Willamette River Initiative

Willamette River Initiative

User menu

Mid-Willamette Floodplain Restoration

Project Update: In early March, restoration contract crews planted 52,000 trees on 38 acres of GLT lands along the Willamette River floodplain at Harkens Lake (north of Monroe), and Horseshoe Lake and Little Willamette (south of Albany). Nearly two dozen different species were planted, including Oregon white oak, Oregon ash, Indian plum, Snowberry, Cottonwood, Spiraea, and Willow. These plantings are integral to the ongoing restoration efforts to cultivate a floodplain forest on these key Willamette River properties.

“The Willamette is a part of my life. A part of my rituals and stories. It is up to me, up to each one of us, to make sure that it remains so for future generations.”

– Michael Pope, Executive Director

In 2009 Greenbelt Land Trust protected 200 acres known as the ‘Little Willamette’. Over 900 native trees and shrubs have been planted on the property to begin restoring a floodplain forest and seasonal ponds are being managed for migratory birds. On any given winter morning one can find Cinnamon Teal, Pintail, and Canada geese throughout the Little Willamette’s wetlands and ponds.

As 2011 came to a close Greenbelt Land Trust celebrated a momentous new conservation project at Harkens Lake. The 319-acre property lies along the Willamette River south of Corvallis near Irish Bend, unfolding over a floodplain, wetlands and hardwood forest. Harkens Lake becomes part of a continuous 500-acre swath of county, state and private land being managed for fish and wildlife conservation, spanning two miles of Willamette riverfront. The side-channels and sloughs at Harkens Lake provide welcoming refuge for native fish, including endangered spring Chinook salmon.

“Through the work we are doing on the Willamette River we have tremendous opportunities to restore ecological processes to floodplains across a broad scale, to let the river interact with floodplains and side channels, to establish forests, to provide forage and refugia for fish, to store flood waters, to provide habitat for song birds and waterfowl … to let the river be a river.”

– Jeff Baker, Stewardship Manager