Willamette River Initiative

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Riparian restoration

Meet the elder statesman of the Willamette Basin planting community

Abraham Franco has been restoring floodplain forests for so long, he frequently finds himself walking under the shade of forests he planted as twigs.

A veteran worker in Oregon's reforestation industry, Franco has planted millions of trees in our woods and wetlands. Learn how his career took him from Cascade timberlands to the Willamette Valley, where he turns barren streamsides into lush habitats.

Half Moon Bend Riparian Restoration

Half Moon Bend Landing is an Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) Willamette River Greenway property in Benton County, located along the mainstem Willamette between Albany and Corvallis. WRI funds support the restoration of 27 acres of previously farmed land that have converted to perennial weeds, creating a void in the surrounding intact bottomland floodplain forest.

Ferguson Creek Model Watershed

As part of the Willamette Model Watershed Program, work in the Ferguson Creek basin is aimed at reaching out to property owners and working with them to enhance stream health and habitat for fish and wildlife. The focus includes improving stream and floodplain interaction, restoring fish passage by addressing problem culverts and other barriers, enhancing wetlands, controlling target weed species, and revegetating riparian zones to benefit water quality and habitat for native species, such as cutthroat trout.


Floodplain Restoration at Green Island

In 2003, the McKenzie River Trust acquired Green Island, a 1,000-acre farm located at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. In 2010, with funding assistance from the Bonneville Power Administration, MRT acquired an adjacent 56-acre sand and gravel mining property. This area is one of the most dynamic and ecologically important areas in the Willamette system, providing critical habitat for many protected species of fish and wildlife.

Mid-Willamette Floodplain Restoration

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...

Bear Branch Model Watershed

This sub-basin is located in the upper extent of the Lower North Santiam watershed, the most populated area of the watershed. The draft Endangered Species Act Recovery Plan for Upper Willamette Salmon and Steelhead identifies Bear Branch Creek as a target area for restoration. Currently, salmonid populations in Bear Branch are limited by excessively warm summer water temperatures, a lack of adequate spawning gravel and a lack of overwintering habitat due to poor connection with the floodplain.


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