Berggren Watershed Conservation Area
The McKenzie River Trust purchased the property in fee title with the support of the Eugene Water and Electric Board and the Bonneville Power Administration. BPA also holds a conservation easement for the property.
one of the most extensive, intact and dynamic networks of side channels remaining on the lower McKenzie River
Meet Berggren Watershed Conservation Area
Why It’s Important
The Berggren Watershed Conservation Area features one of the most extensive, intact and dynamic networks of side channels remaining on the lower McKenzie River and more than a dozen unique partners working together to protect and care for this special place. The property also includes nearly a mile of river frontage, an intact floodplain forest, and 30 acres of farmland managed by Phoenix Farm Enterprises.
Animals on the property
The property’s side channel habitat and riparian gallery forests support a wide variety of fish and wildlife species – more than 60 in total. A total of 43 species of birds have been documented.
In addition, two species listed under the Endangered Species Act – Oregon chub (Oregonichthys crameri) and Spring Upper Willamette Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) – make their homes in the extensive slough network on the property. Three state-sensitive species live here, too: northern red-legged frog (Rana aurora), western pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata marmorata), and yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens).
The property is also home to Yellow Breasted Chat, Ictera virens. This migratory songbird is listed as sensitive in the Oregon Conservation Strategy, a document that provides a blueprint and action plan for the long-term conservation of Oregon’s native fish and wildlife and their habitats.
The Berggren Watershed Conservation Area was protected through purchase by McKenzie River Trust with funding from the Bonneville Power Administration and the Eugene Water and Electric Board. The property is enrolled in the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, which provides critical finacial investments for important species in Oregon. Restoration projects have been led by the McKenzie Watershed Council through direct contracting and their WATERS education program.
What’s happening now?
MRT and the McKenzie Watershed Council have been restoring the property since 2011. Work has involved removing invasive species such as knotweed and clematis as well as enhancing the riparian and woodland vegetation with the planting of native trees and shrubs. The floodplain forest buffer on Berggren will enhance the habitat for fish and wildlife and attract native pollinators to the area. It will also give the side channels of the McKenzie River on the property a little more shade and room to spread out during high water events. Our partners at the McKenzie Watershed Council manage the restoration project.
In 2021, McKenzie River Trust signed a farm lease with the farmers of Barn Swallow Blossoms and Willow & Oak Farms, connecting first-generation farmers to affordable land access. The farm produces cut flowers, eggs, and meat through sustainable agricultural processes. You can find farm products at the Lane County Farmers Market, or by connecting with the farms online.