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.

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 hig-resolution pdf of the article from the Summer 2012 issue of Eugene Magazine.
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.

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

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!


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

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) 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.


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.

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

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. Continue reading “Picturing Birds and Buds: Photo Tour”