Presenting Habichats: Habitat Speaker Series

McKenzie River Trust is excited to present HabiChats – a virtual speaker series that explores some of Oregon’s plant and animal species and local restoration efforts with partners and local experts.  These events are free, but do require registration.

Forest Treasures: Finding and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms


DATE:  Thursday, September 24, 2020 

TIME:  7pm via Zoom

PRESENTER:  Bruce Newhouse

Dive into the fantastic world of fungi at your feet!  You may never walk in the woods the same after learning about all the amazing kinds of mushrooms that grow in our mountain forests.  Many of them are good edibles – if you first learn the basics.  A bit of fungal ecology so that you will know where to look.  Then, the most yummy and findable edibles in our area – so that you will know what to look for!  Lastly, some favorite ways of preparing them – so that you will know what to do with them if you bring back a basketful.  I hope to have some real specimens to show, too, as well as some favorite books.

SPEAKER BIO:  Bruce is a Willamette Valley native, and a field ecologist specializing in plants and fungi, and the animals that interact with them.   His vocation and avocation are nearly identical, both rooted in being outside in native prairies and forests.  Bruce is a frequent volunteer and contributor to the McKenzie River Trust, the Cascade Mycological Society, the Oregon Flora Project, the Friends of Buford Park, the Native Plant Society of Oregon, the Lane County Master Gardeners and iNaturalist.  He lives and gardens in Eugene with his ecologist wife, Peg and their two kittens, Sage and Onyx.  More info at and

An Introduction to Stage 0 River Restoration

DATE:  Thursday, October 1st, 2020 

TIME:  7pm via Zoom

PRESENTER:  Jared Weybright

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:   In the Pacific Northwest, US Forest Service fisheries biologists and hydrologists and their community partners from a variety of watershed councils and land trusts have begun to develop approaches to river restoration that seek to work across entire river valleys, as opposed to individual channel reaches. These projects have come to be known as Stage 0 floodplain restoration projects and seek to restore a range of natural processes needed to promote and maintain dynamic stream ecosystems. Much of this work has taken place in the McKenzie River and Middle Fork Willamette River sub-basins. Our presentation will provide a brief background on the Stage 0 restoration approach, touch on project implementation on the South Fork McKenzie River, share preliminary monitoring results and lessons learned, and conclude with a vision for a large-scale cooperative restoration approach for the McKenzie River. 


SPEAKER BIO:  Jared Weybright is the Executive Director of the McKenzie Watershed Council. He has worked with the Council since 2004 in a variety of roles, including restoration project management, youth education coordination, and public outreach. He has developed and implemented a wide range of cooperative projects in partnership with private landowners, public agencies, schools, and other non-profit organizations over the past 15 years. Mr. Weybright has a fisheries background and worked for seven years with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife prior to his tenure at the Council. He lives in Eugene with his wife and teenage children, and enjoys coaching youth athletics, gardening, and various outdoor pursuits in his spare time. 

Virtual Ethnobotany Tour of Wren Marsh

DATE:  Thursday, October 15th, 2020 

TIME:  7pm via Zoom

PRESENTER:  Ashley Russell

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:  Ashley Russell, Miluk Coos Tribal Member and Water Protection Specialist for the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI), will be leading a digital ethnobotany tour through the McKenzie River Trust’s conservation easement, Wren Marsh. During the digital tour, participants will learn some of the native plants that call Wren Marsh home and some of their important cultural and/or medicinal uses to the CTCLUSI.

SPEAKER BIO:  Ashley Russell is an Oregon State University (OSU) graduate of Environmental Sciences with an emphasis on Fisheries and Wildlife Science. She is currently enrolled through the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and pursuing her herbal certification. Ashley is recognized for her knowledge of culturally significant species, including Tribal first foods and weaving materials, as well as her art and singing.” 

Fish Recovery and Recent Delistings under the Federal ESA in Oregon


DATE:  Thursday, October 22nd, 2020 

TIME:  7pm via Zoom

PRESENTER:  Brian Bangs

There are 1,600 species listed under the endangered species act, and 160 of those are fish. Four fish have been removed from the endangered species list, and remarkably all occur in Oregon. Fish biologist, Brian Bangs will share how we set these species up for long-term success, and how organizations like McKenzie River Trust play a role in this collaborative effort.

SPEAKER BIO:  Brian is a fish biologist with Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s Native Fish Investigations Program for over 15 years, and for the past two years has been working part-time as a contract employee for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Much of Brian’s focus with ODFW has been the research and conservation of Oregon’s resident non-game fish species, primarily Oregon Chub, as well as Pacific and brook lamprey, Sand Roller, great basin redband trout, and Alvord Chub.  With the USFWS, Brian works on a number of aquatic species across the state, including beaver, Hutton Tui Chub, Foskett Speckled Dace, and Borax Lake Chub.

Blood-sucking vampires or alluring fishes? Insights into Oregon lampreys


DATE:  Thursday, October 29th, 2020 

TIME:  7pm via Zoom

PRESENTERS:  Ben Clemens and Ann Gray

Lampreys are a group of ancient fishes with no jaws, paired fins, or bones. Are they blood-sucking vampires to be reviled or are they alluring fishes? Their seeming “alien” appearance and cryptic behavior can lead to fear and ignorance. Ann and Ben will describe the tremendous diversity of lampreys in Oregon and their life histories and habitats. They will also present special considerations for fish passage and river restoration.

SPEAKER BIOS:  Ben is the Statewide Lamprey Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).  Ben works at the intersection of research, policy, and management to benefit Oregon’s native lampreys and human use of them.  He has worked for over 13 years with ODFW and OSU in various roles conducting smolt monitoring, smolt survival studies, leading the ODFW aging lab, and conducting lamprey life history and ecology research.  Ben was a former President of the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.  Ben earned a BS in Biology from Central Michigan University, an MS in Zoology from the University of Guelph, and a Doctorate in Fisheries Science from Oregon State University. 

Ann started counting lamprey for the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Trinity and Klamath Rivers in 1994.  She has lived and worked for USFWS for 20 years in Portland, working on fish passage and instream habitat, but never lost her fondness for lamprey.  Ann is involved with the Pacific Lamprey Conservation Initiative, helping to promote lamprey best management practices and improve lamprey passage.  Ann has a BA from Austin College (TX) and a MS from Humboldt State University (CA), where she studied bat rays.