Willamette Weed Removal Project is Underway

McKenzie River Trust is a Key Partner in the Effort to Remove Ivy Infestations

As people from Eugene/Springfield take to the Willamette River on hot afternoons this summer, they might get a glimpse at an innovative partnership that’s cleaning up some familiar Lane County boat landings and private lands.

Six non-profit organizations and public agencies are working together to remove key infestations of invasive English ivy and other weeds, and the results may be noticeable to area boaters, anglers, and those enjoying a swim or float down the river.

Crews from the Northwest Youth Corps are at the center of the weed removal efforts along the Willamette this month. High school students, led by trained crew leaders, are pulling and digging out ivy on Hileman Landing County Park and several state parks including Christensen’s Boat Ramp, Marshall Island Boat Ramp, and Beacon Landing. The crews are also working on Green Island, owned by the McKenzie River Trust, and other private lands nearby.

“English ivy is present throughout the Willamette River corridor, and it is contributing to the loss of floodplain forest by smothering native ground vegetation and choking trees,” said Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, Willamette Program Manager for the McKenzie River Trust and a coordinator of the multi-partner effort. “We’re lucky to have a great river to enjoy right in our backyard, and the areas of floodplain forest and back water channels provide essential habitat for native Chinook salmon, western pond turtles, migratory birds and other species of concern. That’s why these conservation efforts are so important.”

Due to disturbances from flood events and recreational use of waterways, river corridors are especially vulnerable to the establishment of ivy and other weeds. Rivers such as the Willamette are a pathway for the spread of weeds, making early detection and response essential.

A grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Oregon Governor’s Fund for the Environment is providing funding for the six partners to do outreach and education and offer technical assistance to 16 public and private landowners. Funding was also provided by the Oregon Department of State Lands and Lane County. The Long Tom Watershed Council and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are providing technical support and on-the-ground assistance. The total project will cost about $52,000.

“This is a great partnership that brings together not only diverse organizations, but also private citizens and local youth,” said Scott Youngblood, a Park Ranger with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and another project leader. “The result of this work will be immediately noticeable to recreational users of these river front properties.”

Along with ivy, other weeds that will be targeted for removal include purple loosestrife, Japanese knotweed, and traveler’s joy.  “The target species in this project are capable of dramatic growth, and their removal will both benefit floodplain habitat and increase the scenic qualities Oregonians have come to love along the Willamette River,” Youngblood said.

The partnership intends to continue on-the-ground work through 2013, with the Long Tom Watershed Council and McKenzie River Trust doing outreach to private landowners to identify additional project sites this year. Willamette River landowners with a significant invasion of invasive species who would like to learn more about the project are invited to call Nicole Nielsen-Pincus, Willamette Program Manager with the McKenzie River Trust at 541-345-2799.

An article about these efforts appeared in the August 2, 2012 issue of the Register-Guard newspaper. Read the article.

2011 Annual Report Available Now

Annual report highlights:

  • Ferguson Creek Conservation Easement established in the Long Tom Watershed – 62 acres of meandering streamside habitat protected.
  • $1.01 million in grants and contracts secured for land conservation projects by MRT staff.
  • Continued restoration on Green Island, including planting more than 5,300 native trees to restore the floodplain forest.
  • A 21% increase in the number of people who made a donation to MRT from 2010 to 2011.

Read the full report on our Annual Report page, or download a pdf (2 MB).

The health of our local communities is reflected in the health of the natural areas that surround us. Thank you for your donations to support land conservation in western Oregon!

If you have any questions about our Annual Report, please contact our office at 541-345-2799.

Connect With the Land

Guided tours and volunteer days on the land are a great way to explore new places and connect with the special lands your donations help to protect. We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events!

Volunteer on Green Island!

Monday July 16 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Get your boots on the ground and your hands dirty volunteering with the McKenzie River Trust’s Green Island Project Manager Chris Vogel. Help care for this unique site. You’ll mulch trees that need protection from the summer heat while learning more about habitat restoration.

Dazzling Dragonflies! Family-friendly tour of Green Island

Friday July 20 from 9 am to 12 pm

What has two pairs of wings, lives near the water, and eats mosquitoes? A dragonfly! Join Steve Gordon and Cary Kerst for a family-oriented dragonfly and damselfly tour of Green Island.

Dragonfly Field Course on Green Island

Friday July 20 from 1 to 4 pm

Join dragonfly experts Steven Gordon and Cary Kerst for an afternoon field course on dragonflies and damselflies. Learn about the life cycle, preferred habitat, and behavior of these fascinating creatures who call Green Island home.

Lower Siuslaw Kayak Tour

Saturday July 28 from 8:30 am to 3 pm

Explore Waite Ranch and the Duncan Island Conservation Easement, conservation lands protected by the McKenzie River Trust between Florence and Mapleton, from a kayak. We’ll spend the day on the Siuslaw Estuary, led by an expert guide from Oregon Paddle Sports. Good physical condition and moderate kayaking experience is required.

Volunteer on Green Island!

Wednesday, August 22 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Get your boots on the ground and your hands dirty volunteering with the McKenzie River Trust’s Green Island Stewardship Technician Dane Moeggenberg and Project Manager Chris Vogel. Help care for this unique site. You’ll build browse protectors for trees planted in the northeast section of the island near the historic McKenzie River channel.

Eugene Celebration Parade

Saturday, August 25  

The Eugene Celebration brings out the best in town, and once again, the McKenzie River Trust will march in the Parade with our giant paper-mache fish! Contact Liz if you’d like to march with us.

Links to these and other events where you’ll find the McKenzie River Trust are always available on our Events page.

Two new faces

Staff Update

With the buzz of bees and dragonflies, birds fledging, and the native plants (and weeds, too) growing like mad, we know that spring is just about behind us! Just days away from summer solstice, we’re very excited to welcome two new faces around the office and our protected lands.

Robin Meacher – Legal Intern

Robin joins us this summer to research legal issues and tools the McKenzie River Trust uses to achieve our conservation goals. She will begin her second year as a law student at the University of Oregon in the fall. She holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Between her undergraduate work and law school, Robin studied resource management and anthropology in the Solomon Islands, and worked with a community organization focused on citizen engagement in the land use process in Santa Barbara. Having grown up in Northeastern California and spending the last six years in Southern California, Robin uses whatever spare time she gets exploring Oregon.

Dane Moeggenberg – Summer Field Technician

Dane will spend the summer working on Green Island, assisting with stewardship of the more than 1,000 acres of floodplain restoration there. Dane has a bachelor’s degree in Freshwater Resource Management from Indiana University. He has been working in land management for about two years: first as a Conservation Technician in Traverse City, Michigan, then as a Crew Supervisor with Lane-Metro Youth Corps here in Eugene. He enjoys cooking, hiking, and exploring Oregon on his motorcycle. He has a passion for the protection and enhancement of freshwater ecosystems and is very excited to be with the Trust this summer.

Grant awards support land conservation throughout the region

The McKenzie River Trust's 216-acre Waite Ranch on the Lower Siuslaw River between Florence and Mapleton will be the site of future tidal wetland restoration. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

Four recent grants secured by the McKenzie River Trust will support the next phase of our conservation efforts in the Upper Willamette and Siuslaw watersheds.

In the Upper Willamette, grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust support our continued work with landowners along the Mainstem of the Willamette River and its tributaries, including the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette, the Long Tom and the Lower McKenzie.

Willamette Program Manager Nicole Nielsen-Pincus will lead the McKenzie River Trust's role in the Willamette Stewardship Project partnership, which will work to remove invasive weeds on public and private land on the mainstem of the Willamette River this summer. The project was funded in part by a grant from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation through the Oregon Governor's Fund for the Environment.

A National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant of $24,989 through the Oregon Governor’s Fund for the Environment offers support for a group of partners, including MRT, to remove invasive weeds that threaten floodplain habitats along the Willamette. Nonprofit and public agencies including MRT, the Long Tom Watershed Council, Lane County, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the Northwest Youth Corps, and the Oregon Department of State Lands will work with both private and public landowners to map and remove highly invasive Japanese knotweed, English ivy, traveler’s joy, and purple loosestrife along the river. Youth crews will learn valuable job and life skills while accomplishing habitat restoration when they work on Green Island and neighboring properties this summer. We’ll keep you updated on the weed removal progress by posting photos on our Facebook page.

A 2-year, $133,000 grant from the Meyer Memorial Trust’s Willamette River Initiative provides support for MRT staff to continue to get out the door and talk with private landowners about conservation and stewardship opportunities on their properties. The funds also support ongoing work at Green Island, which will enter its 9th year of restoration in 2013. The Willamette River Initiative website provides more details.

The McKenzie River Trust also received two grants to support tidal wetland restoration in the Siuslaw River Estuary. Awards from the Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) will support the next steps toward re-developing an intact tidal estuary on the McKenzie River Trust’s Waite Ranch property between Florence and Mapleton.

Ecotrust, a Portland-based nonprofit, awarded a $61,750 grant to MRT as part of a multi-partner program called the Whole Watershed Restoration Initiative (WWRI). The grant will fund the removal of aging infrastructure and decommissioning of septic tanks on the 216-acre Waite Ranch property.

A $75,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s NAWCA program will support the engineering analysis of Waite Ranch, which will inform the restoration design. This work paves the way for the re-establishment of tidal flow and productive wetlands on the property.

We expect that the long-term restoration efforts of the Waite Ranch Tidal Wetland Restoration project partners, including MRT and the Siuslaw Watershed Council, will yield approximately 211 acres of restored tidal estuary habitat and ten miles of tidal channels. This work benefits native fish like coastal coho and Chinook salmon and steelhead, and many other sensitive birds and wildlife species. The work also helps further the WWRI goal of providing local jobs and benefits to the local community as the restoration effort proceeds.

Thank you to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Ecotrust, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s NAWCA program for supporting the McKenzie River Trust in our efforts to protect and enhance productive natural landscapes throughout western Oregon.

Two Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

We have two great events happening on Earth Day weekend, and we hope you can join us!

Volunteer on Green Island

Saturday, April 21 from 9:30am to 12:30pm

We’re hosting volunteer groups at least once a month on Green Island this spring and summer, and one of our volunteer days happens to fall on Earth Day weekend! Get outside, and do something good for the earth. Help plant and care for native trees and shrubs on our largest protected property on the mainstem of the Willamette River just west of Coburg. Your advance RSVP is requested. Get more information and sign up here.

14th Annual Earth Day Celebration at EWEB’s Rivers Edge Plaza

Saturday, April 21 from 11am to 5pm

We’re once again joining the Earth Day celebration! Visit with MRT staff and Board members, check out maps of the places where we work, and pick up an MRT sticker, bookmark, and a copy of our latest newsletter when you visit our booth.

And join us at 3:20 pm on the main stage, when Oakshire Brewing will present MRT with a check for the proceeds from the sale of three special release Brewer’s Reserve Series Beers developed in 2011. These beers were created to celebrate the Eugene Water and Electric Board‘s centennial year of service providing the clean water that MRT protects and Oakshire uses as a key ingredient in their products. Proceeds from the sales of the beers benefit the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area.

March 22nd: Volunteer on Green Island!

Lend A Hand!

Whether you share our fond memories of large-scale volunteer plantings on Green Island in years past, or you’re a new friend of the McKenzie River Trust and have never had the chance to experience this amazing landscape, we’re excited to invite you to connect with the land.

Get your boots on the ground and your hands dirty as you join your fellow McKenzie River Trust supporters and Chris Vogel, Green Island Project Manager to volunteer.

March 22nd Volunteer Work Party on Green Island
9:30 am to 12:30 pm

RSVP Required. Click here to register.

Located just below the confluence of the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers, Green Island is the McKenzie River Trust’s largest protected property at more than 1,000 acres. Abundant floodplain forest, backwater sloughs, and multiple channels of the mainstem Willamette await you.

Can’t make it on March 22nd? Join us for a volunteer work party on Green Island on Saturday, April 21st or Thursday, May 3rd!


Protecting Special Lands Video

Take 3 minutes to watch a video about our work protecting special lands and the rivers that flow through them in western Oregon.

Please consider making a donation to help us continue our work!

As our region grows, so must our conservation efforts. We hope you will join us as a supporter of the McKenzie River Trust.

Field Course on Dragonflies and Damselflies

Join dragonfly experts Steven Gordon and Cary Kerst for an afternoon field course on dragonflies and damselflies. Learn about the life cycle, preferred habitat, and behavior of these fascinating creatures who call Green Island home. Bring your binoculars.

Friday, July 29, 2011
1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Continue reading “Field Course on Dragonflies and Damselflies”

Dazzling Dragonflies! Family-friendly tour of Green Island

What has two pairs of wings, lives near the water, and eats mosquitoes? A dragonfly! Join experts Steve Gordon and Cary Kerst for a family-oriented dragonfly and damselfly tour of Green Island. You’ll leave this adventure knowing way more about these cool bugs and the place they call home!

Friday, July 29, 2011
10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Continue reading “Dazzling Dragonflies! Family-friendly tour of Green Island”