Partners Complete Multi-Year Floodplain Restoration Project at Finn Rock Reach

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.

The project, led by partners including McKenzie River Trust, the US Forest Service, and the McKenzie Watershed Council, builds on years of investments in the Middle McKenzie Valley. The project has increased habitat diversity and available slow-water areas to protect fish, capture sediment, and bolster groundwater recharging. Across the site, aquatic habitat has been increased by around 50%, supporting Spring Chinook salmon, Pacific lamprey, Western Pond Turtles, and other plants and animals who call this area home.

Part of a long-term vision for restoring the Middle McKenzie River, Finn Rock Reach is one of many completed and planned projects. Working collaboratively across the basin, partners have already restored more than 900 acres between Finn Rock and the headwaters of the McKenzie River. Beyond benefiting fish and wildlife, restoration work offers broad community benefits. According to Susan Fricke, the Water Resources and Quality Assurance Supervisor for EWEB, one of the project’s key funders, “These large-scale restoration projects help build resiliency for downstream infrastructure. Community benefits include supporting clean drinking water by dropping out sediment and contaminants and slowing down water during storm events by spreading the water across a floodplain.”

Over the years ahead, contractors and volunteers will work to replant the site, tend to invasive species, and monitor the ongoing recovery of the area. With your support, we’ll continue to work in partnership across the McKenzie basin to support clean water, abundant fish and wildlife habitat, and thriving communities.