Are you looking for a gift for someone who has everything?
This holiday season, you can make a tribute gift in honor of a friend or family member, or make a memorial gift in remembrance of a loved one.
A tribute gift is a special way to honor someone’s love for the lands and rivers that make western Oregon such a great place to work, live, and play.
What your gift will do
Your gift supports the protection and care of special places in these watersheds:
McKenzie, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette, Upper Willamette River, and the coastal streams and lakes from Reedsport to Yachats, including the stunning Tenmile Creek drainage.
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.
The downstream run for a juvenile Chinook salmon can be a gauntlet. Flushed from mountain headwaters, they ride high winter flows with logs and stones, avoiding predators, looking for food, seeking to grow before heading out to the ocean. Floodplains and side channels can provide a bounty and a respite, but as waters drop young fish can also be cut off and isolated, trapped in pools and then puddles that warm and make them vulnerable to hungry birds, bull frogs and non-native bass.
This fall on Green Island we brought in the heavy equipment – dump trucks, backhoes, loaders, and even cranes – to provide safer passage for such small fry.
What you’ll see
The next time you cross the old McKenzie channel or “the neck” near the property’s center, you’ll see the results of three major earthworks that will make it easier for young salmon to get in and to get out of the site. The low water crossing, our road access across the historic McKenzie River channel onto the property, has been completely retrofitted with a concrete span engineered to withstand significant winter flooding. Crews have also been hard at work on a side channel of the Willamette River, placing massive logs and root-wads there, creating pools that are perfect for young salmon. And a culvert thirteen feet in diameter will help connect side channels of the mainstem Willamette to the historic McKenzie channel for longer seasonal stretches.
Why are we doing it?
These changes will provide more frequent floodplain connections, better passage for fish through the area, and better places for native fish and wildlife to thrive. The project brought more than $270,000 for local restoration contractors, including R.L. Reimers Company of Albany and the Corvallis-based River Design Group. Grants from the Bonneville Power Administration Willamette Biological Opinion Habitat Technical Team and Natural Resources Conservation Service are funding the work.
In the coming years, we expect to be carrying out similar work around the CARP ponds – the gravel mining site that we added to Green Island in 2010 – so look forward to more big equipment and earth moving on behalf of some tiny little fish.
Thursday December 5th from 5-8pm
At the Oakshire Public House, 221 Madison Street in Eugene
In 2013, Oakshire Brewing set aside 1% of revenue from sales of Watershed IPA in the southern Willamette Valley for the McKenzie River Trust’s work protecting watersheds in western Oregon. Join us at the Oakshire Public House to celebrate this partnership with Oregon Wood Fired Pizza, pints, and other people who care about the health of our rivers and lands.
More about the 1% for Watersheds program
“Our mission is to brew the highest quality beer while providing exceptional service to our customers. We cannot achieve either of these goals without the highest quality ingredients,” said Oakshire Founder Jeff Althouse. “We established a partnership with the McKenzie River Trust in 2011, and quickly realized we wanted to do more to protect our brewing source water.”
Clean water is essential to the brewing process and is a focus point of the Oakshire Brewing community. Eugene was chosen as Oakshire’s location in part due to the accessibility of clean, soft water from the McKenzie River.
“We’re very proud to have again earned Oakshire’s support,” said Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust. “The 1% for Watersheds program demonstrates their ongoing commitment to clean water and healthy watersheds, something that benefits our entire community.” Oakshire previously brewed three beers to benefit the McKenzie River Trust and commemorate EWEB’s 100th Anniversary.
McKenzie River Trust is committed to a future in which intact, functioning ecosystems provide clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and productive natural landscapes throughout western Oregon.
Oakshire Brewing of Eugene, Oregon was founded in October 2006 and has become regionally and nationally recognized for consistently brewing fresh, unique and delicious beers. The name Oakshire represents their core values: Strength, Independence, and Community. Learn more about Oakshire Brewing, their craft beers, brewery events, tours and tastings at http://oakbrew.com.
Your donations help expand the Coyote Spencer Wetlands
We’re excited to announce that on November 8th – thanks to the generous support of people like you – we added 29 acres to the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, a special place you helped us protect in 2012. The conservation area now totals 190 acres and includes several miles of Coyote and Spencer creeks surrounded by large swaths of forested wetlands, marshy emergent wetlands, and a small area of drier meadows.
Local nursery owner Glenda Bloomer sold the property to the McKenzie River Trust. In honor of her late husband, avid cyclist James Bloomer, and his devotion to the land, Ms. Bloomer said, “James loved this place. He would be so happy to know that it will be cared for forever.”
In recent years, the Trust and our partners at the Long Tom Watershed Council have focused more conservation efforts on Coyote and Spencer Creeks as we’ve learned more about their fish and wildlife habitat values. In the last issue of this newsletter, we told you of the purchase of 52-acre Spencer Swamp, just a few miles away from this latest acquisition on Spencer Creek.
Why is protecting wetlands so important?
Wetlands like these will provide a degree of resilience in the face of climate change. As we experience more intensive winter storms, hotter, drier summers, and the arrival of new species, wetlands can buffer and better hold water across seasons, while also filtering runoff from surrounding hard surfaces and developed lands. They can provide oases for wildlife during the hottest times of the summer. And because of the unique way that water moves through wetland soils, these places will continue to support only those species that are adapted to wetness, reducing the risk of warm climate invasive species becoming established.
A network of protected lands, like we are establishing along the Spencer and Coyote Creek corridors, can provide a meaningful buffer for surrounding lands and help ensure that native wildlife and working lands can continue to coexist, even in the midst of climate change. And it’s your donations that make all the difference! Thank you!
Keep the momentum going
Do you want to see more special places protected in our region? Then now is a great time to give to the McKenzie River Trust!
You love healthy natural lands. Now will you invest in their protection?
We share your passion.
Today, you have a special opportunity to support the McKenzie River Trust. People like you support our work – people who share your love for clean rivers, healthy forests and natural areas. And because of your donation, others will be able to experience the natural treasures we enjoy today, long after we are gone.
Ten years ago MRT Board, staff and supporters brought such a desire to a big, complicated land transaction. The Green Island project was born, and MRT was transformed. This past summer we celebrated on site – perhaps you joined us?
As we shared the day with 800 others, we learned more about the experiences that drive all of us to support land and water conservation. We wrap those interests into every new project we pursue. And we’re thankful for the good fortune we’ve enjoyed.
But what if that were not the case?
What if land protection stopped, and there were fewer and fewer outlets for our love of nature? I suspect you’ve seen special places that were dear to you get paved over or crowded out.
A fear of such losses also drives our work. We never want to say, “What a shame…” about the places we enjoy today.
Here’s how your gift will continue to make a difference.
In the last month we were able to increase the size of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands by 20%. We bought the extra ground from a neighbor who shares our love for the wetlands. We did so with grants and gifts from people like you. So when we head back out there next spring to tour the wildflowers and hear the birds, that much more of their home will be secure.
Your gifts help us sink roots deeper into a passion for local foods and clean water. Our partners at the Berggren Farm produced fresh vegetables and poultry for local markets and schools on land nourished by the McKenzie River. And within the Duncan Island protected area, Joy and David Pippenger of Whiskey Creek Organics filled a CSA and grocers’ shelves with organic fruits and vegetables. Right alongside a rich maze of Siuslaw River estuary channels that nurture young coho salmon, crabs, and shrimp.
If you join us at Green Island for the next Living River Celebration – mark your calendars for June 28, 2014! – you’ll do so over a new crossing that is better both for our access and for the native fish that thrive there. And you’ll see new connections between the old McKenzie and the new Willamette channels.
Gifts from people like you make that happen as well.
And in just another month or two, we expect to see a big announcement from the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Oregon Chub will be proposed for de-listing from the Endangered Species Act. This would be the first time ever that a listed freshwater fish has made such a recovery in the United States.
And when you make a donation to the McKenzie River Trust, you’ll have a hand in it. Places like McKenzie Oxbow and Big Island – places that were protected in years past thanks to the generosity of people just like you – have become havens for chub.
So you see, protected areas do make a difference.
And it’s your passion for making that difference that allows us to protect and care for special lands together.
Join us for dinner, brew, and live music at McMenamins North Bank, 22 Club Road in Eugene, on Tuesday, September 24th. 50% of all the night’s sales will be donated to the McKenzie River Trust! Bring your friends and family and join us for a wonderful evening along the Willamette River.
The McKenzie River Trust protects and cares for special lands and the rivers that flow through them in western Oregon. Working along the Willamette, the McKenzie, and throughout six other watersheds in our region, the McKenzie River Trust is committed to a future in which intact, functioning ecosystems provide clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and productive natural landscapes throughout western Oregon. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to the McKenzie River Trust.
Local design/remodeling company Neil Kelly is partnering with Clean Energy Works Oregon to offer FREE home energy audits and solar evaluations. And Neil Kelly will donate $100 to the McKenzie River Trust for everyone who signs up.
Here’s how it works:
1. Apply:Click here to fill out a brief form on the Clean Energy Works Oregon website, and get going right away.
2. Assess: A representative from Neil Kelly will contact you to schedule your free home energy assessment. Then MRT receives a donation of $100 for every assessment completed!
3. Transform: Neil Kelly will walk you through your options for saving money and making your home more comfortable with improved insulation, duct sealing, upgraded windows, solar energy and more. There is no obligation to buy.
McKenzie River Trust Invites the Community to Explore
10 Years of Habitat Conservation on Property Near Eugene
[EUGENE, ORE.] When you picture re-forestation in Oregon, you might imagine the cool mountains of the Cascades or Coast range. But a different kind of re-forestation has been steadily enhancing native habitat on the Willamette Valley floor for the past 8 years, much closer to Eugene than you may know. With the Living River Celebration: 10 Years on Green Island from 7am to 5pm on Saturday, June 29, the McKenzie River Trust invites the community to explore this special place just 15 minutes from downtown Eugene or Springfield.
Green Island is located at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers just west of Coburg, OR. Since 2006, the McKenzie River Trust has been undertaking an ambitious habitat restoration project on the property, planting tens of thousands of trees, removing barriers to floodplain connectivity, and enhancing side channels of the Willamette and historic McKenzie rivers. The restoration has already provided benefits to Chinook salmon, Red-legged frogs, Western Meadowlarks, and many more native species.
Ten years ago, the McKenzie River Trust was able to purchase 865 acres of land from the Green family, who had a vision for a restored natural area on farmland that was subject to flooding. Funding for the purchase was provided by the Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, Eugene Water and Electric Board, US Fish and Wildlife Service’s North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and individual supporters of the Trust.
Today, the Green Island habitat complex measures nearly 1,100 acres thanks to additional land transactions that have expanded the conserved area.
The McKenzie River Trust frequently hosts small tours and volunteer events on the land, but for the Living River Celebration on Saturday, June 29, an array of offerings will greet visitors interested in nature. “Many people have helped us plant trees, pull weeds, and learn about this place over the last ten years,” says Joe Moll, McKenzie River Trust Executive Director. “While enjoying a walkabout, music, canoeing, tree climbing, and a picnic beside two of our community’s great rivers at the Living River Celebration, you can see some of the changes that have occurred thanks to that support, and help us think about the next ten years of work to be done.”
The Living River Celebration is sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. The event is free and family friendly. Gates will open at 7am and close at 5pm. The full day of activities on the land includes:
Exploring nearly 7 miles of trails. Points of interest throughout the Island will tell the story of this special place where wildflowers bloom, salmon hide, turtles bask, and volunteers plant trees, restoring the floodplain forest.
Free guided walks all day. Choices include: early morning Bird Walks, an Ethnobotany Walk, two Green Island Restoration Tours, an Amphibian and Reptile Walk with Dr. Tom Titus, a Dragonfly & Damselfly Walk with Cary Kerst, a Nature Tour with Bruce Newhouse and Peg Boulay, and a Native Plant and Herb Walk with Mountain Rose Herbs.
Canoeing and Kayaking: Explore a bit of a historic McKenzie River channel on the water. Try paddling a canoe or kayak for free, offered by Oregon Paddle Sports.
Tree Climbing: Get a bird’s-eye view by climbing up into a cedar tree with the experts from the Pacific Tree Climbing Institute.
Music: The Blue McKenzie (11am-12pm) acoustic trio returns to Green Island. Then from 1-3pm, The Whiskey Chasers will bring their bluegrass-old-time-country, grassytonk-dance-stomp to the stage.
Oakshire Brewing will join in the celebration by serving their Watershed IPA. Through Oakshire’s 1% for Watersheds program, the brewery is donating 1% of all sales of Watershed IPA in the Southern Willamette Valley in 2013 to the McKenzie River Trust.
Food: Sammitch Food Cart will serve up their unique local fare. So Delicious Dairy Free will also be giving away frozen treats. Or you can bring your own picnic. You can also fill up your water bottle with fresh water from McKenzie Mist.
Booths: Learn about the history of Green Island, the work of the McKenzie River Trust, partner organizations and lots more at The Hub’s educational booths. Booths include: McKenzie River Trust; McKenzie Watershed Council; Long Tom Watershed Council; Siuslaw Watershed Council; Middle Fork Watershed Council; Mountain Rose Herbs; Eugene Water and Electric Board; Terra Tech; McKenzie River History with the University of Oregon Environmental Leadership Program and McKenzie River Mobile Museum; Hands-On Nature with David Walp’s amazing touch & feel mammal specimen collection; and Karma’s Forest Native Nursery with examples of the native plants used to restore Green Island’s habitat.
About the McKenzie River Trust:
The mission of the McKenzie River Trust (MRT) is to protect and care for special lands and the rivers the flow through them in western Oregon. Formed in 1989, MRT is committed to a future in which intact, functioning ecosystems provide clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and productive natural landscapes throughout western Oregon. In the year 2000, MRT expanded its service area from a focus solely on the McKenzie watershed, the source of Eugene and Springfield’s drinking water. Today, MRT works in the watersheds of the McKenzie, Long Tom, Upper Willamette, Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette, Umpqua, Siuslaw, and coastal streams and lakes from Reedsport to Yachats. Throughout its history, MRT has worked with landowners and diverse partnerships to protect, forever, over 3,650 acres of special lands in western Oregon. Green Island, a 1,100-acre property at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, is MRT’s largest protected property.
Eagle Scout completes volunteer service project on
Coyote Spencer Wetlands
Kolton Baldree of Walton, a sophomore at Elmira High School, recently completed his community service project for his Eagle Scout ranking, the highest ranking attainable in the Boy Scouting program. Kolton constructed a boot scrubbing kiosk at the Coyote Spencer Wetlands (CSW), a botanically rich landscape acquired by the McKenzie River Trust in 2012. In order to help limit weeds on the property, the boot scrubber will enable site managers, conservation partners, and public tour participants to scrub weed seeds from their footwear as they walk onto the site.
A community member donated the materials for the project, and Kolton has been working on it for the past few months. On Wednesday, Kolton completed the installation of the interpretive sign that teaches people the value of cleaning their shoes and the importance of doing so on a property like the Coyote Spencer Wetlands.
The CSW contains over 300 species of plants, more than half of which are native and several of which are very rare, including suncups, federally-endangered Bradshaw’s lomatium, Hitchcock’s blue-eyed grass, and thin-leaved peavine. MRT is managing the property for these and other native plant species.
Historically, the property was grazed, and several pasture grasses, notably meadow foxtail, now dominate the meadow areas. MRT is working to reverse the dominance of introduced species through annual mowing and other measures. One factor that will continue to influence how healthy native plant communities are in the meadow areas is the introduction of weed seed. More weeds means less light, water, and soil nutrients will be available for native species.
The boot scrubbing kiosk will help reduce the weed seed being brought into the site over time, increasing the chances that the CSW will be a haven for native plant species and the wildlife species that depend on them.
On behalf of the McKenzie River Trust board, staff, partners and supporters – A huge thanks to Kolton for making this project happen, for contributing something of tremendous value to the property’s conservation value, and for building the Trust’s first-ever boot scrubbing kiosk!