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Want to help spread the word on #GivingTuesday? Here are some graphics you can share on social media and email to your friends.

Click here to read the story of Julia and Hugo.

 

 

 

A generous gift protects an oak woodland

The newest protected area in the Umpqua River Watershed

Photo by Ryan Ruggiero

Landowners Joyce Machado and Dale Carey donated a conservation easement protecting oak woodlands and a portion of Pollock Creek to the McKenzie River Trust. Photo by Bruce Newhouse.
Dale Carey had no idea oak trees would be such a big part of his life.

Dale and his wife Joyce Machado retired to 62 acres of oak woodlands on Pollock Creek in Douglas County nine years ago. “The minute we got off the road, I said I like this place already,” recalls Dale. “It’s beautiful land, that’s about all I can say.”

A self-described nature person, Dale spends most of his time on his land. He tries to walk it every day. He knows practically every tree and rock, having worked extensively to restore habitat on the property.

In late November, Dale and Joyce took another step to protect their land by donating a conservation easement to the McKenzie River Trust. The easement permanently protects the impressive oak habitat, upland prairie, marsh, and forested wetlands from future development or commercial use.

“It’s about the oak trees.”

Jim Lee, a Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District employee, inspired Dale and Joyce to make some big changes on the property – changes that eventually led them to the ‘forever’ protection of a conservation easement.

Joyce met Jim at an open house at Kanipe County Park, just down the road from the couple’s property. When she began telling him about the oaks on their land, Jim’s eyes lit up. Jim visited Dale and Joyce’s land many times in the coming years. He described what oak habitat offers for native critters and suggested they remove the fir trees that were beginning to crowd out the oaks.

While hesitant to cut any trees at first, Dale and Joyce used Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service funds, matched by their own savings, to thin out their stands. They sent the downed firs to a lumber mill. Dale was determined that all the proceeds – over $20,000 – should go back into the land. Then Cindy Bright, also from the Soil and Water Conservation District, helped Dale and Joyce improve the habitat in Pollock Creek for coho salmon.

“Jim convinced me,” said Dale. “Oak trees have character, plus they support all kinds of life. I never knew that before I met Jim Lee.”

Jim died in 2011 at age 49 after an intense battle with cancer. Speaking with Dale today, you can hear how Jim’s legacy of supporting private landowners in their restoration work will live on in the oak trees of Douglas County.

Protected forever

At some point in those many years of restoration work together, Jim suggested that Dale and Joyce consider a conservation easement to permanently protect their property for fish and wildlife. The McKenzie River Trust came up. As Dale recalls, the organization was “just another abbreviation,” part of the alphabet soup of the conservation world.

Then Land Protection Manager Ryan Ruggiero came for a visit, and the possibility of long-term protection became more real.

When asked how he feels about his property being protected, Dale gets philosophical. “Forever. What a concept. I hope that’s the way it is.”

“Life is just slower up here,” says Dale. “We see lots of deer . . . There’s elk and bear from time to time, and beaver and [coho] salmon down at the creek.” Dale loves to catch sight of a western bluebird or pileated woodpecker, and hummingbirds and vultures migrate through.

Now, thanks to Dale and Joyce, and years of encouragement and effort by Jim Lee, all those creatures and their homes will be protected. Forever.

#GivingTuesday

Julia looked around cautiously.

The sun gleamed over the hilltop above the Coyote Spencer Wetlands. It looked safe. But Julia was wary; she knew there were people nearby.

Julia reared up and sniffed the air, balancing her 170 pounds of flesh and fur carefully atop her muscular hind legs. She dug her claws into the dirt, and slowly turned east, then west. She tilted her ears to the wind, listening for anything that might seem out of place. A red-tailed hawk circled above, calling kee-eeee-ar! A song sparrow flitted from an ash tree to a snowberry bush.

With a quiet grunt and a determined look, Julia signaled to Hugo. It was okay to come out of the woods now. The grove of oak and ash trees had been a great place for them to spend the last few hours, the warmest part of the day. In the shade of the big trees, in the grass, mama bear and her cub, taking a nap. This was a place they came back to, just about every day.

Hugo careened out of the woods. He was too little to understand the danger. Julia knew she would have to watch him closely. A little bear like Hugo could get into a lot of trouble. But luckily, they had found a terrific place to spend the fall.

This #GivingTuesday, you can protect their home…

In the photos up above, you can see just who we’ve been talking about: two bears, a mama and baby who we’re calling Julia and Hugo. They were caught on one of our wildlife cams this fall.

Thanks to people like you, the place that Julia and Hugo found is protected.

With the support of our generous members, we bought it two years ago and have been protecting it for the bears, the hawks, the sparrows, oak trees, praying mantises, and so much more.

Without people like you – people who care about these incredible wetlands – places like these and the refuge they provide will be less and less common each year.

You are the reason Julia and Hugo can find food and shelter on the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, a preserve just five miles from Eugene!

What will your #GivingTuesday donation do?

With your gift today to the McKenzie River Trust, you help us provide a home for Julia and Hugo on this protected land.

And you help us get out there to protect the next one.

Will you give $50 now to offer Julia and Hugo a place to rest, to grow, and to thrive?

You can also call our office to give over the phone: 541-345-2799.

Your $50 gift today will leverage over $1 million in grant funding in 2015. You help us protect and restore wetlands, prairies, forests, and riverbanks from the Cascade mountains to the Oregon coast.

We need your support on this #GivingTuesday. Help us raise $3,000 by midnight so we can get out there to protect and care for the special places where Julia and Hugo live.

Will you please contribute $50 or more today?

To learn more about the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, click here.

What is #GivingTuesday?

Following Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday is December 2 this year.

Here’s the idea, from the #GivingTuesday website: “We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.”

So on behalf of the McKenzie River Trust, on December 2nd you’re invited to give to your favorite causes, to share how you give with your friends, and to join a global and local community of givers. Our goal is to raise at least $3,000 on December 2nd. Help us make it happen!

On #GivingTuesday, download this graphic and share it with your friends on social media to help protect Julie and Hugo’s home!

Click here for more downloadable graphics to share on social media.

We need your comments

McKenzie River Trust Land Trust Accreditation Renewal

Open for Public Comment until November 21, 2014

Did you know that land trusts can become accredited, just like colleges and universities? Accreditation recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, is the organization that certifies accredited land trusts. The McKenzie River Trust first earned accreditation in March, 2010, and we are now applying for renewal of accreditation. A public comment period is now open on our renewal application. As part of this process, the Commission is conducting an extensive review of our policies and programs.

We need your comments!

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how McKenzie River Trust complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. Click here to learn more about these standards.

To learn more about the accreditation program, click here. You can submit your comment online, or email it to info@landtrustaccreditation.org.

Comments may also be faxed or mailed to:

Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments
36 Phila Street, Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.
(fax) 518-587-3183

Comments on McKenzie River Trust’s application will be most useful by November 21, 2014

Thanks to you, wetlands are protected!

Wetlands and oaks near Fern Ridge will be a home to wildlife and fish, forever.

The Coyote Oaks Conservation Easement permanently protects 152 acres of wetlands and oaks just north of Fern Ridge Reservoir in the Long Tom River Watershed. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

There’s a tucked away spot just north of Fern Ridge Reservoir where – just about any time of year – you can hear the loud waka-waka-waka of an acorn woodpecker. Huge expanses of wetlands and oak trees thrive here. And thanks to the foresight of a restoration-conscious landowner and the support of the Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and people like you, this place will be protected forever.

The Coyote Oaks Conservation Easement was signed in September, and with that, 152 acres of forested wetlands and marsh are protected from future development and commercial use.

The land is owned by longtime Eugene residents and MRT supporters Art and Anita Johnson. Mr. Johnson has completed numerous projects to enhance wetland and oak woodland habitat on the Coyote Oaks property. He’s won awards for his land stewardship on this property and others.

Strong partners

Meaningful partnerships play a role in the project, too. The Long Tom Watershed Council, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Army Corps of Engineers all have a presence in the neighborhood, working towards a vision for a 1,200-acre natural area surrounding the property. When you get to that scale, you can amplify the benefits of conserving a single parcel. Partners helped identify the Coyote Oaks property as a conservation priority due to its extremely high-quality wetland and oak habitat.

Nootka rose is one of many native plants growing on the Coyote Oaks Conservation Easement. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

This rare habitat means that there is exceptional ecological diversity on the property. Bradshaw’s lomatium, red-legged frog, cutthroat trout, slender-billed nuthatch, yellow-breasted chat, and western bluebird have all been spotted here. It’s not unusual to see signs of elk, bobcat, black bear, and river otter.

Ownership in the area is a mix of public and private land, with federal agencies managing over 700 acres and private landowners committing to permanent land protection on 260 acres through easements held by MRT. The Johnsons now join them.

Funding for land protection

The Bonneville Power Administration and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife provided funding for the project through the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program, with additional support from individual donors like you. The grant to purchase the Conservation Easement was awarded through a competitive application process. The Coyote Oaks project was the second highest ranked project for the Willamette Valley in 2014, showing the importance of this investment for land conservation in our region.

The Willamette Wildlife Habitat Agreement, which created the grant program that funded the acquisition, was signed in October of 2010 between BPA and the state of Oregon. This 15-year agreement provides stable funding for wildlife habitat acquisitions for more than 26,000 acres in the Willamette Valley to offset the impacts of federal dams on the Willamette River and its tributaries, as required by the Northwest Power Act.

Flushing for fish

Restoration of the former Coburg Aggregate gravel pits on Green Island is all about working with the water we have.

If you ask Chris Vogel, the $1 million restoration project happening this summer on Green Island is all about flushing.

Wildish Construction Company crews moved over 110,000 cubic yards of gravel to create habitat for fish at the Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project on Green Island. Photo by River Design Group.

“We’ll be working with the same amount of water we used to get on site,” says Chris, who has been Green Island‘s restoration Project Manager for six years. “It’s just where it goes and how and how long it stays that’s different.”

Flushing is simple: in a healthy river system, you’ve got water in, and water out. When a side channel fills up and then empties out, at least a couple times a year during high water events, the river flushes any ponded water and the critters living in it down the channel. In a natural area, this flushing provides a huge range of benefits for fish and wildlife.

The CARP site is in an active side channel of the Willamette River. We call this area the historic McKenzie River channel, because the main channel of the McKenzie River flowed right through here before the big 1964 floods which moved the McKenzie-Willamette confluence to where it is today, just south of Green Island. The channel has water year round, even more in the winter.

But it’s far from a natural area.

An altered landscape

CARP stands for Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project. Until the McKenzie River Trust purchased this 56-acre parcel in 2010, the site was mined for sand and gravel. And that created steep gravel pits with few places for native plants to take hold.

“Before restoration, when that historic McKenzie River channel filled up, it would overtop into the pits. Lots of fish – both native and non-native – would get trapped until the next high flow,” says Chris.

In other words: no flushing.

The fish didn’t have a way to escape back into the channel as the water dropped. So, stranded, the fish lived their lives in the pits. “More frequent flushing will get them out,” says Chris.

Restoration solutions

The solution is to use heavy construction equipment to grade the slopes to a more natural rise of one foot up for every ten feet out. And that’s exactly what we did this summer at CARP, hiring the Wildish Construction Company to move 125,000 cubic yards of gravel to create those slopes and the right entry and exit points for the ponds to be much friendlier to native Willamette spring Chinook salmon, Oregon chub, and other fish and wildlife.

A new side-channel bypasses gravel ponds at the Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project on Green Island, allowing fish to go around the pits in high water events and continue on down the Willamette River system. Photo by Raptorviews by Philip Bayles.

This winter, we’ll plant thousands of willows and other native trees and shrubs along the pond edges. As the plants grow up, they’ll offer fish plenty of places to hide from predators.

The next time the water rises, we’ll see on the ground how all this work makes a difference for salmon.

“We’re always looking for ways to give life to the river,” says Joe Moll, Executive Director of MRT. “This is one of the best investments we can make to do that.”

Special thanks

The Bonneville Power Administration, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and Meyer Memorial Trust’s Willamette Special Investment Partnership provided funding for CARP restoration. Additional funds were provided by The Nature Conservancy Portland General Electric Habitat Support program, and individual donors like you.

McKenzie River Trust member’s passion evolves into Oregon’s first published field guide for dragonflies

This post is part of a series of profiles of McKenzie River Trust members. Have an idea for a member spotlight? Contact Jules Abbott, Membership and Outreach Coordinator: jules (at) mckenzieriver (dot) org.

Member Spotlight: Steve Gordon


Steve Gordon vividly remembers the day that would change the course of his life.

A fifth-generation Oregonian, Steve is an avid birder, dragonfly expert, and McKenzie River Trust member, among many other pursuits.

That day, as he sat in a business meeting, he noticed a dragonfly land on a flower outside the window.

“I sketched the dragonfly and the wing pattern,” Steve recalled. “[After the meeting] I went to find out what species the dragonfly was and noticed it was difficult to find a field guide.”

Steve began to hunt for dragonfly guides and groups in Oregon. He discovered a survey website that listed Oregonians who were interested in dragonflies. Steve noticed an acquaintance, Cary Kerst, on the list. He got in touch, and over coffee, they decided to take a field trip. Soon after, they ventured into the west Eugene wetlands to learn about and identify new dragonfly species.

Eventually, their combined passion inspired them to publish the first dragonfly field guide for Oregon.

“We probably spent three years working on it. I think Cary discovered six or seven new species of insects, and together, we added a new dragonfly to the Oregon list.”

Now, Steve supports McKenzie River Trust by leading dragonfly field trips, participating on the lands committee, and advising the board on acquisitions. He’s also a member.

“McKenzie River Trust is good for my heart and soul,” Steve said. “It’s the accumulation of preserved sites that really starts to make a difference on the landscape. In 10 years, you’ll be able to see a ribbon of connective pieces starting to form. I think at that point you really do have an impact on the landscape.”

Steve believes that his support of McKenzie River Trust will help ensure that Oregon continues to be a wonderful place to live ages from now. With Steve’s help, his great-grandchildren — future eighth-generation Oregonians! — will still have plenty of natural areas to enjoy.

Get involved!

Do you want to join Steve on his next Dragonfly tour? Sign up for the McKenzie River Trust email list to hear about new tours and other ways to explore our protected landscapes. Enter your email address in the upper right corner of our website to sign up for e-news.

Caddis Fly Angling Shop’s Annual Two-Fly Tournament Supports McKenzie River Trust

This post is the first in a series of profiles of McKenzie River Trust members. Have an idea for a member spotlight? Contact Jules Abbott, Membership and Outreach Coordinator: jules (at) mckenzieriver (dot) org.

Member Spotlight:

Chris Daughters, Caddis Fly Angling Shop


One of Chris Daughter’s earliest memories of life is fishing. Chris caught the family tradition the first time he cast a rod into McKenzie River’s crisp, clear water with his father and grandfather. Fishing quickly became his passion.

When Chris was only ten years old, he began working at the Caddis Fly Angling Shop. The owners became his second family. By his twenties, he bought it.

It’s all about enhancement

Today, as owner of a respected fly-fishing shop, Chris values McKenzie River Trust and its positive impact on Oregon Rivers and fish. Chris sees a strong connection between the shop’s customers and the Trust.

“[MRT] supports healthy habitat enhancement for rivers which enhance fish and clean water,” Chris says. “My philosophy is so much like theirs … [and] it benefits the customers as well. We’re all looking for enhancement.”

Chris believes that small steps can positively affect rivers and fish, and recognizes the importance of preserving the McKenzie River and its natural beauty.

“It has quite a bit of diversity, excellent gradient and beautiful forests,” Chris says about the McKenzie River. “When you get down into the lower flood plains, it has a totally different character. It’s a really diverse body of water, so its fishing techniques can be as well.”

Two-Fly Tournament makes an impact

One of the ways that Chris supports McKenzie River Trust is through an annual fly-fishing tournament, where all proceeds benefit MRT. In five years, The Caddis Fly Angling Shop’s Two-Fly Tournament has raised over $25,000, and Chris is one of several fishing guides who donate their time to the cause. This year’s tournament on September 26 and 27 filled up within weeks of registration opening.

Now, Chris continues to pass on his family tradition to his two young children, who accompanied him and his wife on fishing trips when they were just a couple of months old. They have fished in some of the world’s most exotic locations including, New Zealand, Argentina and Chile, but they always return to where it all began, on the McKenzie River.

Get involved!

Are you an angler who would like to help protect the McKenzie and our other local rivers? Then shop at the Caddis Fly Shop on Friday, September 26, when Chris and his crew will donate 10% of sales to the McKenzie River Trust.

Press Release: Living River Celebration

For Immediate Release

Contact: Liz Lawrence
Director of Resources
llawrence@mckenzieriver.org
541-345-2799

McKenzie River Trust Hosts Living River Event
Celebrating Green Island Conservation

EUGENE, Ore. (June 19, 2014) – On Saturday, June 28, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the McKenzie River Trust will celebrate 11 years of land and water conservation on Green Island with a free and family-friendly event. The McKenzie River Trust invites families, friends, and nature lovers to enjoy the conserved land and water at the Living River Celebration.

Visitors will enjoy birdsong and live music, freshwater and cold beverages, all while exploring 1,100 acres of rolling floodplain that grow wilder by the day. Activities include tree climbing, guided tours, birding, picnicking, self-guided walks and runs, canoeing, Ninkasi beer, a musical performance by guitarist Don Latarski, and more than a dozen booths from local conservation organizations. New this year, writers and others will offer walking tours and free workshops for nature lovers to get in tune with their senses and better appreciate the land.

Green Island is located west of Coburg, Oregon where the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers come together. Green Island is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Eugene or Springfield. Parking on the property is limited, so carpooling is encouraged.

For more details about this event, including a full schedule of activities and directions, visit mckenzieriver.org/events/living-river/.

About the McKenzie River Trust
The McKenzie River Trust is a nonprofit land trust that was formed in 1989 to conserve and care for special lands and the rivers that flow through them in western Oregon. For 25 years, McKenzie River Trust has worked with landowners and diverse partnerships to protect, forever, nearly 4,000 acres of special lands in western Oregon. 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. To learn more about McKenzie River Trust, visit mckenzieriver.org.

About the Living River events
The Living River event, now in its sixth year, is the McKenzie River Trust’s annual event to connect our community to the unique landscapes that surround us in Oregon – where we all live, work, and play. Living River events benefit the McKenzie River Trust’s mission. Last year’s Living River Celebration was the first to be held on Green Island. Over 800 people joined us to walk, bird, paddle, climb, picnic, and explore this special place. To see pictures of last year’s celebration, visit http://on.fb.me/1nhTN0G.

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Become a Member

Membership Campaign: April 1 – 30, 2014

For nearly 25 years, people like you have helped the McKenzie River Trust conserve over 4,000 acres of lands and waters that cradle us in western Oregon. Now we’re coming to you with a special request:

Will you join us as a member to build the next 25 years of conservation success?

Your membership gift today will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000 by our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs. This offer is only available from April 1 – 30, so we’re asking you to GIVE NOW.

Membership FAQ

How do I become a member?

To become a member, simply make a donation through our secure online server at mckenzieriver.org. Or mail a check to: McKenzie River Trust, 1245 Pearl St, Eugene OR 97401. A gift of any size qualifies you as a member. Please give generously!

But I thought I was already a member….?

In fact, a membership program is a new thing for us. We have always valued our many supporters. You are the reason we can protect and care for land! But during our Living River Celebration last June, we realized how many people wanted a closer connection, a shared identity as members of MRT. So we are kicking off that program now.

Why should I become a member?

With your membership gift today, you will be part of a local organization that looks at conservation projects with the long term in mind. Without the support of people like you, we would not be here today.

Every week, we receive calls from landowners wanting to know how they can protect the land they cherish. Our mission is to help them achieve their vision for the future of these lands and to share the fruits of good land stewardship – clean water, nourishing foods, abundant fish and wildlife, memorable experiences in nature – with everyone.

By joining as a member of the McKenzie River Trust, you will help sustain those very values and our ability to protect them for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.

Why are you doing this now?

Over the years, many people have asked us how they can become members. And we’ve heard you loud and clear: you want a closer connection with the McKenzie River Trust and a way to identify other people who care about our clean water, fish, wildlife, and natural areas.

Today, we’re responding to your call. Our members, committed friends in our community who help protect and care for the special places that surround us, will be the core of what we do. Members will provide a stable base of support for us to get our boots on the ground, pursuing the next big land conservation opportunity. Within a few years, we hope to have 1,000 members.

What is the matching gift challenge?

Our friends at Mountain Rose Herbs are offering a matching gift challenge for all donations during the month of April. When you make a membership gift to the McKenzie River Trust from April 1st to 30th, your donation will be matched by Mountain Rose Herbs dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000. And if you give $100 or more you’ll receive our new MRT ceramic mug.

What are the benefits of a McKenzie River Trust membership?

You might be wondering: What do I get for my membership gift?

  • You will receive news about conservation on a regular basis by the means you choose: print newsletter, email, social media. You just let us know.
  • You’ll also get invitations to regular tours and events, including our annual Living River Celebration.
  • And you’ll be contributing to all of our projects, current and future.
  • As a member, you’ll also be able to spend time with other members, people like you who love western Oregon and its natural splendors.

What kinds of people are members?

Anglers, birders, bakers, painters, runners, walkers, bee-keepers, boaters, brewers – all are a part of our growing circle of friends who care for the lands and rivers of western Oregon.

So please join them today with your membership donation to the McKenzie River Trust. And invite your friends to do the same. And celebrate with us on Saturday, June 28, when the Living River Celebration returns to Green Island.

Thanks for your consideration.