In 2021, with the support of members like you, McKenzie River Trust deepened our investments to protect and care for land and water on Oregon’s central coast. Soon after opening our coast office in the summer of 2021, we learned of an immediate need from partners at the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians and Lincoln County. A 27- acre property located off of highway 101 was on the open market and at risk of development.
Working in collaboration with our partners, McKenzie River Trust was able to secure a bridge loan to purchase the property as an interim landowner in August of this year. We’ll hold the property until it can be transferred to the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians in the coming years. The property, known as Cape Foulweather, is at the heart of Siletz territory, and adjoins Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint just north of Newport, OR. Nearby Marine Gardens, State Parks and Marine Reserves highlight the abundance of this area for a variety of plants and animals.
In the intertidal zone of the Pacific Ocean, harbor seals congregate to rear their pups on the water’s edge. Nearby kelp forests provide important food and shelter for an abundance of marine life which flourishes in the ever changing tidescape. Jutting abruptly from the ocean, the property rises across steep and rare salt-spray meadows. These meadows provide critical habitat for threatened Oregon Silverspot Butterflies who rely on this niche habitat for food and breeding. In the upper reaches, meadows transition into dense stands of Spruce trees and native understory. These coastal habitats are at the heart of important cultural practices for the Siletz people.
To purchase the property, McKenzie River Trust used private donations, support from the Lincoln Land Legacy Program of Lincoln County and a low-interest loan from Craft3’s Conservation Bridge Fund. Over the coming year, we’ll work with good people like you to pay off that loan and seed funding for the long-term stewardship of this special place. The conservation of Cape Foulweather ensures ecological and cultural connections from land to sea, and weaves a tapestry of abundance across generations.
Each fall, partners work together across our region to include controlled ecological burning in areas where habitat restoration has been completed or is underway. Ecological burning in natural areas benefits native prairie, savanna, and oak woodland habitats while also reducing the potential for severe, high-intensity wildfires by removing built up fuels including dense shrubs and thatch.
Three years after the Holiday Farm fire burned more than 173,000 acres in the McKenzie River valley, partners are celebrating the completion of floodplain restoration work at Finn Rock Reach. Beginning in the summer of 2021, restoration activities have included reshaping nearly 90 acres of floodplain forest and returning the area back to aquatic habitat along the Middle McKenzie River.
A decade after McKenzie River Trust, purchased 217-acre Waite Ranch in the Siuslaw Estuary, partners are breaking ground on a large-scale restoration project. Led by the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI), the project will improve salmon and shorebird habitat, contribute to regional climate resilience, and provide a place for local Tribal citizens and families to celebrate and promote Indigenous culture on their ancestral lands.
Two and a half years after the Holiday Farm fire burned more than 173,000 acres in the McKenzie River valley, partners are breaking ground on the second and final phase of floodplain restoration work at Finn Rock Reach, a 278-acre conservation area owned by McKenzie River Trust.
In March of 2023, the Estergard family donated 85 of their original 300 acres of farmland on the North Fork of the Siuslaw River to McKenzie River Trust. The site, located a few miles upstream from the confluence with the mainstem Siuslaw River, provides important habitat for native species including Coho Salmon, lamprey, and waterfowl.