Enhancing fish and wildlife habitat
Restoring Natural Systems
Protecting special lands is only part of the mission of the McKenzie River Trust. We also enhance and restore various habitat types within our service area. Some of these include upland prairies, like Cerro Gordo or Native Oaks Ridge. Other types of restoration include oak savanna, oak woodland, mixed bottomland oak woodland, upland conifer forest, and ash forest, to name a few.
We also protect and restore wetlands, wet prairies, and floodplains. We do all this to help protect and enhance the habitats our regional, and sometimes imperiled, wildlife relies upon for survival.
Caring for Sensitive Species
We incorporate the most up to date research from the scientific community to formulate the best planning efforts to move restoration projects forward. MRT is nimble and creative with regard to securing funding for these projects. MRT collaborates with partners to make these projects successful. Partners include local watershed councils, other land trusts, state, local, and federal agencies.
Restoring Floodplain Function at Finn Rock Reach
In the summer of 2021, just a few years after the purchase of Finn Rock Reach, McKenzie River Trust completed the first phase of an enhancement project in this salmon-bearing area. Work included restoring the floodplain to its historic elevations, and spreading water across the site. Large wood was placed to create structure and habitat for young salmon and other fish species. Work was done to increase turtle nesting habitat, and more than half of the project area was converted back to wetted habitat.
The Register-Guard September 2021
Tidal estuaries are critical for salmon. Here, where fresh water meets the ocean, fish rely heavily on tidal estuaries for acclimation and safety as they transition between inland waters and the sea. Along the Siuslaw River, we’re working with partners from the Siuslaw Watershed Council and the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians to design and implement a 201-acre project at Waite Ranch.
Partnering for Coho in the Siuslaw and Coastal Lakes Basin
McKenzie River Trust is one of nine members of the Siuslaw Coho Partnership, a collaborative group centered around Coho salmon recovery. Formed in 2018, the partnership includes state, federal, tribal, and non-profit partners who have been working together to bring critical investments and a wide range of expertise to the Siuslaw and Coastal Lakes basin.
Oak and Prairie Habitats
Oak and prairie habitats are some of the most impacted, and quickly disappearing habitat types in the Willamette Valley. Less than 3% of historic habitat remains, leaving little space for the many plants and animals that rely on these areas for survival. That’s why McKenzie River Trust works closely with our partners to protect and enhance these areas through on-the-ground restoration projects.
Supporting the Return of Good Fire
McKenzie River Trust works with a range of partners. From private landowners to watershed councils, local Tribes, and state and federal agencies, we’re all pulling together for Oregon’s lands and rivers. One aspect of this work is supporting Indigenous-led initiatives to return good fire to the landscape. Fire can seem scary, but our region has relied on traditional burning practices of the Kalapuya People since time immemorial.
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.
One year after devastating wildfires and a summer of unprecedented drought, the first Spring Chinook salmon have arrived at the spawning ground in the McKenzie River near the Finn Rock Reach restoration project to complete the cycle of life for this iconic species.