Raise a Glass and Celebrate World Water Day

The pristine McKenzie River is the sole source of drinking water for over 200,000 people in Eugene and Springfield. Photo by Tim Giraudier / Beautiful Oregon.

World Water Day is Thursday, March 22. And as our executive director Joe Moll says, “There is one thing that we can all agree on: clean water is good for fish, wildlife, people, and brewing beer.”

That’s why on March 22, we’re gathering with Ninkasi Brewing Company for Pints for a Cause from 5-8pm at The Bier Stein.

Over 200,000 people rely on the McKenzie as their sole source of drinking water in Eugene and Springfield. And water is the #1 ingredient in Ninkasi’s award winning beer. Join us to raise a glass to the rivers we love and share!

We’re teaming up with Ninkasi Brewing and The Bier Stein to raise awareness about something we all care about deeply: protecting and caring for the lands and rivers in western Oregon so there is clean, fresh water available for generations.

Join Us on World Water Day

For every Ninkasi bottle, can, or draught beer sold at the Bier Stein on March 22, Ninkasi will donate $1 to McKenzie River Trust — all day long. The Bier Stein will match their donation up to $500! On draught: Believer, Yours Truly, Dry Irish Stout, and Prismatic. And from 5 to 8pm for a minimum $5 donation, Ninkasi will make you a custom hat!

“Without great water, we couldn’t have great beer,” said Ali AAsum, communications director with Ninkasi Brewing Company. “We’re lucky to have access to pristine waters such as the McKenzie River and to work with people like the McKenzie River Trust who are committed to keeping our river and our people healthy.”

The World Water Day fundraiser with McKenzie Trust is part of Ninkasi’s Beer is Love program to support nonprofits doing work in five core categories — women, equality, recreation, the environment, and arts and music — by offering beer donations for fundraising or volunteer events.

RSVP and see who else is coming on March 22

Planting Trees for a Healthy Future

two volunteers planting trees

Trees and more trees, along with grasses and shrubs — all native Oregon plants — are key to ensuring a healthy future for the rivers in the South Willamette Valley. And in turn, that means a healthy future for all of us. The floodplain forest on Green Island, near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers, is a major restoration project managed by the McKenzie River Trust. It’s supported by hard working volunteers and generous donors like you. This winter, we added over two hundred thousand new stems to the forest there.

Volunteers on the ground

A young volunteer plants a tree on Green Island.
A young volunteer plants a tree on Green Island. Photo by Elizabeth Goward.

To kick off February, volunteers put on their boots and rolled up their sleeves to plant 5,000 bare-root trees and shrubs over several days on the south end of Green Island. These plantings continue the efforts throughout the past winter to re-vegetate areas impacted by construction that re-connected an alcove of the main stem of the Willamette to an historic McKenzie channel. Next, MRT staff planted the remainder of the trees and shrubs, including potting about 1,000 plants for future volunteer events.

In addition to the work in the south, contractors planted over 260,000 trees and shrubs over the winter on the north end of the property. Since 2006, MRT has restored hundreds of acres of floodplain forest or riparian habitat. In all, we’ve planted more than half a million native trees and shrubs on Green Island. Many more are yet to come.

Because of strong member support over many years, these trees will grow to become a gallery forest and provide refuge for birds, bugs, frogs, beavers, and all the creatures that visit and live on this land.

Focused investment, big results

The project is part of the Willamette Focused Investment Partnership. This basin-wide effort helps restore the Willamette River from its headwaters to its mouth at the Columbia. The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Bonneville Power Administration, and Meyer Memorial Trust’s Willamette River Initiative provide the major institutional support and grant funding. The collective effort includes coordinated work by land trusts, watershed councils, riverkeepers, universities, and friends groups.

volunteer tree planting crew
A volunteer crew from February 2018 helped Restoration Projects Manager Christer LaBrecque plant thousands of native trees on Green Island. Photo by Elizabeth Goward.

Back on Green Island, MRT’s Restoration Projects Manager Christer LaBrecque leads the restoration efforts. In February, he planted a variety of native species close to the river, including cottonwood, ash, honeysuckle, and willow. “We encircled the plants with large pods of bark or leaves to help mulch the growing vegetation,” LaBrecque says. Planting in the pods can increase the density of the plants. “Over time, they will spread between the pods. Then, we will plant additional native grasses to fill in the area.”

Volunteers came from all walks of life to help with the planting. They dedicated a significant portion of their days to the work. All expressed their dedication to conservation and their desire to see the environment protected for future generations, which is a common theme for all of you who help us carry out this work.

MRT Executive Director Joe Moll put the restoration efforts on Green Island in perspective. “For most of us in the area, you don’t think too much about the river,” he said. “You don’t have a chance to realize that every time you pour a glass of water or take a shower or drink a beer or a glass of wine, that’s the river, that’s the river itself.”

Learn more & get involved:

Finn Rock Boat Landing Closed for Toilet Facility Remodel March 26 & 27

Hundreds of boaters and anglers use the Finn Rock Boat Landing every day in the summer months. Coming soon, they’ll enjoy the comfort of upgraded toilet facilities. Photo by Ephraim Payne.

Amenities available to boaters and anglers who use the Finn Rock Boat Landing are about to be upgraded to provide more comfort and ease at one of Lane County’s most busy recreational areas. The boat landing will be closed to install toilet facilities March 26 and 27.

McKenzie River Trust will replace the port-a-potty that has been on site for many years with a more accessible and comfortable lavatory.

“This is the first of several improvements we’re making to the boat landing this spring and summer,” said Liz Lawrence, Development Director for McKenzie River Trust. “Other improvements include a new informational kiosk, and improved parking and traffic flow. A possible trailhead is being explored.”

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife donated the vault toilet for the new lavatory, and a grant from Eugene Water & Electric Board enabled the installation to be completed this spring. Other boat landing improvements will be funded from the McKenzie River Trust’s McKenzie Homewaters Capital Campaign that included grants from Oregon State Parks, Land Trust Alliance’s Oregon ACE Program, and the Yarg Foundation.

About the McKenzie River Trust:

The McKenzie River Trust is a nonprofit land trust based in Eugene, Oregon. Our mission is to help people protect and care for the lands and rivers they cherish in western Oregon. Since 1989, we’ve acquired property and voluntary conservation easements to protect over 5,700 acres of clean, free-flowing rivers, plentiful salmon runs, and vibrant farms and forests that provide livelihoods and habitat. We envision a future in which conservation lands are at the core of community efforts to sustain clean water, abundant fish and wildlife, and diverse natural resource economies in western Oregon. Working with private willing landowners in eight different watersheds from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, we take on the responsibility of ensuring that the land and its conservation values will be protected forever. For more information, visit www.mckenzieriver.org.

For more information contact: Liz Lawrence, McKenzie River Trust, office: 541-345-2799 x106 cell: 541-844-9334, llawrence@mckenzieriver.org