Make the McKenzie Connection!

636 acres addded to conservation lands

McKenzie River Trust’s acquisition expands Finn Rock Reach

FINN ROCK: The McKenzie River Trust (MRT)announced last week that 636 acres had been added to the Finn Rock Reach conservation area. The three new parcels, adjacent to the original property acquired in 2015-16, extend approximately 7 river miles from the mouth of the South Fork McKenzie River to Eagle Rock.

This five-year acquisition project was supported by a mix of funding, with more than $2 million coming from the Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program (WWMP), a partnership project funded by the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and administered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).

“Projects like this are great examples of how funding partnerships can achieve more than any single funder can achieve independently. As pressures from climate change and other factors increase, these protected habitats will become increasingly important for native species,” according to Kelly Reis, ODFW’s Willamette Wildlife Mitigation Program Manager. “Kudos to McKenzie River Trust.”

MRT Executive Director Joe Moll noted that “Since acquiring the original 278-acre footprint of Finn Rock Reach from Rosboro Company in the winter of 2015-16, we have been in quiet conversation with their successors about the potential to extend protection on lands upstream and downstream. Our rivers emerge from a patchwork of land ownership and stewardship. As our communities adapt to shifts in climate, the coordinated stewardship of those headwaters is truly in the public interest. We are thankful for the committed persistence and flexibility of our partners at Franklin Clarkson and Campbell Global in completing this deal for the good of the river.”

Eli Tome, Director of Conservation for the Trust, shared that “The continuous protection from the valley floor to upland slopes provides us an opportunity to restore both floodplain and forest communities. Over the years ahead, our team will work to increase tree and plant diversity in the uplands to shift the area from timber production toward a more naturally functioning landscape.”

With the added acreage, the McKenzie River’s south side is now buffered by federal and McKenzie River Trust lands. The area, which burned during the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire, was salvage-logged and replanted with Douglas fir by the previous owners. Much of the new conservation land is in the McKenzie River’s floodplain, but it also includes nearly 450 acres of upland forest.

The transaction also includes the confluence of Quartz Creek and the McKenzie River. In 2021 and 2023, McKenzie River Trust partnered with the US Forest Service (USFS), McKenzie Watershed Council (MWC), and Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) to restore 150 acres of floodplain on the original property footprint near Blue River. Planned restoration efforts include Quartz Creek, which has been a regular source of large sediment loads to the river during heavy rain events. In the coming year, plans call for work to restore nearly two miles of Quartz Creek using a similar approach that was applied upstream.

“The continuous protection from the valley floor to upland slopes provides us an opportunity to restore both floodplain and forest communities,” according to Eli Tome, Director of Conservation for the Trust. “Over the years ahead, our team will work to increase tree and plant diversity in the uplands to shift the area from timber production toward a more naturally functioning landscape.”

 

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