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.

More Wetlands Protected!

Your donations help expand the Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Photo by Raptorviews by Philip Bayles

MRT staff found rare Red-legged Frogs and Delphinium on the newly protected parcel. Photos by Ryan Ruggiero.
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!

Click here to make a donation online, or mail a check to:

McKenzie River Trust
1245 Pearl St
Eugene, OR 97041

To phone in your gift, simply call our office at 541-345-2799.

New boot scrubbing kiosk installed at the Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Ryan Ruggiero, Land Protection Manager for the McKenzie River Trust, and Kolton Baldree, the Walton Eagle Scout who build the new boot scrubbing kiosk at the Coyote Spencer Wetlands.

Eagle Scout completes volunteer service project on
Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Kolton and his dad and brother finalize the installation of the kiosk.
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!

If you’d like to see the new kiosk, join us on our upcoming Bird Tour of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands on Saturday, May 4th or Native Plant Tour on Saturday, May 11th.

McKenzie River Trust staff featured in Eugene Magazine

Ryan Ruggiero recently celebrated 4 years as the McKenzie River Trust Land Protection Manager.

Our Land Protection Manager, Ryan Ruggiero, has been teaching an Introduction to Wetlands class for the University of Oregon Department of Landscape Architecture this term. Journalist Suzi Steffen joined Ryan and his class on a field trip to the Coyote Spencer Wetlands in April to learn more about the property, wetlands, and Ryan’s history with the UO.

Here’s the resulting article from the Summer issue of Eugene Magazine.

Click on the image to view a hig-resolution pdf of the article from the Summer 2012 issue of Eugene Magazine.

Native Plant Tour Visits Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Friday, May 25 from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Swampy wetlands cover much of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands property, which is also home to native camas, lomatium, and other iconic plants of the Willamette Valley. Photo by Tim Giraudier.

The extensive, intact wetland habitats of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands are home to an impressive variety of native plants. Learn more about them during our upcoming guided tour of the 161-acre property near Eugene.

Join the McKenzie River Trust and Native Plant Society of Oregon for a tour of native flora on the Coyote Spencer Wetlands. We’ll explore late-blooming wildflowers in the emergent wetlands and wet prairie fields, and the understories of the extensive oak and ash forests. As time allows, we’ll visit populations of several rare and sensitive plant that are present on this site, including Bradshaw’s lomatium and Oregon peavine. Located just 5 miles southwest of Hwy 126, upstream of Fern Ridge Reservoir, this protected property is a conservation jewel in Eugene’s backyard.

Register here for Native Plants of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands

Coyote Spencer Wetlands Protected

McKenzie River Trust Protects Scenic, Regionally Important Wetlands Near Eugene

The Coyote Spencer Wetlands, 161 acres of high functioning wetland habitat in the Long Tom Watershed, were protected by the McKenzie River Trust on March 1, 2012.

(EUGENE, OR) The McKenzie River Trust announces the protection of the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, 161 acres of regionally important native habitat about 5 miles southwest of Eugene. The land trust purchased the property to protect its extraordinary wetlands, plant and animal diversity, and the scenic backdrop it provides along Crow Road.

Located where Coyote and Spencer Creeks come together in the Long Tom River Watershed, the Coyote Spencer Wetlands contain over three miles of streams and 158 acres of mixed forest and wet meadows. Its wildflower displays and oak and ash forests also help define a route that has become popular for wine-country driving tours and recreational cyclists.

“The Coyote Spencer Wetlands site has long been identified as a conservation priority by the West Eugene Wetlands Partnership, now expanded as the Rivers to Ridges Partnership,” notes Eric Wold, Natural Resources Manager for the City of Eugene. “The McKenzie River Trust has added to a regional network of protected lands that contribute not only to the health of our ecosystems, but also to the livability of our local communities.”

“Protecting wetlands was a key focus for us in this landscape,” notes McKenzie River Trust Land Protection Manager Ryan Ruggiero, who brokered the acquisition. “Wetlands are integral to healthy ecosystems because they filter sediments from water and provide habitat for numerous fish and wildlife species.” Sometimes called the ‘nurseries of nature’ and compared to coral reefs or rainforests for the diversity of life that they support, wetlands are exceptionally productive ecosystems. Wetlands offer nesting or feeding grounds to more than half of all North American bird species and provide a home for an estimated 31% of all plant species.

Between 1994 and 2005, the Willamette Valley saw a net loss of 3,932 acres of wetlands. In the Long Tom Watershed, a significant percentage of wetlands were historically converted to agricultural use. Large, intact expanses of wetlands, such those that make up the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, are increasingly rare, showing what the historic, pre-European settlement landscape in the Willamette Valley may have looked like. Permanently protecting remaining wetlands like this can enhance stream water quality, buffer floods, and provide an essential home and refuge for an array of native plants and animals. Rare native plants including Bradshaw’s lomatium, Oregon delphinium and thin-leaved peavine have been identified on the property.

The property is also known locally as a well-traveled wildlife corridor where bear, mountain lion, bobcat, deer, and elk have been seen. Sensitive fish and wildlife species also known in the area include vesper sparrow, white-breasted nuthatch, western bluebird, northern harrier, cutthroat trout, red-legged frog, and northwestern pond turtle.

The McKenzie River Trust was uniquely poised to protect the Coyote Spencer Wetlands. “Having a local champion was essential to protect these high-quality wetlands,” notes Dana Hicks of the Oregon Department of State Lands. “The McKenzie River Trust’s long term vision for stewardship will help ensure the wetland values and functions that exist on the land now will continue forever.” The McKenzie River Trust will host public tours and volunteer events on the Coyote Spencer Wetlands property, making it available to local school, university, and research partners as a reference site for education and scientific research into wetland health and restoration.

Since 1989, the McKenzie River Trust has acquired property and voluntary conservation easements through donation or purchase on over 3,500 acres in eight different watersheds across Lane and Douglas Counties. Working with private willing landowners, the nonprofit group takes on the responsibility of ensuring that the land and its conservation values will be protected forever. For more information about the McKenzie River Trust, visit mckenzieriver.org.

Grant funding and project support was provided by Oregon Department of State Lands, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, the Long Tom Watershed Council, and the Rivers to Ridges Partnership.

Press Contact: Ryan Ruggiero
Land Protection Manager
McKenzie River Trust

Matching Gift Campaign Now Through March 31st

Join us in celebrating our newest protected landscape with a gift today!

Thanks to you, the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, 161-acres of high functioning wetland habitat in the Long Tom Watershed, were protected on March 1, 2012. The land has long been identified as a conservation priority by the Rivers to Ridges Partnership.


Make a tax deductible gift to the McKenzie River Trust during the month of March, and our loyal supporters at Mountain Rose Herbs will match your donation dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000.



“For Mountain Rose Herbs, our decision to keep our business in Oregon depends on the quality of life offered by nearby clean rivers, wild salmon, diverse forest habitats, and unbridled wild areas. For this reason alone, we must thank the folks at the McKenzie River Trust for making Oregon a lovely place to live and work.”

-Shawn Donnille, co-owner and Vice President of Mountain Rose Herbs

Donate now through our secure online server.

During this campaign, any donation of $100 or more will receive our new MRT stainless steel travel mug!

Our newest protected landscape, the Coyote Spencer Wetlands, is a testament to your past gifts. Without generous donations from supporters like you and businesses like Mountain Rose Herbs, we would be unable to continue our local land conservation efforts. Help us meet this matching gift challenge by making a gift by March 31st.

Make a tax-deductible gift right now through our secure online server.

Or mail your donation – postmarked by March 31st – to:
1245 Pearl St
Eugene OR 97401

A huge THANK YOU to Shawn Donnille and Julie Bailey, the owners of Mountain Rose Herbs, for their ongoing commitment and dedication to local land conservation!