Beers Made By Walking

Brewers to create drinkable portraits of protected lands

Beers Made By Walking, a program that invites brewers to go on nature hikes and make beer inspired by plants found on the trail, is partnering with McKenzie River Trust for a series of three walks this summer and a beer-tasting fundraiser in the fall.

Beers Made By Walking invites brewers and interested community members to go on nature hikes guided by local conservation and plant experts. Brewers attending the hikes are challenged to create a unique hike-inspired beer that serves as a drinkable, landscape portrait of the trails that are walked.

The resulting beers will be served at a special event on November 5th at The Bier Stein, and proceeds from the beers will benefit the McKenzie River Trust. Partnering breweries/cideries in the Eugene/Springfield area include Claim 52 Brewing, Elk Horn Brewery, Agrarian Ales, Oakshire Brewing, Falling Sky Brewing, Viking Braggot Company, and WildCraft Cider Works.

Hike on the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area

Thursday, June 4 from 6 to 8 pmRegister now!
This Beers Made by Walking tour explores the riparian forest and field edges of Berggren along the lower McKenzie River, a special place where farming and conservation come together. This tour will be guided by Jared Pruch, coordinator for the Berggren Demonstration Farm and joined by brewers from Claim 52, Elk Horn Brewery, Falling Sky Brewing, and Viking Braggot Company.

Hike on Green Island during the Living River Celebration

Saturday, June 27, time TBAGet more info
As part of the Living River Celebration, come and explore a natural area just 15 minutes from downtown Eugene. Green Island is McKenzie River Trust’s largest property and an ecologically diverse river system. The Living River Celebration will feature music, refreshments, and is family friendly event. This tour will be one of many offered during the day. It will be guided by Jenny Getty and hikers will be joined by brewers from Agrarian Ales and Oakshire Brewing.

Hike at the Hagens’ Confluence Farm on Ferguson Creek

Thursday, July 30 from 6 to 8 pmGet more info
This Beers Made By Walking tour explores Trey and Tammie Hagen’s family land near Monroe. Visit the intact, meandering section of Ferguson Creek that runs through the property, as well as the hay fields and blueberry patches of Confluence Farm, the Hagens’ berry operation. Located in the Pacific Flyway, one of several major routes across North America for migrating waterfowl, this walk will take hikers back in time to a homestead in the early settlement days of the Willamette Valley. The tour will be guided by plant and ethnobotany expert Heiko Koester and joined by brewers from Planktown Brewing and WildCraft Cider Works.

Beers Made By Walking Release Party at The Bier Stein

Thursday, November 5 from 5 to 8 pmGet more info
Taste the beers made by walking on MRT lands! Mark your calendars for this party at the Bier Stein, where you can meet the all the participating brewers and sample the unique beers inspired by the hikes. A portion of proceeds from this event will be donated to the McKenzie River Trust.

Oregon chub makes history

Landowner-Nonprofit Partnerships Aid in Recovery of Oregon Chub

Small minnow native to the Willamette Valley is the first fish proposed for removal from the Endangered Species List due to recovery

Nonprofits and private landowners have played an important role in the historic recovery of Oregon chub, a small minnow native to the Willamette Valley. On February 4, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to remove the Oregon chub from the Endangered Species List due to its recovery. If finalized, it would be the first fish to be delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act.

Robyn Thorson, Regional Director of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, announces the proposed delisting of Oregon chub from the Endangered Species Act on February 4, 2014. Behind her stand biologists Brian Bangs and Paul Sheerer of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife who have spent their careers helping to conserve and protect this native minnow that is found only in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
The historic announcement was made from the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area, a 92-acre property owned by the McKenzie River Trust (MRT). MRT is a land trust formed in 1989 to protect clean water, fish and wildlife habitat, and productive natural lands in western Oregon. The Berggren property was selected for the announcement because it contains a natural population of Oregon chub that has been growing over the past few years within some of the best side channel and floodplain forest habitat found on the lower McKenzie River. Since 2001, MRT has worked with private landowners to permanently protect habitat for chub and other species on six properties on this stretch of the river. These linked conservation areas help ensure that as the river continues to meander and change, there will always be suitable habitats for chub and other aquatic species.

“Protecting and caring for healthy habitat across the floodplain has been a key to chub recovery,” said Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust. “Here in Oregon, we live, work, and play among living rivers. We are proud to be a part of a partnership that has helped this native fish make a comeback. It is good news not only for chub, but for everything that depends on clean water and a healthy river. And that’s all of us.”

Chub ecology

More than 70 people attended the historic announcement, which was hosted on the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area, a 92-acre property owned by the McKenzie River Trust. The property is home to a natural population of chub as well as an active farm called the Berggren Demonstration Farm.
The chub is a small minnow existing only in the Willamette River Basin in floodplain habitats with limited or seasonal water flow such as beaver ponds, side channels and flooded marshes. These rare habitats generally have considerable aquatic vegetation to provide cover for hiding and spawning, and they are also home to other species of concern such as Chinook salmon, Red-legged frogs, and Western pond turtles.

Oregon chub were listed as endangered in 1993 under the Endangered Species Act and reclassified as threatened in 2009. If delisting is finalized, the fish will have gone from endangered to recovered in just over 20 years.

A home for chub

A private landowner sold the Berggren property to MRT in 2010. The purchase was supported by grant funding from the Bonneville Power Administration’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, the McKenzie Watershed Council and the Eugene Water and Electric Board. The property contains about 60 acres of riparian habitat next to 30 acres of farmland managed by Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development as the Berggren Demonstration Farm. The Farm is supported by EWEB’s Healthy Farms Clean Water program.

“We use ecologically appropriate farming practices so that we don’t harm species like chub,” said Jared Pruch, Coordinator for the Berggren Demonstration Farm. “We’re proud to partner with the McKenzie River Trust, McKenzie Watershed Council, EWEB, and others to build a strong local food system and engage the community to learn how to farm in a way that supports our native habitats.”

“What’s unique and exciting about the Berggren property is the opportunity to integrate restoration and education within the context of a collaborative partnership with the Trust, Farm and local schools,” said Jared Weybright, Project Manager for the McKenzie Watershed Council and coordinator of much of the restoration happening on the Berggren property. “Students participate through active involvement in tree planting and monitoring both the progress of the restoration work and natural conditions throughout the property.”

Diverse partnerships lead to success

The McKenzie River Trust has worked closely with biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to monitor populations of Oregon chub on six properties owned by MRT on the McKenzie River. MRT and other nonprofits have also worked to enhance habitat for chub on these properties, with benefits for other aquatic species such as Chinook salmon, Western pond turtles, Red-legged frogs, and more.
Partnerships have been the foundation of the Oregon chub’s recovery, beginning with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s conservation planning efforts which led to the development of the species’ recovery plan. The McKenzie Watershed Council, Long Tom Watershed Council, and Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council have helped coordinate many private landowners who have contributed to the recovery of Oregon chub by managing habitats to support the fish on their lands. In some cases, private landowners have also created habitat to support introductions of the species on their property. Other key partners include Lane County, which owns parkland adjacent to the Berggren property that is home to several natural chub populations, and the Meyer Memorial Trust, which has catalyzed habitat conservation efforts basin-wide through the Willamette River Initiative. Many public agencies also manage habitats that support Oregon chub populations.

The McKenzie Watershed Council regularly hosts field-based learning sessions on the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. These Thurston Middle School students are planting trees on the Berggren property while learning about riparian habitats and the creatures that live there.
“Efforts to conserve Oregon chub have been collective in the Willamette Valley. This recovery clearly demonstrates how a listed species can make a comeback in a highly populated, working landscape,” said Paul Scheerer, Oregon Chub Recovery Project Leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now has up to one year to determine whether the proposal should become final. The Service will open a 60-day public comment period to allow the public to review and comment on the proposal and provide additional information. The final decision whether or not to delist the Oregon chub will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available.

In the meantime, groups like the McKenzie River Trust, McKenzie Watershed Council, and Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development will continue to coordinate with biologists from state and federal agencies to track chub populations and protect and restore habitat for the many creatures that benefit from healthy natural lands.

Growing Food & Protecting Clean Water

Farming and Conservation on MRT Properties

Many people think of land conservation and farming as opposites. But on properties protected by the McKenzie River Trust, land owners and managers are doing both, balancing our communities’ need for fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat, while protecting drinking water, and conserving natural areas where salmon thrive riparian forests tower high above clean flowing rivers. Here are two farms that are doing just that.

Berggren Demonstration Farm – McKenzie Watershed

As you prepare for Thanksgiving dinner this year, know that there’s a new place in town to get your turkey. The Berggren Demonstration Farm is concluding its second year of production this winter. The farm is located on lower McKenzie River property that MRT acquired in 2010, and it is managed by Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation & Development. This collaboration among the Trust, CPRCD, and EWEB is an effort to protect clean drinking water, integrate farming and conservation, and teach young people about growing food. Right now, the farm is growing chickens, ducks, turkeys, goats, rabbits, chicken eggs, and more. For more information visit berggren-farm.org.

Whiskey Creek Organics – Siuslaw Watershed

Looking for fresh food in Florence? Whiskey Creek Organics, a family farm on Duncan Island near Mapleton, grows tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, peppers, and much more. David and Joy Pippenger’s mission is to grow the best food possible with the least amount of “off farm” inputs as possible. The Pippengers’ property is protected under a conservation easement held by MRT. Framed by towering Sitka spruce, the estuary wetlands there provide tremendous nursery habitat for salmon and many marine animals. And MRT staff can personally vouch for the deliciousness of the farm’s raspberries! For more information visit whiskeycreekorganics.com.

Running for the River

A Washington DC man runs a marathon and raises money in memory of his step-father

A fundraiser in memory of river-lover Timmy O’Grady, pictured here at center, continues through July 31. Timmy is shown here rafting the McKenzie.

Steven Putansu was looking for a way to memorialize his step-father, who died last summer after a sudden and short illness. Timmy O’Grady was only 52 years old.

“I wanted to do something good in his name,” Steven said.

“Timmy truly loved spending time in the woods, being in nature, and getting that fresh Oregon air. When he and my mom moved to live along the McKenzie, Timmy felt he’d accomplished his life’s dream.”

Steven, who lives in Washington DC, decided to run the Foot Traffic Flat marathon in Oregon in memory of his step-father on July 4, 2012, near the one year anniversary of Timmy’s death. “People run marathons for causes all the time, so I thought I could turn this into something to remember Timmy.” Through a google search, Steven found the McKenzie River Trust. “It was a perfect fit. Timmy wasn’t an environmentalist, but he loved being outside, getting lost in the woods, and he loved the river. What he would want with every fiber of his being was that this land and this river would stay as it is for as long as it could.”

Steven began training for the marathon in February while working full time and writing his PhD dissertation in Public Administration. He’s been keeping a blog about his training runs and sharing memories of Timmy. “When I’ve got a story about Timmy in my mind, the blog is a good way to get that out,” says Steven. “Running relieves some of the stress and reduces the sadness, too.”

“Timmy was probably my most important role model. He was a truck driver, one of the best drivers out there, and one of 14 siblings. I haven’t followed exactly in his footsteps, but my whole life I’ve tried to emulate the man Timmy was.”

On July 9, 2012, Steven Putansu, second from right, and his family planted a native Oregon ash tree at the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. The tree, planted for Timmy O’Grady, will serve as a living memorial.

Steven has raised $2,829 for the McKenzie River Trust, exceeding his goal of $100 for every mile of the marathon. “When it comes down to it,” Steven said, “Timmy loved just being near the river.” Now Steven’s efforts and the donations of his friends and family will help protect and care for the place that Timmy cherished.

Update: Steven completed the marathon in 4:20. On July 9, 2012, the one year anniversary of Timmy’s death, Steven and his family planted a native Oregon ash tree at the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. The tree will serve as a living memory to Timmy. Steven will continue accepting donations for his fundraiser through July 31 at http://www.active.com/donate/McKenzieRiverTrust/R4R

Visit Steven’s running blog: runningfortheriver.blogspot.com

Would you like to run a marathon for land conservation like Steven?

Or maybe you’re celebrating an anniversary, planning a wedding, or would like to honor someone special by raising money in their name. With your own online fundraising page, it’s easy to reach out to family and friends. We can help. For more information, contact Brandi Ferguson, Development Manager: 541-345-2799 or brandi@mckenzieriver.org.

Connect with the Land

Connect with the Land

Get outside! Our guided tours are a great way to learn about the natural world, meet our staff and Board members, and experience the McKenzie River Trust’s protected landscapes for yourself. Tours are guided by community experts in natural history, native plants, birds, and other areas of interest, along with McKenzie River Trust staff. Tours are free, and they’re open to friends old and new. Please join us by signing up today!

Upcoming Tours

Saturday, April 28, 1 – 4pm: Spring at Hollyer Prairie
Saturday, May 5, 10am – 2pm: Native Plants of the Lower McKenzie
Thursday, May 17, 8am – 11am: Birds of Green Island
Saturday, May 19, 9am – 12pm: Picturing Birds and Buds – Photo Tour of the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area

Tours are generally limited to 15 people, and they often fill quickly! If a tour is full, please contact Liz at 541-345-2799 or llawrence (at) mckenzieriver.org and we will gladly add you to the wait list.

For volunteer opportunities, community events, and other ways to get involved with the McKenzie River Trust, visit our Events page.

 

Picturing Birds and Buds: Photo Tour

Saturday, May 19th from 9am to 12pm

Grab your camera! This springtime tour of the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area‘s farm fields and floodplain forest offers something for photographers of all levels. From the birds overhead, to the flowers blooming at your feet, to pastoral farm fields and the flowing backwater channels of the McKenzie River, this 92-acre landscape will give you plenty to explore and enjoy. Your camera is welcome on any of our tours, but this one will provide a special chance to get the perfect shot. Your pictures will show a landscape at the intersection of conservation and farming. Continue reading “Picturing Birds and Buds: Photo Tour”

Native Plants of the Lower McKenzie

Saturday, May 5 from 10am to 2pm

Join the McKenzie River Trust, Native Plant Society of Oregon and Lane County Parks to explore riparian forest and upland prairie plants on a tour of the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area and neighboring Vickery Park. We begin at the Berggren property, touring the farm fields and riparian area with an eye to habitat restoration. Pause for a BYO bag lunch by the McKenzie River, then continue on to the undeveloped and relatively pristine Vickery County Park next door. This riverside park of 80 acres covers a steep, rocky hillside. Diverse habitats include oak savanna and dense forest.

Register here for Native Plants of the Lower McKenzie

Skookumchuck Wild Ale Available Now

Skookumchuck Wild Ale, Oakshire’s third beer brewed to celebrate The Eugene Water and Electric Board’s Centennial year of service is on sale now. Proceeds from the beer benefit the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area. (Please note: as of February, 2012, Skookumchuck Wild Ale is SOLD OUT! Thank you to everyone who purchased bottles of this very special beer.)

Continue reading “Skookumchuck Wild Ale Available Now”

Local beers benefit watershed protection

Oakshire Brewing is stepping up to create three separate beers to raise money for the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area, a property owned and protected by the McKenzie River Trust. The beers honor the Eugene Water and Electric Board‘s first 100 years of service to Eugene. Continue reading “Local beers benefit watershed protection”

Naturalist Tour of Berggren Watershed Conservation Area

Visit the McKenzie River Trust’s 92-acre property on the Lower McKenzie River with ornithologist Dan Gleason. Learn more about habitat restoration, plants and animals – especially birds – that make their homes here.

Sunday, October 2, 2011
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Continue reading “Naturalist Tour of Berggren Watershed Conservation Area”