From frogs to fish, beavers, and otters, our rivers are home to an incredible abundance of animals. Reconnecting our rivers to allow for water to slow and spread not only improves water quality and retention on the landscape but also provides important habitat for the beloved animals around us.
This fall, contractors worked on Green Island to restore connections between land and water. This latest swale reconnection project, funded by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, builds on years of investments in this area.
Beginning in the 1930s, Green Island was slowly converted to agricultural use. However, farming in an active
floodplain was not without challenges. Equipment often sunk into deep, wet soils, and ongoing flooding created issues. In the early 2000s, family matriarch Karen Green worked with the Trust and many partners to give the land back to the river.
Since purchasing the property in 2003, we have worked alongside our community to help make that vision a reality. We’ve removed more than 6 miles of levees and planted over a million trees and shrubs. Acre by acre, we’ve worked in partnership with the land and water here to do the hopeful work of seeding a forest for future generations to enjoy.
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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.