water, so its fishing techniques can be as well.”

Two-Fly Tournament makes an impact

One of the ways that Chris supports McKenzie River Trust is through an annual fly-fishing tournament, where all proceeds benefit MRT. In five years, The Caddis Fly Angling Shop’s Two-Fly Tournament has raised over $25,000, and Chris is one of several fishing guides who donate their time to the cause. This year’s tournament on September 26 and 27 filled up within weeks of registration opening.

Now, Chris continues to pass on his family tradition to his two young children, who accompanied him and his wife on fishing trips when they were just a couple of months old. They have fished in some of the world’s most exotic locations including, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile, but they always return to where it all began, on the McKenzie River.

Get involved!

Are you an angler who would like to help protect the McKenzie and our other local rivers? Then shop at the Caddis Fly Shop on Friday, September 26, when Chris and his crew will donate 10% of sales to the McKenzie River Trust.

Press Release: Living River Celebration

For Immediate Release

Contact: Liz Lawrence
Director of Resources
llawrence@mckenzieriver.org
541-345-2799

McKenzie River Trust Hosts Living River Event
Celebrating Green Island Conservation

EUGENE, Ore. (June 19, 2014) – On Saturday, June 28, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the McKenzie River Trust will celebrate 11 years of land and water conservation on Green Island with a free and family-friendly event. The McKenzie River Trust invites families, friends, and nature lovers to enjoy the conserved land and water at the Living River Celebration.

Visitors will enjoy birdsong and live music, freshwater and cold beverages, all while exploring 1,100 acres of rolling floodplain that grow wilder by the day. Activities include tree climbing, guided tours, birding, picnicking, self-guided walks and runs, canoeing, Ninkasi beer, a musical performance by guitarist Don Latarski, and more than a dozen booths from local conservation organizations. New this year, writers and others will offer walking tours and free workshops for nature lovers to get in tune with their senses and better appreciate the land.

Green Island is located west of Coburg, Oregon where the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers come together. Green Island is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Eugene or Springfield. Parking on the property is limited, so carpooling is encouraged.

For more details about this event, including a full schedule of activities and directions, visit mckenzieriver.org/events/living-river/.

About the McKenzie River Trust
The McKenzie River Trust is a nonprofit land trust that was formed in 1989 to conserve and care for special lands and the rivers that flow through them in western Oregon. For 25 years, McKenzie River Trust has worked with landowners and diverse partnerships to protect, forever, nearly 4,000 acres of special lands in western Oregon. The 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. To learn more about McKenzie River Trust, visit mckenzieriver.org.

About the Living River events
The Living River event, now in its sixth year, is the McKenzie River Trust’s annual event to connect our community to the unique landscapes that surround us in Oregon – where we all live, work, and play. Living River events benefit the McKenzie River Trust’s mission. Last year’s Living River Celebration was the first to be held on Green Island. Over 800 people joined us to walk, bird, paddle, climb, picnic, and explore this special place. To see pictures of last year’s celebration, visit http://on.fb.me/1nhTN0G.

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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.

Floodplain ESB

Beer for Water

Falling Sky Brewing has created a special beer called Floodplain ESB, brewed to support the McKenzie River Trust.

Falling Sky Brewing has created Floodplain ESB, a limited edition beer brewed to benefit the McKenzie River Trust. $1 from every pint sold will be donated to MRT while supplies last.

Falling Sky Brewing will donate $1 for every Floodplain ESB pint to the Mckenzie River Trust. “Beer is made from amazing things, but it’s mostly water. We can’t think of a more worthwhile cause to those ends than the McKenzie River Trust. We can make great beer because we have great water,” says Scott Sieber, Falling Sky’s lead brewer.

McKenzie River Trust protects and cares for special lands and the rivers that flow through them. Working in eight different watersheds throughout western Oregon, the McKenzie River Trust works with private, willing landowners to permanently protect the places people care about.

The ESB, which stands for Extra Special Bitter, will be available only while supplies last. “We brewed 18 kegs, and it should last at least through the first 3 weeks of March. We love this beer and we love this cause,” says Michael Zarkesh, Falling Sky’s other brewer.

Raise a pint of beer to future pints, and the conservation that will continue to make them exceptional!

Join us to Connect with the Land at Falling Sky Brewing on Monday February 24th. 25% of your check will be donated to the McKenzie River Trust when you mention our name or show a special flyer. More details can be found here.

Oregon chub makes history

Landowner-Nonprofit Partnerships Aid in Recovery of Oregon Chub

Small minnow native to the Willamette Valley is the first fish proposed for removal from the Endangered Species List due to recovery

Nonprofits and private landowners have played an important role in the historic recovery of Oregon chub, a small minnow native to the Willamette Valley. On February 4, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to remove the Oregon chub from the Endangered Species List due to its recovery. If finalized, it would be the first fish to be delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act.

Robyn Thorson, Regional Director of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, announces the proposed delisting of Oregon chub from the Endangered Species Act on February 4, 2014. Behind her stand biologists Brian Bangs and Paul Sheerer of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife who have spent their careers helping to conserve and protect this native minnow that is found only in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

The historic announcement was made from the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area, a 92-acre property owned by the McKenzie River Trust (MRT). MRT is a land trust formed in 1989 to protect clean water, fish and wildlife habitat, and productive natural lands in western Oregon. The Berggren property was selected for the announcement because it contains a natural population of Oregon chub that has been growing over the past few years within some of the best side channel and floodplain forest habitat found on the lower McKenzie River. Since 2001, MRT has worked with private landowners to permanently protect habitat for chub and other species on six properties on this stretch of the river. These linked conservation areas help ensure that as the river continues to meander and change, there will always be suitable habitats for chub and other aquatic species.

“Protecting and caring for healthy habitat across the floodplain has been a key to chub recovery,” said Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust. “Here in Oregon, we live, work, and play among living rivers. We are proud to be a part of a partnership that has helped this native fish make a comeback. It is good news not only for chub, but for everything that depends on clean water and a healthy river. And that’s all of us.”

Chub ecology

More than 70 people attended the historic announcement, which was hosted on the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area, a 92-acre property owned by the McKenzie River Trust. The property is home to a natural population of chub as well as an active farm called the Berggren Demonstration Farm.

The chub is a small minnow existing only in the Willamette River Basin in floodplain habitats with limited or seasonal water flow such as beaver ponds, side channels and flooded marshes. These rare habitats generally have considerable aquatic vegetation to provide cover for hiding and spawning, and they are also home to other species of concern such as Chinook salmon, Red-legged frogs, and Western pond turtles.

Oregon chub were listed as endangered in 1993 under the Endangered Species Act and reclassified as threatened in 2009. If delisting is finalized, the fish will have gone from endangered to recovered in just over 20 years.

A home for chub

A private landowner sold the Berggren property to MRT in 2010. The purchase was supported by grant funding from the Bonneville Power Administration’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, the McKenzie Watershed Council and the Eugene Water and Electric Board. The property contains about 60 acres of riparian habitat next to 30 acres of farmland managed by Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development as the Berggren Demonstration Farm. The Farm is supported by EWEB’s Healthy Farms Clean Water program.

“We use ecologically appropriate farming practices so that we don’t harm species like chub,” said Jared Pruch, Coordinator for the Berggren Demonstration Farm. “We’re proud to partner with the McKenzie River Trust, McKenzie Watershed Council, EWEB, and others to build a strong local food system and engage the community to learn how to farm in a way that supports our native habitats.”

“What’s unique and exciting about the Berggren property is the opportunity to integrate restoration and education within the context of a collaborative partnership with the Trust, Farm and local schools,” said Jared Weybright, Project Manager for the McKenzie Watershed Council and coordinator of much of the restoration happening on the Berggren property. “Students participate through active involvement in tree planting and monitoring both the progress of the restoration work and natural conditions throughout the property.”

Diverse partnerships lead to success

The McKenzie River Trust has worked closely with biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to monitor populations of Oregon chub on six properties owned by MRT on the McKenzie River. MRT and other nonprofits have also worked to enhance habitat for chub on these properties, with benefits for other aquatic species such as Chinook salmon, Western pond turtles, Red-legged frogs, and more.

Partnerships have been the foundation of the Oregon chub’s recovery, beginning with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s conservation planning efforts which led to the development of the species’ recovery plan. The McKenzie Watershed Council, Long Tom Watershed Council, and Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council have helped coordinate many private landowners who have contributed to the recovery of Oregon chub by managing habitats to support the fish on their lands. In some cases, private landowners have also created habitat to support introductions of the species on their property. Other key partners include Lane County, which owns parkland adjacent to the Berggren property that is home to several natural chub populations, and the Meyer Memorial Trust, which has catalyzed habitat conservation efforts basin-wide through the Willamette River Initiative. Many public agencies also manage habitats that support Oregon chub populations.

The McKenzie Watershed Council regularly hosts field-based learning sessions on the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. These Thurston Middle School students are planting trees on the Berggren property while learning about riparian habitats and the creatures that live there.

“Efforts to conserve Oregon chub have been collective in the Willamette Valley. This recovery clearly demonstrates how a listed species can make a comeback in a highly populated, working landscape,” said Paul Scheerer, Oregon Chub Recovery Project Leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now has up to one year to determine whether the proposal should become final. The Service will open a 60-day public comment period to allow the public to review and comment on the proposal and provide additional information. The final decision whether or not to delist the Oregon chub will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available.

In the meantime, groups like the McKenzie River Trust, McKenzie Watershed Council, and Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development will continue to coordinate with biologists from state and federal agencies to track chub populations and protect and restore habitat for the many creatures that benefit from healthy natural lands.

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!

Growing Food & Protecting Clean Water

Farming and Conservation on MRT Properties

Many people think of land conservation and farming as opposites. But on properties protected by the McKenzie River Trust, land owners and managers are doing both, balancing our communities’ need for fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat, while protecting drinking water, and conserving natural areas where salmon thrive riparian forests tower high above clean flowing rivers. Here are two farms that are doing just that.

Berggren Demonstration Farm – McKenzie Watershed

As you prepare for Thanksgiving dinner this year, know that there’s a new place in town to get your turkey. The Berggren Demonstration Farm is concluding its second year of production this winter. The farm is located on lower McKenzie River property that MRT acquired in 2010, and it is managed by Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation & Development. This collaboration among the Trust, CPRCD, and EWEB is an effort to protect clean drinking water, integrate farming and conservation, and teach young people about growing food. Right now, the farm is growing chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, rabbits, chicken eggs, and more. For more information visit berggren-farm.org.

Whiskey Creek Organics – Siuslaw Watershed

Looking for fresh food in Florence? Whiskey Creek Organics, a family farm on Duncan Island near Mapleton, grows tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, peppers, and much more. David and Joy Pippenger’s mission is to grow the best food possible with the least amount of “off farm” inputs as possible. The Pippengers’ property is protected under a conservation easement held by MRT. Framed by towering Sitka spruce, the estuary wetlands there provide tremendous nursery habitat for salmon and many marine animals. And MRT staff can personally vouch for the deliciousness of the farm’s raspberries! For more information visit whiskeycreekorganics.com.

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.

More Wetlands Protected!

Your donations help expand the Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Photo by Raptorviews by Philip Bayles

MRT staff found rare Red-legged Frogs and Delphinium on the newly protected parcel. Photos by Ryan Ruggiero.

We’re excited to announce that on November 8th – thanks to the generous support of people like you – we added 29 acres to the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, a special place you helped us protect in 2012. The conservation area now totals 190 acres and includes several miles of Coyote and Spencer creeks surrounded by large swaths of forested wetlands, marshy emergent wetlands, and a small area of drier meadows.

Local nursery owner Glenda Bloomer sold the property to the McKenzie River Trust. In honor of her late husband, avid cyclist James Bloomer, and his devotion to the land, Ms. Bloomer said, “James loved this place. He would be so happy to know that it will be cared for forever.”

In recent years, the Trust and our partners at the Long Tom Watershed Council have focused more conservation efforts on Coyote and Spencer Creeks as we’ve learned more about their fish and wildlife habitat values. In the last issue of this newsletter, we told you of the purchase of 52-acre Spencer Swamp, just a few miles away from this latest acquisition on Spencer Creek.

Why is protecting wetlands so important?

Wetlands like these will provide a degree of resilience in the face of climate change. As we experience more intensive winter storms, hotter, drier summers, and the arrival of new species, wetlands can buffer and better hold water across seasons, while also filtering runoff from surrounding hard surfaces and developed lands. They can provide oases for wildlife during the hottest times of the summer. And because of the unique way that water moves through wetland soils, these places will continue to support only those species that are adapted to wetness, reducing the risk of warm climate invasive species becoming established.

A network of protected lands, like we are establishing along the Spencer and Coyote Creek corridors, can provide a meaningful buffer for surrounding lands and help ensure that native wildlife and working lands can continue to coexist, even in the midst of climate change. And it’s your donations that make all the difference! Thank you!

Keep the momentum going

Do you want to see more special places protected in our region? Then now is a great time to give to the McKenzie River Trust!

Click here to make a donation online, or mail a check to:

McKenzie River Trust
1245 Pearl St
Eugene, OR 97041

To phone in your gift, simply call our office at 541-345-2799.

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.

McMenamins Friends and Family Night

McMenamins Friends & Family Night
Tuesday, September 24 from 5-11pm

McMenamins North Bank – 22 Club Road in Eugene
Live music by Neil Bjorklund and Friends at 8pm

Join us for dinner, brew, and live music at McMenamins North Bank, 22 Club Road in Eugene, on Tuesday, September 24th. 50% of all the night’s sales will be donated to the McKenzie River Trust! Bring your friends and family and join us for a wonderful evening along the Willamette River.

The McKenzie River Trust protects and cares for special lands and the rivers that flow through them in western Oregon. Working along the Willamette, the McKenzie, and throughout six other watersheds in our region, the 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. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to the McKenzie River Trust.

Protect your habitat at home and along the rivers you love

Here’s a special offer you don’t want to miss.

Local design/remodeling company Neil Kelly is partnering with Clean Energy Works Oregon to offer FREE home energy audits and solar evaluations. And Neil Kelly will donate $100 to the McKenzie River Trust for everyone who signs up.

Here’s how it works:

1. Apply: Click here to fill out a brief form on the Clean Energy Works Oregon website, and get going right away.

2. Assess: A representative from Neil Kelly will contact you to schedule your free home energy assessment. Then MRT receives a donation of $100 for every assessment completed!

3. Transform: Neil Kelly will walk you through your options for saving money and making your home more comfortable with improved insulation, duct sealing, upgraded windows, solar energy and more. There is no obligation to buy.

So go ahead, give $100 without spending a penny!

Sign up for your FREE HOME ENERGY AUDIT now:
Visit http://my.cleanenergyworksoregon.org/apply/?referral_code=CNNLKMRT

Sign up for your FREE SOLAR EVALUATION now:
Visit http://www.neilkelly.com/
Enter code: McKenzieRiver

Living River Celebration Showcases Green Island

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2013

Contact: Liz Lawrence
Director of Resources, McKenzie River Trust
541-345-2799 or llawrence@mckenzieriver.org

McKenzie River Trust Invites the Community to Explore
10 Years of Habitat Conservation on Property Near Eugene

[EUGENE, ORE.] When you picture re-forestation in Oregon, you might imagine the cool mountains of the Cascades or Coast range. But a different kind of re-forestation has been steadily enhancing native habitat on the Willamette Valley floor for the past 8 years, much closer to Eugene than you may know. With the Living River Celebration: 10 Years on Green Island from 7am to 5pm on Saturday, June 29, the McKenzie River Trust invites the community to explore this special place just 15 minutes from downtown Eugene or Springfield.

Volunteers and local contractors have joined the McKenzie River Trust to plant more than 80,000 native trees and shrubs on Green Island since 2006 in an effort to restore the floodplain forest. Come see this special place during the Living River Celebration on Saturday, June 29 from 7am to 5pm. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

Directions to Green Island and the full day’s schedule of events can be found at http://mckenzieriver.org/events/living-river/.

Green Island is located at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers just west of Coburg, OR. Since 2006, the McKenzie River Trust has been undertaking an ambitious habitat restoration project on the property, planting tens of thousands of trees, removing barriers to floodplain connectivity, and enhancing side channels of the Willamette and historic McKenzie rivers. The restoration has already provided benefits to Chinook salmon, Red-legged frogs, Western Meadowlarks, and many more native species.

Ten years ago, the McKenzie River Trust was able to purchase 865 acres of land from the Green family, who had a vision for a restored natural area on farmland that was subject to flooding. Funding for the purchase was provided by the Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, Eugene Water and Electric Board, US Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and individual supporters of the Trust.

Green Island is located just west of Coburg, OR at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers. The property is about 15 minutes drive from downtown Eugene or Springfield. For directions visit: http://mckenzieriver.org/events/living-river/#directions

Today, the Green Island habitat complex measures nearly 1,100 acres thanks to additional land transactions that have expanded the conserved area.

The McKenzie River Trust frequently hosts small tours and volunteer events on the land, but for the Living River Celebration on Saturday, June 29, an array of offerings will greet visitors interested in nature. “Many people have helped us plant trees, pull weeds, and learn about this place over the last ten years,” says Joe Moll, McKenzie River Trust Executive Director. “While enjoying a walkabout, music, canoeing, tree climbing, and a picnic beside two of our community’s great rivers at the Living River Celebration, you can see some of the changes that have occurred thanks to that support, and help us
think about the next ten years of work to be done.”

The Living River Celebration is sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. The event is free and family friendly. Gates will open at 7am and close at 5pm. The full day of activities on the land includes:

  • Exploring nearly 7 miles of trails. Points of interest throughout the Island will tell the story of this special place where wildflowers bloom, salmon hide, turtles bask, and volunteers plant trees, restoring the floodplain forest.
  • Free guided walks all day. Choices include: early morning Bird Walks, an Ethnobotany Walk, two Green Island Restoration Tours, an Amphibian and Reptile Walk with Dr. Tom Titus, a Dragonfly & Damselfly Walk with Cary Kerst, a Nature Tour with Bruce Newhouse and Peg Boulay, and a Native Plant and Herb Walk with Mountain Rose Herbs.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking: Explore a bit of a historic McKenzie River channel on the water. Try paddling a canoe or kayak for free, offered by Oregon Paddle Sports.
  • Tree Climbing: Get a bird’s-eye view by climbing up into a cedar tree with the experts from the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute.
  • Music: The Blue McKenzie (11am-12pm) acoustic trio returns to Green Island. Then from 1-3pm, The Whiskey Chasers will bring their bluegrass-old-time-country, grassytonk-dance-stomp to the stage.
  • Oakshire Brewing will join in the celebration by serving their Watershed IPA. Through Oakshire’s 1% for Watersheds program, the brewery is donating 1% of all sales of Watershed IPA in the Southern Willamette Valley in 2013 to the McKenzie River Trust.
  • Food: Sammitch Food Cart will serve up their unique local fare. So Delicious Dairy Free will also be giving away frozen treats. Or you can bring your own picnic. You can also fill up your water bottle with fresh water from McKenzie Mist.
  • Booths: Learn about the history of Green Island, the work of the McKenzie River Trust, partner organizations and lots more at The Hub’s educational booths. Booths include: McKenzie River Trust; McKenzie Watershed Council; Long Tom Watershed Council; Siuslaw Watershed Council; Middle Fork Watershed Council; Mountain Rose Herbs; Eugene Water and Electric Board; Terra Tech; McKenzie River History with the University of Oregon Environmental Leadership Program and McKenzie River Mobile Museum; Hands-On Nature with David Walp’s amazing touch & feel mammal specimen collection; and Karma’s Forest Native Nursery with examples of the native plants used to restore Green Island’s habitat.

For more information about the Living River Celebration, visit: http://mckenzieriver.org/events/living-river/.

About the McKenzie River Trust:
The mission of the McKenzie River Trust (MRT) is to protect and care for special lands and the rivers the flow through them in western Oregon. Formed in 1989, MRT is committed to a future in which intact, functioning ecosystems provide clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and productive natural landscapes throughout western Oregon. In the year 2000, MRT expanded its service area from a focus solely on the McKenzie watershed, the source of Eugene and Springfield’s drinking water. Today, MRT works in the watersheds of the McKenzie, Long Tom, Upper Willamette, Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette, Umpqua, Siuslaw, and coastal streams and lakes from Reedsport to Yachats. Throughout its history, MRT has worked with landowners and diverse partnerships to protect, forever, over 3,650 acres of special lands in western Oregon. Green Island, a 1,100-acre property at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, is MRT’s largest protected property.

# # #

New boot scrubbing kiosk installed at the Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Ryan Ruggiero, Land Protection Manager for the McKenzie River Trust, and Kolton Baldree, the Walton Eagle Scout who build the new boot scrubbing kiosk at the Coyote Spencer Wetlands.

Eagle Scout completes volunteer service project on
Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Kolton and his dad and brother finalize the installation of the kiosk.


Kolton Baldree of Walton, a sophomore at Elmira High School, recently completed his community service project for his Eagle Scout ranking, the highest ranking attainable in the Boy Scouting program. Kolton constructed a boot scrubbing kiosk at the Coyote Spencer Wetlands (CSW), a botanically rich landscape acquired by the McKenzie River Trust in 2012. In order to help limit weeds on the property, the boot scrubber will enable site managers, conservation partners, and public tour participants to scrub weed seeds from their footwear as they walk onto the site.

A community member donated the materials for the project, and Kolton has been working on it for the past few months. On Wednesday, Kolton completed the installation of the interpretive sign that teaches people the value of cleaning their shoes and the importance of doing so on a property like the Coyote Spencer Wetlands.

The CSW contains over 300 species of plants, more than half of which are native and several of which are very rare, including suncups, federally-endangered Bradshaw’s lomatium, Hitchcock’s blue-eyed grass, and thin-leaved peavine. MRT is managing the property for these and other native plant species.

Historically, the property was grazed, and several pasture grasses, notably meadow foxtail, now dominate the meadow areas. MRT is working to reverse the dominance of introduced species through annual mowing and other measures. One factor that will continue to influence how healthy native plant communities are in the meadow areas is the introduction of weed seed. More weeds means less light, water, and soil nutrients will be available for native species.

The boot scrubbing kiosk will help reduce the weed seed being brought into the site over time, increasing the chances that the CSW will be a haven for native plant species and the wildlife species that depend on them.

On behalf of the McKenzie River Trust board, staff, partners and supporters – A huge thanks to Kolton for making this project happen, for contributing something of tremendous value to the property’s conservation value, and for building the Trust’s first-ever boot scrubbing kiosk!

If you’d like to see the new kiosk, join us on our upcoming Bird Tour of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands on Saturday, May 4th or Native Plant Tour on Saturday, May 11th.

Matching Gift Challenge Now Through April 30

Mountain Rose Herbs offers $5,000 Gift Challenge

Mountain Rose Herbs volunteering on Green Island. Photo by Brandi Ferguson.


We have exciting news to share: we’re kicking off a month-long Matching Gift Challenge offered by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs.

There’s no better time to give. From April 1st through 30th, every dollar you donate to the McKenzie River Trust will be matched dollar for dollar up to $5,000 by Mountain Rose Herbs! Your donation today will help protect and care for our surrounding lands and rivers for future generations of Oregonians.

And we’ve got another very special offer this month: if you donate $100 or more, you’ll receive our new MRT Water Bottle. It’s clear so you can see the pristine McKenzie River water inside!

Double Your Impact Now!

Don’t miss out on this limited opportunity to have your gift DOUBLED by
Mountain Rose Herbs!

Click here to donate now!

Or mail a check to:
McKenzie River Trust
1245 Pearl St
Eugene, OR 97401

Thank you for your support of the McKenzie River Trust! You’re helping to protect and care for the lands that cradle our rivers and streams. What better way to show you love the special places that surround us.

Thankful for… you!

Giving Thanks

A few reasons why we are thankful this season…

Joe Moll, Executive Director
I’m thankful for waterfowl at sunrise, fresh blueberries for a mid-morning snack, an afternoon nap beneath gold quaking aspen, an evening hatch on the river, and an owl’s call at lights-out, each and every day.

Charlie Ward, Board President
I am most thankful this year and throughout my long association with MRT for the collaborative approach this organization takes to accomplish its work. People from varied backgrounds, income levels, and political views working together to move us to a more sustainable landscape. How refreshing on the heals of this election season!

Jodi Lemmer, Land Steward
My job involves land restoration, care, respect for, and continued maintenance, of our conserved lands. I’m thankful that every day I get to interact with these special lands and the very special people who share this stewardship ethic and help us carry out our mission.

Ryan Ruggiero, Land Protection Manager
Landowners who are dedicated to their land and its future compel me to bring my best effort to my work each day. I am continually inspired that they can look both backward and forward and consider the legacy they want to leave for both past and future generations. It is truly humbling to be a part of something with such endurance.

Chris Vogel, Green Island Project Manager
The Willamette Valley floodplain is always active. I am thankful to work in a setting where I regularly witness gravel bar formations, seasonal flooding, and migrations of fish and wildlife. Green Island looks different to me every time I set foot on the ground, and MRT continues to grow our support and partnerships. Together, we have great opportunities to strengthen the Green Island project.

Brandi Ferguson, Development Manager
From volunteers to local businesses, from fly fisherman to birders, colleagues and partners to our very committed supporters – when I come to work each day I am surrounded by a community of individuals who inspire me. People that are passionate about the same things I am, helping to preserve the remarkable landscapes and waterways that surround us. I was born here. I used to take living here for granted, but I have come to realize how fortunate I truly am.

Liz Lawrence, Director of Resources
As I bike to work each day beside the rushing waters of our valley’s namesake river, I’m often reminded that we live in one of the most amazing places on the planet. I’m grateful to all of you who join us on the ground to see firsthand how your donations help protect the lands and waters that nourish our communities.

Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, Willamette Program Manager
I am continually moved by the dedication and land ethic of the private landowners we get to work with at the McKenzie River Trust. I am so thankful for the trust and relationships we have formed with these unique people.

Dane Moeggenberg, Stewardship Technician
I am thankful that there is an organization devoted to the protection of lands and rivers in Western Oregon. I am thankful that I am physically able to perform my stewardship duties. I am thankful for the people that I work with, the knowledge I am gaining, and the network of support in the area.

Most of all, we are thankful for you!

Your support is critical to protect and care for special lands in our region.

If you are on our mailing list, you will soon receive a letter asking for your donation. Inside the envelope, you will also find a small token of our appreciation. To provide a head-start to our year-end fundraising campaign, you can GIVE NOW through our secure online server.

We are thankful to have supporters who are so committed to our local land conservation work. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you!

Landowners donate 91-acre forest easement

"Our vision for Woodpecker Ridge is not to have it just be a wild refuge," says landowner Max Gessert, who recently worked with his wife Kate to donate a conservation easement to the McKenzie River Trust. "We also want the forest to be a place where humans can be part of the land."

As you walk through the forest and farmland protected in the Woodpecker Ridge Conservation Easement near Crow, mature conifer trees tower above while your feet squish into the rich floodplain of Trout Creek. Passing tall oak groves, you reach a small wetland. A flock of sheep grazes in the farm fields. It’s easy to see why Kate and Max Gessert wanted to protect this special place.

Kate, an English as a Second Language teacher at Lane Community College, and Max, an artist and writer, donated a 91-acre conservation easement to the McKenzie River Trust in May. Grant funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act helped pay for some of the transaction expenses.

Landowners Kate and Max Gessert.

After living on 20 acres of the property for a few years, the Gesserts learned that the second-growth forest next door was owned by a timber company and about to be cut, so they bought it. “We first talked with the McKenzie River Trust about an easement about 10 years ago,” says Max. “We wanted to protect the land, but there were some staff changes and it was easy to put off. Many years went by. Then I was diagnosed with cancer, and suddenly, all kinds of issues became foregrounded. We began thinking about lots of things we had considered before that hadn’t been finished.”

Red-legged frogs, pileated woodpeckers, yellow-breasted chat and other sensitive fish and wildlife species are likely to benefit from the land’s protection. In keeping with the Gesserts’ Forest Stewardship Certification of the land, the easement allows for limited, sustainable forest harvest.

Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, MRT’s Willamette Program Manager, emphasizes that customized legal agreements can meet landowner needs while protecting critical habitat. “In working with Kate and Max to develop this easement, I learned how much this forest means to them,” says Nicole. “Conservation easements are as unique as the landscapes they protect, and we’re grateful that future wildlife and people will coexist on Woodpecker Ridge and be protected.”

Here at the McKenzie River Trust, we are also grateful to you, our supporters, for your help in bringing conservation agreements like this one to life.

“There are many ways we all try to take care of the world,” says Kate. “But it’s hard to know which ones will work. This seemed like something effective we could do.”

Railroad Island Now Protected!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 3, 2012

Contacts: Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, Willamette Program Manager: nicole (at) mckenzieriver.org
Liz Lawrence, Operations Manager: llawrence (at) mckenzieriver.org
541-345-2799

McKenzie River Trust Protects Railroad Island

Land Trust Purchases 63-Acre Island in the Willamette River Near Harrisburg

Railroad Island, a 63-acre dynamic floodplain property in the Willamette River south of Harrisburg recently purchased by the McKenzie River Trust. Accessible only by boat, the Island is blanketed with cottonwood and ash forest, gravel bars, and backchannel sloughs, making it prime habitat for native fish and wildlife. Photo by Raptorviews by Philip Bayles: psb@efn.org.

(EUGENE, OR) Landowners Wayne and Pam Swango have sold a 63-acre island in the Willamette River south of Harrisburg to the nonprofit McKenzie River Trust (MRT). The land trust’s purchase of the property, now called Railroad Island, protects critical fish and wildlife habitat along a dynamic stretch of the Willamette.

Landowners Wayne and Pam Swango have roots in the area going back to the 1800s.

“Living along the river can sometimes be a challenge,” Wayne Swango says, acknowledging the river’s impact on his daily life. “We’ve lost some sheep that were stranded in high water. And part of our property is eroding – the river gives and takes whatever it wants to.”

It was partly this recognition of the river as a powerful and occasionally unpredictable force that caused the Swangos, who have roots in the area going back to the 1800s, to sell the 63-acre island. The Swangos own, live on, and farm an additional 200 acres on the east side of the river.

Railroad Island, named after the railroad bridge that crosses the land’s downstream end, is exceptional habitat for native fish and wildlife. With a network of complex gravel bars, side channels, and sloughs on the mainstem Willamette, Railroad Island is a refuge for Chinook salmon, steelhead, and migratory birds. As a natural area, the Island can also absorb high flows and lessen the impact of floodwaters.

The purchase of Railroad Island extends MRT’s conservation lands in the upper Willamette River basin. The property is several miles downstream of Green Island, a 1,000+ acre complex of fish and wildlife habitat that MRT has been restoring since 2005. In recent years, partners across Oregon have worked together to promote conservation along the Willamette. The statewide focus on the river in our own backyard attracted the attention of the Meyer Memorial Trust, and they awarded MRT a grant for pre-acquisition costs through the Willamette River Initiative. The Bonneville Power Administration contributed the additional funds for MRT to buy Railroad Island.

“Bonneville Power Administration funding helps fulfill an agreement that the State of Oregon made in 2010 to protect nearly 17,000 acres of Willamette Basin wildlife habitat,” says Lorri Bodi, the Bonneville Power Administration’s Vice President for Environment, Fish and Wildlife. “The agreement dedicates stable funding from electric ratepayers for 15 years to safeguard Willamette habitat for native species, supporting state efforts to protect the Willamette Basin and fulfilling BPA’s responsibility under the Northwest Power Act to offset the impacts of federal flood control and hydropower dams.”

Land trust accomplishments are often measured in the number of acres protected. But for Railroad Island, that may not be the best way to gauge success. “Railroad Island is a place for fish and wildlife where the dynamic river can move around without causing harm or loss of livelihood,” says Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, MRT’s Willamette Program Manager. “Gravel bars and floodplain forests provide a buffer from where people are trying to live or farm. That’s part of what makes this such a great conservation project.”

With the addition of Railroad Island, the McKenzie River Trust now owns 1,827 acres of land in western Oregon and has permanently protected an additional 1,830 acres with conservation easements. The Eugene-based land trust was founded in 1989.

#####

From Blackberries to Native Trees

Floodplain Restoration Continues on Green Island

Contractors have been hard at work on the south end of Green Island this month. Bulldozers, excavators, and large trucks removed four berms that limited the flow of high water onto the interior of the property. Within years, native grasses, incense cedar, Douglas fir, and ponderosa pine will fill an area that was once covered in blackberry vines and reed canary grass.

MRT is undertaking this work on the higher floodplain near side channels and sloughs of the Willamette River to allow for seasonal connections that have been prevented by these berms.

Before and after views of an area where 4-foot tall berms were removed on Green Island. The berms were covered in blackberry vines and reed canary grass, and their removal makes way for planting native grasses and trees.

Active floodplains can provide many benefits to people, fish and wildlife, and they’re key to maintaining the qualities that define our Oregon landscapes. Floodplains clean water by filtering it through many layers of gravel and sediment, and they can buffer flooding impacts on downstream areas.

Floodplain side channels and sloughs also create spawning and rearing habitat for endangered salmon. Studies on Green Island completed by Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife show that Oregon chub, Chinook salmon, and other native fish use these channels throughout many phases of their lifecycles. Floodplain forests, once abundant along the Willamette River, also harbor sensitive birds, amphibians such as red legged-frogs, and reptiles like western pond turtles.

Since 2005, MRT has been working to re-establish floodplain forest habitat for fish and wildlife by removing man-made obstructions and planting over 300 acres of Green Island with native trees, shrubs, and grasses. Local farmers, hundreds of volunteers, and dozens of local contractors have been involved in restoration efforts on the 1,000+ acre property just downstream of the confluence of the McKenzie and the Willamette rivers.

The berms removed this month were originally built 20-40 years ago to reduce flooding on farm fields. The 3,500 cubic yards of sandy loam dirt that was removed will be reused in the Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project (CARP). The former gravel mines at CARP along the eastern edge of Green Island will also be restored to native habitat in the coming years.

In recent years, habitat restoration projects at Green Island have been supported by grants from the Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Meyer Memorial Trust. Individual donations also support our restoration efforts at Green Island and on the other properties we protect throughout western Oregon.  For more information about Green Island, visit: http://mckenzieriver.org/protected-lands/owned-properties/green-island

Ties to the Land

Seminar Explores Conservation Easements in Succession Planning

Kate and Max Gessert, who protected their forest near the town of Crow with a conservation easement, will speak during the seminar about their experience working with the McKenzie River Trust to permanently protect their land.

Passing your family’s land on to the next generation is a process with financial, legal, and emotional dimensions. It’s an essential – but often overlooked – element of estate planning.

Oregon State University Extension Service and the McKenzie River Trust are offering a special session of the Ties to the Land succession planning program on Saturday, October 20 from 9am to 12pm to help families learn about conservation easements as an element of estate planning.

About the seminar

Willamette Program Manager Nicole Nielsen-Pincus will co-present a free seminar on conservation easements on Saturday, October 20.

Conservation easements are a valuable tool for landowners who would like to protect their land for future generations, and they can also be an important tool in helping landowners pass their land on to another generation. This 3 hour session will give a brief introduction to basic conceptual and legal underpinnings of easements, their scope, flexibility, and the types of organizations that hold conservation easements. Then, we will look at a local example with Nicole Nielsen-Pincus of the McKenzie River Trust. Nicole will discuss the McKenzie River Trust’s mission, the conservation opportunities the organization seeks, and how MRT works with private landowners to explore and establish an easement. Finally, local conservation easement landowners Kate and Max Gessert will share their thoughts on the process. We will conclude with a facilitated discussion.

Please join us for an informative presentation and engaging discussion about conservation easements and succession planning.

Details

When: Saturday, October 20 from 9 am to 12 pm
Where:
Willamalane Community Center, Heron Room, 250 S. 32nd St., Springfield, Oregon (just south of Main St. near ODF Eastern Lane)
Cost & Registration: This class if FREE, but pre-registration is required. To register, please email Jody Einerson (jody.einerson@oregonstate.edu) or call the Benton County Extension Office (541) 766-6750.

Restoration Makes Dollars and Cents

Enhancing habitat can help build the local economy

Ecotrust recently released a report – supported in part by NOAA – concluding that restoration projects in Oregon generated $977.5 million in economic activity and as many as 6,483 jobs between 2001 and 2010. For a local example, look no further than the McKenzie River Trust and Siuslaw Watershed Council‘s (SWC) Waite Ranch Tidal Wetland Restoration Project, located on the Siuslaw River near Mapleton.

MRT recently awarded a $22,000 contract to Leisure Excavating Inc., a local company based in Florence, for work on the Waite Ranch project. Leisure Excavating owner Gary Rose and his team are removing aging infrastructure on the property to make way for the re-establishment of 211 acres of tidal wetland habitat near Highway 126, important habitat for coastal coho, Chinook and chum salmon, steelhead, and sea-run cutthroat trout. The SWC has also received contracts and secured grant funding for the Waite Ranch project, enabling them to hire new project management staff and work with local and regional businesses.

Healthy estuary habitat is often described as a nursery for economically important fish and other marine creatures. Not only is local economic benefit being provided now through these contracts and the resulting jobs, but in the future, the Siuslaw and coastal recreational and commercial fishing industries could benefit from the habitat improvements.

The first few buildings have already come down.  You can learn more about Waite Ranch and track the latest developments by visiting: http://mckenzieriver.org/protected-lands/owned-properties/waite-ranch/

Thank you to the Waite Ranch Tidal Wetland Restoration Project funders:

  • NOAA Fisheries Service, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and Ecotrust – Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – Restoration & Enhancement program
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service – North American Wetlands Conservation Act
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation – Oregon Governor’s Fund for the Environment
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board – Technical Assistance grant program
  • Siuslaw Watershed Council
  • Individual supporters of the McKenzie River Trust and Siuslaw Watershed Council

Willamette Weed Removal Project is Underway

McKenzie River Trust is a Key Partner in the Effort to Remove Ivy Infestations

As people from Eugene/Springfield take to the Willamette River on hot afternoons this summer, they might get a glimpse at an innovative partnership that’s cleaning up some familiar Lane County boat landings and private lands.

Six non-profit organizations and public agencies are working together to remove key infestations of invasive English ivy and other weeds, and the results may be noticeable to area boaters, anglers, and those enjoying a swim or float down the river.

Crews from the Northwest Youth Corps are at the center of the weed removal efforts along the Willamette this month. High school students, led by trained crew leaders, are pulling and digging out ivy on Hileman Landing County Park and several state parks including Christensen’s Boat Ramp, Marshall Island Boat Ramp, and Beacon Landing. The crews are also working on Green Island, owned by the McKenzie River Trust, and other private lands nearby.

“English ivy is present throughout the Willamette River corridor, and it is contributing to the loss of floodplain forest by smothering native ground vegetation and choking trees,” said Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, Willamette Program Manager for the McKenzie River Trust and a coordinator of the multi-partner effort. “We’re lucky to have a great river to enjoy right in our backyard, and the areas of floodplain forest and back water channels provide essential habitat for native Chinook salmon, western pond turtles, migratory birds and other species of concern. That’s why these conservation efforts are so important.”

Due to disturbances from flood events and recreational use of waterways, river corridors are especially vulnerable to the establishment of ivy and other weeds. Rivers such as the Willamette are a pathway for the spread of weeds, making early detection and response essential.

A grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Oregon Governor’s Fund for the Environment is providing funding for the six partners to do outreach and education and offer technical assistance to 16 public and private landowners. Funding was also provided by the Oregon Department of State Lands and Lane County. The Long Tom Watershed Council and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are providing technical support and on-the-ground assistance. The total project will cost about $52,000.

“This is a great partnership that brings together not only diverse organizations, but also private citizens and local youth,” said Scott Youngblood, a Park Ranger with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and another project leader. “The result of this work will be immediately noticeable to recreational users of these river front properties.”

Along with ivy, other weeds that will be targeted for removal include purple loosestrife, Japanese knotweed, and traveler’s joy.  “The target species in this project are capable of dramatic growth, and their removal will both benefit floodplain habitat and increase the scenic qualities Oregonians have come to love along the Willamette River,” Youngblood said.

The partnership intends to continue on-the-ground work through 2013, with the Long Tom Watershed Council and McKenzie River Trust doing outreach to private landowners to identify additional project sites this year. Willamette River landowners with a significant invasion of invasive species who would like to learn more about the project are invited to call Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, Willamette Program Manager with the McKenzie River Trust at 541-345-2799.

An article about these efforts appeared in the August 2, 2012 issue of the Register-Guard newspaper. Read the article.

2011 Annual Report Available Now

Annual report highlights:

  • Ferguson Creek Conservation Easement established in the Long Tom Watershed – 62 acres of meandering streamside habitat protected.
  • $1.01 million in grants and contracts secured for land conservation projects by MRT staff.
  • Continued restoration on Green Island, including planting more than 5,300 native trees to restore the floodplain forest.
  • A 21% increase in the number of people who made a donation to MRT from 2010 to 2011.

Read the full report on our Annual Report page, or download a pdf (2 MB).

The health of our local communities is reflected in the health of the natural areas that surround us. Thank you for your donations to support land conservation in western Oregon!

If you have any questions about our Annual Report, please contact our office at 541-345-2799.

Connect With the Land

Connect with the Land

Guided tours and volunteer days on the land are a great way to explore new places and connect with the special lands your donations help to protect. We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!

Volunteer on Green Island!

Monday July 16 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Get your boots on the ground and your hands dirty volunteering with the McKenzie River Trust’s Green Island Project Manager Chris Vogel. Help care for this unique site. You’ll mulch trees that need protection from the summer heat while learning more about habitat restoration.

Dazzling Dragonflies! Family-friendly tour of Green Island

Friday July 20 from 9 am to 12 pm

What has two pairs of wings, lives near the water, and eats mosquitoes? A dragonfly! Join Steve Gordon and Cary Kerst for a family-oriented dragonfly and damselfly tour of Green Island.

Dragonfly Field Course on Green Island

Friday July 20 from 1 to 4 pm

Join dragonfly experts Steven Gordon and Cary Kerst for an afternoon field course on dragonflies and damselflies. Learn about the life cycle, preferred habitat, and behavior of these fascinating creatures who call Green Island home.

Lower Siuslaw Kayak Tour

Saturday July 28 from 8:30 am to 3 pm

Explore Waite Ranch and the Duncan Island Conservation Easement, conservation lands protected by the McKenzie River Trust between Florence and Mapleton, from a kayak. We’ll spend the day on the Siuslaw Estuary, led by an expert guide from Oregon Paddle Sports. Good physical condition and moderate kayaking experience is required.

Volunteer on Green Island!

Wednesday, August 22 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Get your boots on the ground and your hands dirty volunteering with the McKenzie River Trust’s Green Island Stewardship Technician Dane Moeggenberg and Project Manager Chris Vogel. Help care for this unique site. You’ll build browse protectors for trees planted in the northeast section of the island near the historic McKenzie River channel.

Eugene Celebration Parade

Saturday, August 25  

The Eugene Celebration brings out the best in town, and once again, the McKenzie River Trust will march in the Parade with our giant paper-mache fish! Contact Liz if you’d like to march with us.

Links to these and other events where you’ll find the McKenzie River Trust are always available on our Events page.

Running for the River

A Washington DC man runs a marathon and raises money in memory of his step-father

A fundraiser in memory of river-lover Timmy O’Grady, pictured here at center, continues through July 31. Timmy is shown here rafting the McKenzie.

Steven Putansu was looking for a way to memorialize his step-father, who died last summer after a sudden and short illness. Timmy O’Grady was only 52 years old.

“I wanted to do something good in his name,” Steven said.

“Timmy truly loved spending time in the woods, being in nature, and getting that fresh Oregon air. When he and my mom moved to live along the McKenzie, Timmy felt he’d accomplished his life’s dream.”

Steven, who lives in Washington DC, decided to run the Foot Traffic Flat marathon in Oregon in memory of his step-father on July 4, 2012, near the one year anniversary of Timmy’s death. “People run marathons for causes all the time, so I thought I could turn this into something to remember Timmy.” Through a google search, Steven found the McKenzie River Trust. “It was a perfect fit. Timmy wasn’t an environmentalist, but he loved being outside, getting lost in the woods, and he loved the river. What he would want with every fiber of his being was that this land and this river would stay as it is for as long as it could.”

Steven began training for the marathon in February while working full time and writing his PhD dissertation in Public Administration. He’s been keeping a blog about his training runs and sharing memories of Timmy. “When I’ve got a story about Timmy in my mind, the blog is a good way to get that out,” says Steven. “Running relieves some of the stress and reduces the sadness, too.”

“Timmy was probably my most important role model. He was a truck driver, one of the best drivers out there, and one of 14 siblings. I haven’t followed exactly in his footsteps, but my whole life I’ve tried to emulate the man Timmy was.”

On July 9, 2012, Steven Putansu, second from right, and his family planted a native Oregon ash tree at the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. The tree, planted for Timmy O'Grady, will serve as a living memorial.

Steven has raised $2,829 for the McKenzie River Trust, exceeding his goal of $100 for every mile of the marathon. “When it comes down to it,” Steven said, “Timmy loved just being near the river.” Now Steven’s efforts and the donations of his friends and family will help protect and care for the place that Timmy cherished.

Update: Steven completed the marathon in 4:20. On July 9, 2012, the one year anniversary of Timmy’s death, Steven and his family planted a native Oregon ash tree at the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. The tree will serve as a living memory to Timmy. Steven will continue accepting donations for his fundraiser through July 31 at http://www.active.com/donate/McKenzieRiverTrust/R4R

Visit Steven’s running blog: runningfortheriver.blogspot.com

Would you like to run a marathon for land conservation like Steven?

Or maybe you’re celebrating an anniversary, planning a wedding, or would like to honor someone special by raising money in their name. With your own online fundraising page, it’s easy to reach out to family and friends. We can help. For more information, contact Brandi Ferguson, Development Manager: 541-345-2799 or brandi@mckenzieriver.org.

Two new faces

Staff Update

With the buzz of bees and dragonflies, birds fledging, and the native plants (and weeds, too) growing like mad, we know that spring is just about behind us! Just days away from summer solstice, we’re very excited to welcome two new faces around the office and our protected lands.

Robin Meacher – Legal Intern

Robin joins us this summer to research legal issues and tools the McKenzie River Trust uses to achieve our conservation goals. She will begin her second year as a law student at the University of Oregon in the fall. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Between her undergraduate work and law school, Robin studied resource management and anthropology in the Solomon Islands, and worked with a community organization focused on citizen engagement in the land use process in Santa Barbara. Having grown up in Northeastern California and spending the last six years in Southern California, Robin uses whatever spare time she gets exploring Oregon.

Dane Moeggenberg – Summer Field Technician

Dane will spend the summer working on Green Island, assisting with stewardship of the more than 1,000 acres of floodplain restoration there. Dane has a bachelor’s degree in Freshwater Resource Management from Indiana University. He has been working in land management for about two years: first as a Conservation Technician in Traverse City, Michigan, then as a Crew Supervisor with Lane-Metro Youth Corps here in Eugene. He enjoys cooking, hiking, and exploring Oregon on his motorcycle. He has a passion for the protection and enhancement of freshwater ecosystems and is very excited to be with the Trust this summer.

McKenzie River Trust staff featured in Eugene Magazine

Ryan Ruggiero recently celebrated 4 years as the McKenzie River Trust Land Protection Manager.

Our Land Protection Manager, Ryan Ruggiero, has been teaching an Introduction to Wetlands class for the University of Oregon Department of Landscape Architecture this term. Journalist Suzi Steffen joined Ryan and his class on a field trip to the Coyote Spencer Wetlands in April to learn more about the property, wetlands, and Ryan’s history with the UO.

Here’s the resulting article from the Summer issue of Eugene Magazine.

Click on the image to view a high-resolution pdf of the article from the Summer 2012 issue of Eugene Magazine.

Grant awards support land conservation throughout the region

The McKenzie River Trust's 216-acre Waite Ranch on the Lower Siuslaw River between Florence and Mapleton will be the site of future tidal wetland restoration. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

Four recent grants secured by the McKenzie River Trust will support the next phase of our conservation efforts in the Upper Willamette and Siuslaw watersheds.

In the Upper Willamette, grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust support our continued work with landowners along the Mainstem of the Willamette River and its tributaries, including the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette, the Long Tom and the Lower McKenzie.

Willamette Program Manager Nicole Nielsen-Pincus will lead the McKenzie River Trust's role in the Willamette Stewardship Project partnership, which will work to remove invasive weeds on public and private land on the mainstem of the Willamette River this summer. The project was funded in part by a grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Oregon Governor's Fund for the Environment.

A National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant of $24,989 through the Oregon Governor’s Fund for the Environment offers support for a group of partners, including MRT, to remove invasive weeds that threaten floodplain habitats along the Willamette. Nonprofit and public agencies including MRT, the Long Tom Watershed Council, Lane County, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the Northwest Youth Corps, and the Oregon Department of State Lands will work with both private and public landowners to map and remove highly invasive Japanese knotweed, English ivy, traveler’s joy, and purple loosestrife along the river. Youth crews will learn valuable job and life skills while accomplishing habitat restoration when they work on Green Island and neighboring properties this summer. We’ll keep you updated on the weed removal progress by posting photos on our Facebook page.

A 2-year, $133,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust’s Willamette River Initiative provides support for MRT staff to continue to get out the door and talk with private landowners about conservation and stewardship opportunities on their properties. The funds also support ongoing work at Green Island, which will enter its 9th year of restoration in 2013. The Willamette River Initiative website provides more details.

The McKenzie River Trust also received two grants to support tidal wetland restoration in the Siuslaw River Estuary. Awards from the Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) will support the next steps toward re-developing an intact tidal estuary on the McKenzie River Trust’s Waite Ranch property between Florence and Mapleton.

Ecotrust, a Portland-based nonprofit, awarded a $61,750 grant to MRT as part of a multi-partner program called the Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative (WWRI). The grant will fund the removal of aging infrastructure and decommissioning of septic tanks on the 216-acre Waite Ranch property.

A $75,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s NAWCA program will support the engineering analysis of Waite Ranch, which will inform the restoration design. This work paves the way for the re-establishment of tidal flow and productive wetlands on the property.

We expect that the long-term restoration efforts of the Waite Ranch Tidal Wetland Restoration project partners, including MRT and the Siuslaw Watershed Council, will yield approximately 211 acres of restored tidal estuary habitat and ten miles of tidal channels. This work benefits native fish like coastal coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead, and many other sensitive birds and wildlife species. The work also helps further the WWRI goal of providing local jobs and benefits to the local community as the restoration effort proceeds.

Thank you to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Ecotrust, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s NAWCA program for supporting the McKenzie River Trust in our efforts to protect and enhance productive natural landscapes throughout western Oregon.

Native Plant Tour Visits Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Friday, May 25 from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Swampy wetlands cover much of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands property, which is also home to native camas, lomatium, and other iconic plants of the Willamette Valley. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

The extensive, intact wetland habitats of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands are home to an impressive variety of native plants. Learn more about them during our upcoming guided tour of the 161-acre property near Eugene.

Join the McKenzie River Trust and Native Plant Society of Oregon for a tour of native flora on the Coyote Spencer Wetlands. We’ll explore late-blooming wildflowers in the emergent wetlands and wet prairie fields, and the understories of the extensive oak and ash forests. As time allows, we’ll visit populations of several rare and sensitive plant that are present on this site, including Bradshaw’s lomatium and Oregon peavine. Located just 5 miles southwest of Hwy 126, upstream of Fern Ridge Reservoir, this protected property is a conservation jewel in Eugene’s backyard.

Register here for Native Plants of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Rockclimber Stanhope’s talk at Backcountry Gear benefits McKenzie River Trust

Backcountry Gear Presents: Will Stanhope

Friday, May 4th at Backcountry Gear

Doors: 6:30 pm Show: 8:00 pm
1855 W. 2nd Ave. Eugene
$10 general admission / $5 students

We’re excited – stoked, even – to announce that Backcountry Gear will be presenting a talk by renowned rockclimber Will Stanhope. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the McKenzie River Trust’s work to protect and care for the special landscapes that surround us right here in western Oregon. Please join us!

 

Thank you for supporting local land conservation!

Mountain Rose Herbs owners and employees volunteer on Green Island with Project Manager Chris Vogel. The support of donors and volunteers like you is critical to our work protecting and caring for special lands in western Oregon.

Thank you supporters!

With your support, we raised over $21,500 during the March Matching Gift Campaign offered by Mountain Rose Herbs!

We greatly appreciate your participation in the Matching Gift Campaign. We could not have met the match without you! This campaign helps to fund our operating budget. The critical dollars you gave during March allow our staff to get out the door to meet with local landowners and to write grant applications for the large grant dollars needed to protect and restore the unique landscapes that surround us.

We also want to offer a big THANK YOU to our loyal supporters at Mountain Rose Herbs for supporting our local land conservation work in so many ways and for investing in our community!

“Our cultural heritage would be amiss without the rapture and the delight that pure rivers provide and thankfully we have organizations like the McKenzie River Trust to protect this cultural heritage born of water, rock and fish.” – Shawn Donnille, owner and Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs

Connect with the Land

Connect with the Land

Get outside! Our guided tours are a great way to learn about the natural world, meet our staff and Board members, and experience the McKenzie River Trust’s protected landscapes for yourself. Tours are guided by community experts in natural history, native plants, birds, and other areas of interest, along with McKenzie River Trust staff. Tours are free, and they’re open to friends old and new. Please join us by signing up today!

Upcoming Tours

Saturday, April 28, 1 – 4pm: Spring at Hollyer Prairie
Saturday, May 5, 10am – 2pm: Native Plants of the Lower McKenzie
Thursday, May 17, 8am – 11am: Birds of Green Island
Saturday, May 19, 9am – 12pm: Picturing Birds and Buds – Photo Tour of the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area

Tours are generally limited to 15 people, and they often fill quickly! If a tour is full, please contact Liz at 541-345-2799 or llawrence (at) mckenzieriver.org and we will gladly add you to the wait list.

For volunteer opportunities, community events, and other ways to get involved with the McKenzie River Trust, visit our Events page.

 

Picturing Birds and Buds: Photo Tour

Saturday, May 19th from 9am to 12pm

Grab your camera! This springtime tour of the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area‘s farm fields and floodplain forest offers something for photographers of all levels. From the birds overhead, to the flowers blooming at your feet, to pastoral farm fields and the flowing backwater channels of the McKenzie River, this 92-acre landscape will give you plenty to explore and enjoy. Your camera is welcome on any of our tours, but this one will provide a special chance to get the perfect shot. Your pictures will show a landscape at the intersection of conservation and farming. (more…)

Native Plants of the Lower McKenzie

Saturday, May 5 from 10am to 2pm

Join the McKenzie River Trust, Native Plant Society of Oregon and Lane County Parks to explore riparian forest and upland prairie plants on a tour of the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area and neighboring Vickery Park. We begin at the Berggren property, touring the farm fields and riparian area with an eye to habitat restoration. Pause for a BYO bag lunch by the McKenzie River, then continue on to the undeveloped and relatively pristine Vickery County Park next door. This riverside park of 80 acres covers a steep, rocky hillside. Diverse habitats include oak savanna and dense forest.

Register here for Native Plants of the Lower McKenzie

Spring at Hollyer Prairie

Saturday, April 28 from 1 to 4pm

The 59-acre Hollyer Prairie Conservation Easement includes many natural wonders: upland and wet prairie, oak savanna and woodland, riparian forest, and even a population of rare lupines!  Come on an afternoon exploration of the property with landowner Helen Hollyer and naturalists Peg Boulay and Bruce Newhouse to uncover some secrets of spring. We’ll look for flowers on the lupines, camas and lomatium in the wetlands, and migrating songbirds in the forest — as well as anything else that catches group interest. This is a unique opportunity to see a wide variety of habitats on private property on upper Camas Swale Creek.

Register here for Spring at Hollyer Prairie

Two Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

We have two great events happening on Earth Day weekend, and we hope you can join us!

Volunteer on Green Island

Saturday, April 21 from 9:30am to 12:30pm

We’re hosting volunteer groups at least once a month on Green Island this spring and summer, and one of our volunteer days happens to fall on Earth Day weekend! Get outside, and do something good for the earth. Help plant and care for native trees and shrubs on our largest protected property on the mainstem of the Willamette River just west of Coburg. Your advance RSVP is requested. Get more information and sign up here.

14th Annual Earth Day Celebration at EWEB’s Rivers Edge Plaza

Saturday, April 21 from 11am to 5pm

We’re once again joining the Earth Day celebration! Visit with MRT staff and Board members, check out maps of the places where we work, and pick up an MRT sticker, bookmark, and a copy of our latest newsletter when you visit our booth.

And join us at 3:20 pm on the main stage, when Oakshire Brewing will present MRT with a check for the proceeds from the sale of three special release Brewer’s Reserve Series Beers developed in 2011. These beers were created to celebrate the Eugene Water and Electric Board‘s centennial year of service providing the clean water that MRT protects and Oakshire uses as a key ingredient in their products. Proceeds from the sales of the beers benefit the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area.

March 22nd: Volunteer on Green Island!

Lend A Hand!

Whether you share our fond memories of large-scale volunteer plantings on Green Island in years past, or you’re a new friend of the McKenzie River Trust and have never had the chance to experience this amazing landscape, we’re excited to invite you to connect with the land.

Get your boots on the ground and your hands dirty as you join your fellow McKenzie River Trust supporters and Chris Vogel, Green Island Project Manager to volunteer.

March 22nd Volunteer Work Party on Green Island
9:30 am to 12:30 pm

RSVP Required. Click here to register.

Located just below the confluence of the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers, Green Island is the McKenzie River Trust’s largest protected property at more than 1,000 acres. Abundant floodplain forest, backwater sloughs, and multiple channels of the mainstem Willamette await you.

Can’t make it on March 22nd? Join us for a volunteer work party on Green Island on Saturday, April 21st or Thursday, May 3rd!


Coyote Spencer Wetlands Protected

McKenzie River Trust Protects Scenic, Regionally Important Wetlands Near Eugene

The Coyote Spencer Wetlands, 161 acres of high functioning wetland habitat in the Long Tom Watershed, were protected by the McKenzie River Trust on March 1, 2012.

(EUGENE, OR) The McKenzie River Trust announces the protection of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, 161 acres of regionally important native habitat about 5 miles southwest of Eugene. The land trust purchased the property to protect its extraordinary wetlands, plant and animal diversity, and the scenic backdrop it provides along Crow Road.

Located where Coyote and Spencer Creeks come together in the Long Tom River Watershed, the Coyote Spencer Wetlands contain over three miles of streams and 158 acres of mixed forest and wet meadows. Its wildflower displays and oak and ash forests also help define a route that has become popular for wine-country driving tours and recreational cyclists.

“The Coyote Spencer Wetlands site has long been identified as a conservation priority by the West Eugene Wetlands Partnership, now expanded as the Rivers to Ridges Partnership,” notes Eric Wold, Natural Resources Manager for the City of Eugene. “The McKenzie River Trust has added to a regional network of protected lands that contribute not only to the health of our ecosystems, but also to the livability of our local communities.”

“Protecting wetlands was a key focus for us in this landscape,” notes McKenzie River Trust Land Protection Manager Ryan Ruggiero, who brokered the acquisition. “Wetlands are integral to healthy ecosystems because they filter sediments from water and provide habitat for numerous fish and wildlife species.” Sometimes called the ‘nurseries of nature’ and compared to coral reefs or rainforests for the diversity of life that they support, wetlands are exceptionally productive ecosystems. Wetlands offer nesting or feeding grounds to more than half of all North American bird species and provide a home for an estimated 31% of all plant species.

Between 1994 and 2005, the Willamette Valley saw a net loss of 3,932 acres of wetlands. In the Long Tom Watershed, a significant percentage of wetlands were historically converted to agricultural use. Large, intact expanses of wetlands, such those that make up the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, are increasingly rare, showing what the historic, pre-European settlement landscape in the Willamette Valley may have looked like. Permanently protecting remaining wetlands like this can enhance stream water quality, buffer floods, and provide an essential home and refuge for an array of native plants and animals. Rare native plants including Bradshaw’s lomatium, Oregon delphinium and thin-leaved peavine have been identified on the property.

The property is also known locally as a well-traveled wildlife corridor where bear, mountain lion, bobcat, deer, and elk have been seen. Sensitive fish and wildlife species also known in the area include vesper sparrow, white-breasted nuthatch, western bluebird, northern harrier, cutthroat trout, red-legged frog, and northwestern pond turtle.

The McKenzie River Trust was uniquely poised to protect the Coyote Spencer Wetlands. “Having a local champion was essential to protect these high-quality wetlands,” notes Dana Hicks of the Oregon Department of State Lands. “The McKenzie River Trust’s long term vision for stewardship will help ensure the wetland values and functions that exist on the land now will continue forever.” The McKenzie River Trust will host public tours and volunteer events on the Coyote Spencer Wetlands property, making it available to local school, university, and research partners as a reference site for education and scientific research into wetland health and restoration.

Since 1989, the McKenzie River Trust has acquired property and voluntary conservation easements through donation or purchase on over 3,500 acres in eight different watersheds across Lane and Douglas Counties. Working with private willing landowners, the nonprofit group takes on the responsibility of ensuring that the land and its conservation values will be protected forever. For more information about the McKenzie River Trust, visit mckenzieriver.org.

Grant funding and project support was provided by Oregon Department of State Lands, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Long Tom Watershed Council, and the Rivers to Ridges Partnership.

Press Contact: Ryan Ruggiero
Land Protection Manager
McKenzie River Trust
541-345-2799
rruggiero@mckenzieriver.org
mckenzieriver.org

Matching Gift Campaign Now Through March 31st

Matching Gift Campaign Now Through March 31st

Join us in celebrating our newest protected landscape with a gift today!

Thanks to you, the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, 161-acres of high functioning wetland habitat in the Long Tom Watershed, were protected on March 1, 2012. The land has long been identified as a conservation priority by the Rivers to Ridges Partnership.

 

Make a tax deductible gift to the McKenzie River Trust during the month of March, and our loyal supporters at Mountain Rose Herbs will match your donation dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000.

Shawn Donnille, co-owner and Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs, volunteers with his staff on Green Island.

 

 

“For Mountain Rose Herbs, our decision to keep our business in Oregon depends on the quality of life offered by nearby clean rivers, wild salmon, diverse forest habitats, and unbridled wild areas. For this reason alone, we must thank the folks at the McKenzie River Trust for making Oregon a lovely place to live and work.”

-Shawn Donnille, co-owner and Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs

Donate now through our secure online server.

During this campaign, any donation of $100 or more will receive our new MRT stainless steel travel mug!

Our newest protected landscape, the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, is a testament to your past gifts. Without generous donations from supporters like you and businesses like Mountain Rose Herbs, we would be unable to continue our local land conservation efforts. Help us meet this matching gift challenge by making a gift by March 31st.

Make a tax-deductible gift right now through our secure online server.

Or mail your donation – postmarked by March 31st – to:
1245 Pearl St
Eugene OR 97401

A huge THANK YOU to Shawn Donnille and Julie Bailey, the owners of Mountain Rose Herbs, for their ongoing commitment and dedication to local land conservation!

Welcome to Our New Website!

Dear Visitor,

Thanks for your interest in the McKenzie River Trust! We recently updated the look and feel of our website, as well as the organization of information to make it more accessible to you. We’ve been hard at work to make the site more user-friendly and accessible. New content is being added every day.

Please let us know what you think of the new site!

Here are some elements to explore:

– New property pages highlighting the most important and exciting elements of our 3,300 acres of conservation lands. Expect more information to be added to these sections in the coming days and weeks.

– Information about how you can protect your land with a conservation easement, land donation, or voluntary sale to the McKenzie River Trust.

– Four ways you can support the McKenzie River Trust.

– An expanded events section with a page detailing our Living River Annual Event.

– A written and visual history of the McKenzie River Trust.

As we enter our 23rd year of protecting special lands in western Oregon, we thank you for your support and interest in our work.

Sincerely,

All of us at the McKenzie River Trust
Contact Us

An Investment in Time and Place

The Tenmile Creek watershed south of Yachats is one of western Oregon’s most treasured places. Surrounded by Wilderness Areas, the watershed is part of the largest coastal temperate rainforest remaining in the lower 48 states. Filled with towering Sitka spruce that harbor spotted owls and marbled murrelets and coastal streams that still support strong runs of native salmon, trout, and lamprey, Tenmile is a window to a more abundant past in the Coast Range.

“I used to catch a lot of fish here,” Hans Radtke admits with a wry smile. (more…)

62 Acres Near the Long Tom Grange Now Protected

The Hagen family on their property southwest of Monroe, Oregon

We’re excited to announce that the Hagen family has entered in to a Conservation Easement with the McKenzie River Trust, protecting 62 acres of their land southwest of Monroe.

“I have always felt Ferguson Creek was really special,” said landowner Trey Hagen, who grew up in the area and still has family that lives close by. (more…)

McKenzie River Cleanup

July 9, 2011
9am to 2pm

The McKenzie River Guides Association, the McKenzie Flyfishers and the McKenzie Watershed Council are sponsoring the annual McKenzie River Cleanup on Saturday, July 9th. Volunteers are needed to help keep the river scenic and clean. Boaters will pick up trash along sections of the river from Ollalie Campground to Armitage Park, and volunteers without boats will clean up heavily-used areas throughout the valley. Volunteers are especially needed to cover some of the popular public sites, such as the area around Leaburg Dam and Lake. Following the cleanup, volunteers can celebrate with a barbecue at the Hendricks Bridge Wayside. To register please contact Larry Six or Amanda Wilson at the McKenzie Watershed Council: 541-687-9076 or coordinator@mckenziewc.org.

Naturalist Tour of Green Island

Sunday, June 12
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“Wick-y wick-y wick…tsweeeet tsweeeet!” Do you hear the calling of early summer in the air? It doesn’t get much clearer than at Green Island, where nature surrounds you. Explore just a portion of this thousand-acre property with the naturalist team of Peg Boulay and Bruce Newhouse. Many birds will be heard and seen on this tour – that’s a guarantee! Bring your optics along: binoculars and hand lenses (we’ll pass ours around to those who don’t have any), and cameras – you will need them all for the different kinds of life we’ll see: from the flowers and frogs at our feet, to the birds and butterflies above us. Expect to hike a mile or two on fairly flat ground.

Spring Guided Bird Tour on Berggren Watershed Conservation Area

Join us for a bird walk along the Lower McKenzie River led by McKenzie River Trust staff bird enthusiast, Nicole Nielsen-Pincus! We’ll tour the riparian forest and field edges of Berggren and if time allows venture on to the neighboring Lane County property, Vickery Park, for some upland forest habitat. We’ll offer a great experience for birders of all levels. Long pants are advised and bring binoculars if you have them.

May 14, 2011
8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.