McKenzie River Trust stands in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter. In the wake of recent calls for justice in Oregon and across the globe, we must address oppressive systems and injustices. These systems are connected to threats to our climate, air, and water which disproportionately affect People of Color. We need to work to not only protect vulnerable habitats but vulnerable communities alike.

We affirm the rights of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to be heard, respected, and safe. We are grateful for the opportunity to deepen our own learning and understanding. We are deeply moved by the resilience of People of Color in the face of personal, family, and community pain.

We must make changes to become honest allies. Historically, conservation efforts have benefitted from land practices that were oppressive and racist, such as the control of who can own land and the removal of Indigenous people. We appreciate and are learning from local organizations like the Center for Diversity in the Environment and the Avarna Group, who are courageously guiding conservation organizations to re-imagine a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive future.

We know it can’t stop there. Our grief and empathy are not enough. We will continue to listen, learn, and commit to making our organization more inclusive and just. We’ve made a few commitments internally to begin and look forward to growing our efforts.

• We will not let our mistakes and discomfort stop our efforts to transform our own organizational culture to address inequities.
• We will follow the guidance of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leaders, and share resources to amplify their voices.
• We will continue to connect and listen to those who have previously been excluded from the outdoors and conservation.

We don’t have all the answers, but we know we have to dig deeply within to carve a new path forward. We know speaking out about racism and unpacking our own roles and privileges is uncomfortable, but processing that discomfort is what we are called to do. We ask our supporters to stand with the movement and work to remove prejudices and barriers imposed on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our own community.

Local Resources:

Lane County’s list of Black-Owned Businesses

Avarna Group – Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Resources

Eugene Springfield NAACP

This article was published with permission from Cary Kerst, who discovered a new species of Stonefly in a place now protected by conservation. The species was named Capnia kersti, after Kerst himself.

The Forgotten Habitat

I began a study of the aquatic insects at Willow Creek in Lane County, Oregon in 1995 and continued through 1996. Willow Creek is a summer-dry stream at the south edge of the City of Eugene with water flow from November into June during normal rainfall years. These small summer-dry streams have always been a personal interest and are an endangered habitat type. Being summer-dry, these streams don’t get the protection or interest that permanent waters receive. In addition, during the summer season when many projects such as building, road construction or even ecological restoration projects are in progress, these streams are dry and thought is not given to minimizing impacts to them.
During this study, I found an undescribed stonefly in the family Capniidae. This species, later named Capnia kersti was described by Dr. Riley Nelson of Brigham Young University in 2004. Dr. Nelson found it to be of special interest as a species in a subgroup of the Capnia californica complex that was found far north of all of the other species in the subgroup (Nelson, 2004). Nelson proposes that C. Kersti is one of the common ancestors of the subgroup. You can see from the photo that it looks – well – like every other Capnia species!

C. Kersti stonefly. Photo: Cary Kerst

Andrew Reasoner Preserve

Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve. Photo: Tim Giraudier, Beautiful Oregon

Some species in the Capnia californica group have been collected from summer-dry streams (Nelson, 2004), and C. kersti is associated with a summer-dry stream. Adults emerge from February until early April. The eggs lie in the dry streambed until the stream is wetted in late fall. The larvae of the Capniidae are shredders feeding on allochthonous material.
I have been interested in finding additional sites where C. kersti occurs and, while I collect widely in Oregon, have thus far not found any other sites. The Xerces Society and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are interested in any additional sites where it occurs. The Pacific Northwest Regional Office of the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon/Washington State Office of the Bureau of Land Management have an interagency program for the conservation and management of rare species. C. kersti is listed by the Federal Interagency Special Status / Sensitive Species Program (ISSSSP).
I visited the Andrew Reasoner Wildlife Preserve on Monday, Feb. 8 to check the streams for Capnia kersti. The lower section is too flat and boggy to be appropriate habitat but the hillside habitat looked good though the stream substrate is finer than Willow Creek where the species is found.

Using a sweep net, I began finding Capnia around the stream at the first trail crossing. Progressing up the hill, they seemed to taper off. I can identify the genus by sight but the species requires close examination of the male genitalia under a microscope for specific identification.

Sharing the Science

I brought some specimens back for examination, and they looked close to the illustration in Nelson 2004. Nelson illustrates the known species of the Capnia californica complex in his 2004 paper. I photographed the male epiproct which is characteristic and sent the photos to Boris Kondratieff at the C. P. Gillette Museum of Arthropod Diversity at Colorado State University. Boris also thought they looked close to Capnia kersti.

I returned to the creek on Feb. 10 to further survey the stream. I found no Capnia on the flat section near the highway. At the lower site on the map, I again easily picked up 23 adults sweeping along the stream. I checked a side channel (see map) and found a single specimen. The adults move around so it this doesn’t necessarily indicate they are in this channel. At the upper site (see map), I also found a single specimen so they are not common this high on the stream. This isn’t unusual for seasonal streams as the stream becomes more and more ephemeral as you move up in elevation. These streams are fed by small feeder streams as you move down in elevation causing the stream flow to be more constant through the winter season.

I shipped specimens to Colorado State for confirmation of the species on February 10. The package arrived at CSU on Feb. 23, and Boris Kondratieff and another specialist there have confirmed that the specimens are indeed Capnia kersti.
Given the number of adult specimens on the creek at the Andrew Reasoner Preserve, I believe that this is actually a larger population than on Willow Creek. This is quite an exciting find for me as I’ve searched for another site for years.

McKenzie River Trust Board Member Bev Hollander shared her thoughts on connection during a time of social-distancing.


One way to look at the COVID-19, known as coronavirus, is to see how connected we are world-wide. Yet the irony of things right now is while in the midst of this pandemic, the best advice to protect yourself is to practice “social distancing.” I agree with this advice – it is logical, sound and reassuring – and also believe it will flatten the curve in order to slow down the spread of this virus and prevent a serious breakdown of our health care system. 

Contemplating how to stay connected while we work to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Photo credit: Tim Giraudier

I still think about how connected we all are and wonder how best to maintain that connection while basically quarantining myself. For me, the best and most effective thing I can do is connect with the land. McKenzie River Trust uses that phrase often, it is woven into our work. It’s the title of our events calendar and what we hope to offer towards that connection for you. Right now we are reflecting on the connections we have built in the last 30 years, and how we might support them at a time of distancing and slowing down.

You certainly can remain connected to friends and family via technology.

Some additional ideas for you: Connect (or re-connect) with the earth.  Spend time outdoors in nature. If you go hiking with others, make sure to avoid direct contact with each other. Speaking as a retired RN, breathing the clean moist air outside to help boost your immune system. Spend 20 minutes or so, when the sun shines, and bathe your bare skin in it – face and hands at a minimum.  Vitamin D production is enhanced which also helps your immune system. In addition, being outdoors can help you relax and reduce stress. Too much stress really compromises your immune system.

Finding sunshine is a healthy way to reduce stress while limiting your contact with other people.

Reduce your time listening or reading about the news. I sure get stressed and anxious when I learn too much.  And then separating fact from fiction is a challenge. I suggest getting your corona virus info from the CDC, WHO and local government. 

Turn on some music and Dance!  Meditate and connect with your Self. Binge watch your favorite show.  Exercise. Do jigsaw puzzles. Play cards or some board games. Eat well and also rest well. Laugh a lot.  Reach out to someone to whom you haven’t connected in a while. All of the above will assist you in maintaining strong immunity as well as providing pleasure.

Stay Connected. You can stay connected to us on social media and through email. Reach out, let us know how we can help. 

Stakeholder Notification

The land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The McKenzie River Trust is pleased to announce it is applying for renewal of accreditation. A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. McKenzie River Trust is proud to be part of a strong collection of land trusts that work together to follow best practices, keep public trust high, and stay committed to ethical conduct.

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how the McKenzie River Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit, or email your comment to Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. 

Comments on the McKenzie River Trust’s application will be most useful by June 21, 2020.

McKenzie River Trust is currently accredited with the Land Trust Accreditation Commission and is applying for renewal in 2020.

2019 was a great year for McKenzie River Trust. Our staff grew as well as the number of properties we own and protect in conservation. The community came together supporting conservation work that protects our drinking water and local wildlife. As we celebrate our 30th year, we know how much more work there is to do in the face of a changing climate. We also recognize that the entire environmental protection movement needs to become more inclusive, welcoming, and equitable to more people.

We’re beginning a major floodplain restoration at Finn Rock Reach. You can help restore native fish and wildlife habitats in 2020.

Looking forward

Your support can help us protect drinking water in vulnerable communities. Photo: Erin Reynolds

In the next five years, we have some ambitious goals! We will expand our work to protect threatened watersheds on the Oregon coast. We’re striving to create a five-mile stretch of protected land along the banks of the McKenzie River near Vida. In that same stretch, we will restore over 200 acres of floodplain. All the while we plan to stay agile and open to new opportunities to protect land as it becomes available. With your help, we’ll increase connections between people and natural spaces in our region.
As a member of the Trust there are so many ways in which you grow conservation in our community. Here are six ways you can make your giving have an even bigger impact on the rivers and lands you cherish.

Peer to Peer Fundraising

Peer to Peer fundraising is an increasingly popular tool through social media and other online methods of communication. In the last 5 years, Facebook users have raised over $1 billion by asking their friends for birthday donations. [JS1] If you use Facebook, you can find easy,step-by-step instructions on how to have your own fundraiser here.

If you’re not a Facebook user, we understand! There are other ways to raise money from your network online. You can send our online donation page to your friends via email or text message. We can even work with you to create a customized donation form just for you! Let us know if you’d like to learn more.

Host a House Party

Celebrate local conservation with friends. Photo: Cliff Etzel

Some of our members partner with McKenzie River Trust staff to host a party at their home to share the work of the Trust. Do you know a group of people who would enjoy learning about conservation work in our region?

If you have a group of friends that you would like to share our work with, please connect with Liz Lawrence, our Development Director.

Check for Employer Match

Many companies have a donation matching program. Check with the company you work for to see if there is an avenue to double your donation impact.

Donate a Match Challenge

Match challenges are one of the best ways to excite our membership and inspire giving. For Giving Tuesday in 2019, our board president Louise Solliday gave a $5,000 match challenge to the Trust. We were able to leverage her challenge to raise another $7,000 from our members and the larger community in just one day! By pledging a match donation you are energizing and mobilizing our membership and, helping maximize their impact too.

Become a Monthly Member

Many of our members contribute as monthly givers. This allows them to have a positive influence throughout the year without needing a large sum all at once. Even a gift as small as $5.00 a month can help our waters stay clean and our wildlife thrive. Forgot to make your annual contribution in December? This is a great way to provide the Trust with reliable and consistent support. If you would like to set up a monthly gift, you can call our office or contact Julia Sherwood, our Membership Manager, or visit our website and choose the “recurring gift” option.

Join the Confluence Legacy Club

You can help ensure beautiful spaces and drinking water for the next generation. Photo: Athena Delene.

No matter your income level, a planned gift in your estate offers the opportunity to leave a legacy for what you care about in life. You can choose a dollar amount, percentage, or a residual gift in your will or estate plan. As a part of the Confluence Legacy Club, you will be ensuring a legacy of conservation for our grandchildren’s grandchilden . Learn more about the Confluence Legacy Club.

What are some of the ways you’re making a difference in your community? Share with us! Send an email to to share your story.

One of MRT’s basic tenets is to connect people to the land and rivers.  Besides hiking, rafting, fishing, swimming and other outdoor activities that connect us, bird watching is seeing a rise in popularity.  What’s so special for me when I birdwatch is how connected I feel to nature and my environs.  

Belted Kingfisher on Green Island Photo: Kit Larsen

How does one begin birding? 

From a personal perspective, the first thing to do is stop and listen, and I do mean stop in your tracks. If you hear the sound of a bird, try to zero in on its location.  Is it up in a tree nearby or in a bush lower to the ground? In the water? Flying in the sky? The bird’s choice of place to hang out offers insight into its identity. Patience is very important as these creatures are usually very shy and can move very quickly.

Osprey flying. Photo: Kit Larsen

There are numerous how-to resources available online to get started birding. Here are few I like to reference:  

Audubon’s How to Start Birding
Texas Parks and Wildlife Introduction to Birding
Next Avenue’s Birdwatching Primer
Nation Park Service’s Birding for Beginners

You can also join a local bird walk with Lane Audubon Society.

I carry binoculars with a 7 or 8 power.  REI and/or Cabela’s have a range of prices and are a good place to get your hands on a pair. If you’re in Eugene, you should also check out Wild Birds Unlimited on Willamette for advice and a fine selection of binoculars. It takes a bit of practice to coordinate the use of them and find that bird you see up in that tree! My secret is to keep my eyes focused on the subject and bring the binoculars up to my face.  Hopefully, the critter is right there in my scope of vision.  

Identifying Birds

Cedar Waxwing Photo: Kit Larsen

   As you sight a bird and want to identify it, notice if there is anything striking           about its plumage, e.g., bright red on its head, a black circle around its eye,             stripes on its wing or tail – just observe.  Maybe there’s nothing at all that is           striking about its plumage, but how about the shape of the head, shoulders or       beak? How big is it? What about its flight pattern – steady on or dipping and           soaring? Does it make a distinctive chirp or song?

   To identify the birds you spy, you absolutely need a reference book or two and     perhaps a phone app. For a local reference, check out: Birds of Oregon                     and  Birds of the Pacific Northwest (A Timber Press Field Guide) by John                     Shewey. Sibley is a more comprehensive guideFree mobile apps include: 

Connecting to the Community 

If you prefer the company of others, join a group and get out in the field with other birders. Join the bird walks with Lane Audubon, Buford Park, the Wildbirds Unlimited Store or Birds of Oregon and General Science (BOGS). Also, keep an eye on MRT’s calendar, as we sometimes host birding walks on our conservation properties.  Groups can help you sustain your birding enthusiasm and offer knowledge and companionship.  Your next best way is backyard feeding. Wildbirds Unlimited is a wonderful resource to get you going on your home feeding stations. 

And if you want to see wild raptors up close and personal, check out Cascade Raptors on Fox Hollow. They have regular visiting hours and opportunities to watch these birds fly in their specialized cages. 

In addition, online forums offer postings of local sightings and discussions: 

American Birding Association 


And, if you watch birds long enough, you will eventually recognize a bird by its song without ever laying your eyes upon it. Now that is truly connecting!

MRT Bird Walk from May 2019 at Coyote Spencer Wetlands. Photo: Ron Green

(Special thanks to birder extraordinaire, Kit Larsen, for his advice and suggestions for this article.)

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More Birds Sighted on MRT Properties

Lincoln Sparrow at Waite Ranch Photo: Jim Regali

Marbled Murrelet on the coast Photo: Cary Kerst

Bald eagles nesting. Photo: Cary Kerst

Thanks to the support of our members, 47 acres are preserved for conservation on the banks of the Blue River

On December 19th, we purchased a property next to the Blue River Park. The purchase was possible thanks to funding from a generous anonymous donor and other McKenzie River Trust supporters and partners.

In 1986, Fred and Dorothy Behm donated the property to McKenzie School District. The district serves 225 students in Finn Rock, OR. The land was intended for timber harvest, but the school did not have the resources to manage timberland. So they considered a sale for conservation as another option.

The proceeds from the sale of this property will help start a scholarship fund for the McKenzie River Community School. We’re so grateful that our members support community-minded projects like this one as we move into a new decade of growth in our organization.

Aerial view of the recently purchased property, adjacent to Blue River Park on the banks of the Blue River, located on Molalla land.

“We brought in the McKenzie River Trust as a potential broker to help facilitate a sale and conservation easement,” said Lane Tompkins, Superintendent/Principal of McKenzie River Community School. “Although this approach did not take shape, MRT took a more hands-on approach, buying the land to manage directly. We take pride in being a part of MRT investing in our community, our school, and most importantly our students.”

An old logging road makes a scenic trail at the new property acquired from McKenzie School District.

Protection for Blue River

This property is important for conservation in the community. It offers recreation and scenic views. It preserves a conifer forest on the banks of the river. An old logging road makes a trail along the Blue River that will remain public. McKenzie River Trust is partnering with Blue River Parks District to steward the land and keep access open.

McKenzie River Community School is using the funds from selling its property to start a scholarship with Oregon Community Foundation.

In addition, the property is next to the Blue River Parks District park. MRT will host a celebration with supporters like you in the spring to reveal the new property’s name. It also has conservation value for protecting the watershed. Wildlife will also benefit from habitat protection. The newly acquired property is also adjacent to other lands in conservation. The nearby lands include the Blue River conservation easement and Finn Rock Reach, both of which are in MRT’s protection.

A view of the forest on the Blue River conservation easement, next to the community of Blue River.

Executive Director Joe Moll said, “We are fortunate to have generous supporters who are willing to help us acquire this key parcel, with benefits to the students of McKenzie School and the larger community. “

Aerial video footage of the McKenzie School Property

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UPDATE! The match has been met! Thank you to everyone who supported this campaign, we received over $84,000 that will be met by Patagonia for local conservation in 2020. Thank you again, we’re so grateful to our supporters for taking advantage of this opportunity.

Photo: Tim Giraudier

Patagonia has generously supported the McKenzie River Trust through grants for our fish habitat restoration work. Now they’re challenging you to give back to the lands and rivers you cherish, too. 

Patagonia will match all donations made to McKenzie River Trust on Patagonia Action Works between Nov. 29 and Dec. 31, up to $10,000 per donation, until they’ve reached a maximum match of $10,000,000.  

Give today and your dollars will be matched!

Give Now

We have a special match challenge for Giving Tuesday! Support our lands and waters this #givingtuesday with a gift to McKenzie River Trust.

Giving Tuesday is a global movement that encourages people to do good. Hundreds of millions of people have come together on this day for the last few years to raise money for causes they care about.

A gift to McKenzie River Trust means investing in work to protect lands and rivers people cherish in Western Oregon. We protect and steward the lands and rivers that support healthy communities. We connect those who are upstream to the lands and rivers affected by their choices. We restore river meanders and floodplain forests where we can. With your support, we work with landowners who share this vision to sustain the special places around us.

We’re celebrating 30 years of local conservation. We’d love your help funding the next 30 years 

Give Now

This month marks 30 years of land and river conservation in Western Oregon at McKenzie River Trust. we wanted to mark the occasion with a graphic showcasing some of our accomplishments over the last 30 years. Do you have a memory you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!

Our 30 Year Milestones

1989 Tom Bowerman and Bob Doppelt bring together concerned citizens interested in protecting and preserving the McKenzie River’s pristine quality for future generations.

1999 MRT expands its service area to include all of Lane County and parts of Douglas County with community support. Kurt Hupé joins MRT as the first executive director.

2002 ODFW biologists find Oregon chub at the Big Island property. It’s the first time in over 100 years the chub is seen in the McKenzie River watershed.

2014 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove the Oregon chub from the Endangered Species List — the first fish ever to be delisted due to recovery.

2007-08 The Trust protects more than 400 acres with five landowners in the Tenmile Creek watershed north of Florence.

1991 EWEB collaborates with Tom Bowerman to mitigate the impact of Leaburg Dam. MRT protects its first land, buying the Smith Forest in fee title. George Grier and Cynthia Pappas donate MRT’s first conservation easement on Big Island near Springfield.

2003 The Green family sells the Trust 865 acres where the McKenzie and Willamette rivers meet. Karen Green shares: “Before it is too late, we want this land to be protected for all the special things it has and can offer future generations.” The Green Island purchase ensures 1,300 contiguous acres of land will be protected in one of the most diverse habitats in western Oregon.

2000-01 EWEB kicks off the McKenzie Conservancy Campaign with a $500k grant for McKenzie watershed protection. The Trust raises another $500k from the community to unlock the final $500k, a challenge grant from the EWEB water protection fund first discussed in 1991.

2010 MRT secures protection for 217 acres near Mapleton on the Siuslaw River, 92 acres on Camp Creek Road on the lower McKenzie, and a 56-acre former gravel mine next to Green Island.

2015 MRT works with the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians to conserve 125 acres along Fivemile Creek.

2018 Over 400 people contribute to the McKenzie Homewaters Campaign, raising $4.6 million to repay the bridge loan used to acquire Finn Rock Reach, restore and care for the land, and create a fund for future conservation projects.

1997 MRT secures a 20-acres tract east of Blue River in response to local leaders’ effort to permanently protect hillside. It is the Trust’s first conservation property beyond riparian floodplain habitat.

2015-16 MRT seizes an opportunity to conserve Finn Rock Reach. The McKenzie riverfront property is vital for more than 200,000 people who rely on the McKenzie for their drinking water. The spectacular property includes spawning ground for native Chinook salmon, the popular Finn Rock Boat Landing, and the historic Finn Rock Logging camp.

2013 1,000+ people attend the Living River Celebration on Green Island to commemorate ten years of conservation work.

2005 75 volunteers turn out to plant 3,400 native trees on Green Island.

2001 Forest Care becomes MRT’s first conservation easement outside the McKenzie watershed.