Building momentum for Whychus Creek

May 11, 2015
Land Trust executive director Brad Chalfant comments on the recent acquisition of Aspen Hollow Preserve and the momentum it builds for conserving Whychus Creek.

With the recent acquisition of the 58-acre Aspen Hollow Preserve, the Deschutes Land Trust has now protected nearly nine miles of Whychus Creek. It’s an important milestone for the creek and the Land Trust’s Campaign for Whychus Creek. For those not aware, the Campaign contributions will help us finish our key protection efforts along the creek, permanently steward important wildlife habitat, and provide community education, interpretive, and recreational opportunities where appropriate. It’s worth noting that the Land Trust only works with willing landowners, and that our strategy focuses on protecting essential floodplain wildlife habitat in whatever way makes most sense for a given property and landowner.

Lower Whychus Creek holds immense potential in terms of returning wild salmon and steelhead runs to the upper Deschutes Basin, as well as providing necessary habitat for the wide variety of birds, mammals, and other wildlife that depend upon healthy streams in our arid environment. With each additional stretch of creek and floodplain that’s restored comes a greater ability to capture and absorb high stream flows and recharge our local aquifers. Combined with the work of our partners, Whychus Creek has come back to life in a way that was almost unimaginable 20 years ago.

Helping the community understand the importance of a healthy Whychus Creek is a key part of our conservation strategy, and there’s no substitute for getting out and seeing it first hand.  That said, our highest priority is to protect, restore, and steward wildlife habitat. Where wildlife or other concerns make public access infeasible, we provide guided tours that can both connect the community to place, while minimizing impacts. Such is the case with our newest acquisition at Aspen Hollow Preserve, where a variety of concerns suggest the best way to visit Aspen Hollow Preserve is through our guided Walks + Hikes, staffed by leading local naturalists. We're excited about introducing you to this wonderful place, and are tentatively planning to hold our first tours this fall. Stay tuned!

~ Brad Chalfant, executive director