Berggren Watershed Conservation Area

Why It’s Important

The Berggren Watershed Conservation Area features one of the most extensive, intact and dynamic networks of side channels remaining on the lower McKenzie River and more than a dozen unique partners working together to protect and care for this special place. The property also includes nearly a mile of river frontage, an intact floodplain forest, and 30 acres of farmland that will become the Berggren Demonstration Farm.

Animals on the property

The property’s side channel habitat and riparian gallery forests support a wide variety of fish and wildlife species – more than 60 in total. A total of 43 species of birds have been documented.

In addition, two species listed under the Endangered Species Act – Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) and Spring Upper Willamette Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) – make their homes in the extensive slough network on the property. Three state-sensitive species live here, too: northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora), western pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata marmorata), and yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens).

The property is also home to Yellow Breasted Chat, Ictera virens. This migratory songbird is listed as sensitive in the Oregon Conservation Strategy, a document that provides a blueprint and action plan for the long-term conservation of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife and their habitats.

Berggren Demonstration Farm

The Berggren Demonstration Farm on 30 acres of the property is taking shape, led by Farm Coordinator Jared Pruch, Farmer Angela Andre, and a team of staff and interns with Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development. The farm is focusing on small livestock production, while incorporating a learning garden and greenhouse growing a variety of vegetables for educational programs, tours and workshops for K-12 and college students, as well as area landowners, farmers and the general public. As the Berggren Farm continues to grow, visitors will see the integration of habitat conservation and agriculture, with restoration and farming activities coordinated on a single site, thanks to a core partnership between Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation & Development, Eugene Water and Electric Board, and MRT.

What’s happening now?

Restoration in the riparian area of the Berggren property began in 2011 by removing invasive species like knotweed and clematis. It continues this year with riparian forest and woodland vegetation enhancements and planning for the conversion of 10-acres of floodway farm fields to native riparian forest. We are using what we learned from restoration on Big Island – our 108-acre property located just across the McKenzie River from Berggren – to help us on this property. The floodplain forest buffer on Berggren will enhance habitat for fish and wildlife and attract native pollinators to the area. It will also give the side channels of the McKenzie River on the property a little more shade and room to spread out during high water events. Our partners at the McKenzie Watershed Council manage the restoration project.

For now, public visitors are welcome to see the property through our guided tours. Visit our events calendar to see current offerings and sign up for our contact list to receive notice of new tours as they become available. Also check out the Berggren Farm’s website for information about produce, meat, and other farm products available now, and where you can buy it.


Key Facts

  • Size: 92 acres
  • Location: Along the north bank of the Lower McKenzie River, off Camp Creek Road.
  • Acquired in: July 2010
  • How it was protected: The McKenzie River Trust purchased the property in fee title with the support of the Eugene Water and Electric Board and the Bonneville Power Administration. BPA also holds a conservation easement for the property.

Related Articles