The Site 59 tidal wetland was donated to McKenzie River Trust by the Estergard family in 2023. Additionally, the site is protected by a wetland reserve easement held by the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
A space for salmon on the North Fork Siuslaw River
Protecting Tidal Wetlands
Site 59 was once a ranch, supporting thousands of sheep and cattle annually. Once diked and leveed, a natural breach in infrastructure has allowed tidal function to return to this landscape. The property boasts functioning wetlands that support salmon and other aquatic species. Additionally, a few remnant Sitka spruce line its edges, providing rare and important coastal habitat that is a high priority for conservation in the Siuslaw basin.
Tidal wetlands provide critical habitat for salmon to grow as they transition between fresh and saltwater environments. The Siuslaw River and its tributaries are one of the largest estuaries in the state of Oregon, with more than 20 miles of tidally influenced river moving up and downstream out of Florence. These estuaries provided dynamic and diverse ecosystems before the impacts of diking and land reclamation limited and simplified the landscape here. As cattle ranching moves onto greener pastures, there is an incredible opportunity to let the river reclaim these lands so that they can support critical species including Coho Salmon and Lamprey. Protecting and restoring tidal wetlands can have a cascade of positive benefits that serve both the natural world and human communities alike.
Property Donation Protects Coho Salmon Habitat on Oregon Coast
In March of 2023, the Estergard family donated 85 of their original 300 acres of farmland on the North Fork of the Siuslaw River to McKenzie River Trust. The site, located a few miles upstream from the confluence with the mainstem Siuslaw River, provides important habitat for native species including Coho Salmon, lamprey, and waterfowl.