The Ferguson Creek Conservation Easement was purchased by McKenzie River Trust to permanently protect 62 acres in the Long Tom watershed.
“Farming and conservation have both been part of our plans for this property since we bought it,” said Trey Hagen. “The paradigm used to situate farming and conservation efforts on opposites sides of the spectrum. Today, property owners like us who consider land management practices for the long haul see conservation and farming coexisting and proving beneficial to each other.”
Meet Ferguson Creek
Coming Home in the Long Tom Watershed
When Trey and Tammie Hagen spotted the For Sale sign in front of the farm that would soon become their home something clicked. “We had to do it,” said Trey Hagen, relishing the memory of the moment they decided to purchase the scenic 238-acre property. Hagen had grown up just half a mile away. After spending many years traveling throughout the US and abroad, buying this piece of land along Ferguson Creek in the Long Tom Watershed was a homecoming.
“I’ve always felt Ferguson Creek was really special,” said Hagen, who still has family that lives close by. “When I was a kid, this creek was our entertainment. We would spend our afternoons fishing, building miniature dams, and finding the best swimming holes. Now my son Cormac will have that opportunity, too,” Hagen said.
The creek the Hagen family loves will be preserved for future generations thanks to an agreement with the McKenzie River Trust.
MRT’s newest conservation easement protects 62 acres of vital habitat for fish and wildlife on the Hagen property. The easement contains diverse native forests and emergent wetlands. This habitat may benefit declining species including greater sandhill crane, western bluebird, pileated woodpecker, northwestern pond turtle, red-legged frog, and western brook lamprey, all considered species of concern by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The land is also within the Pacific Flyway, one of several major routes across North America for migrating waterfowl. Funding for the easement was provided by the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), a grant program operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Since 2007, MRT has protected five other properties in the Willamette Valley using NAWCA funds.
The Long Tom Watershed Council (LTWC) is a key partner for the project, providing technical assistance and funding for research and long-term restoration. Thanks in part to grants from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Meyer Memorial Trust, and ODFW Restoration & Enhancement Program, LTWC is investigating native fish populations and actively improving habitat for native fish on the Hagens’ property and another private property along Ferguson Creek by removing invasive plants, replanting native vegetation, and placing large wood in the stream. Future work will likely include enhancing the beautiful wet prairie remnants on the property.
“This project is a great example of how the watershed council and land trust can offer services to meet landowner goals for their property,” said Dana Dedrick, Watershed Coordinator for the Long Tom Watershed Council.
The Ferguson Creek property is very scenic, offering a glimpse of what homesteads looked like in the early settlement days of the Willamette Valley. Along with an intact, meandering stream, the property also contains hay fields and Confluence Farms, a three acre transitional organic blueberry farm operated by the Hagens.