BEND, Ore. - The Deschutes Land Trust announced Wednesday it has embarked on a three year, $15 million comprehensive campaign to complete its core conservation strategy for Central Oregon's Whychus Creek.
The first phase of the campaign is now complete, the group said, with the acquisition and permanent conservation of 480 additional acres that more than doubles the size of the land trust's Whychus Canyon Preserve and protects critical fish and wildlife habitat.
The Campaign for Whychus Creek, of which $4 million already has been raised, has three goals: First,it will allow the land trust to strategically conserve the remaining high-priority habitats on Whychus Creek, protecting essential habitat for wildlife.
Second, the campaign will ensure permanent stewardship of these protected lands so they can be restored to health.
Finally, it will help the land trust provide new recreational access and expanded community learning opportunities along Whychus Creek, northeast of Sisters.
The land trust said it will raise funds from the local community, which will help leverage agency and foundation funding.
"The land trust has been conserving the best of Central Oregon for nearly 20 years," said Brad Chalfant, Deschutes Land Trust executive director.
"Together we've accomplished so much, and now can see the finish line for Whychus Creek. Whychus Creek is a Central Oregon success story, and with so much momentum, now is the time to complete key acquisitions along the creek. With the community's support, we can connect the dots and create a legacy for our children and our grandchildren."
The land trust's first phase of the Campaign for Whychus Creek was the purchase of 480 additional acres on the creek.
This purchase protects another two miles of Whychus Creek and secures important habitat for salmon and steelhead, deer and elk, eagles and songbirds.
The newly expanded Whychus Canyon Preserve also offers public hiking access to Whychus Creek.
The land trust is currently developing plans for enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat and providing appropriate educational and recreational use on the new portion of Whychus Canyon Preserve.
The addition will remain closed until next spring, when initial trail planning and construction will be complete. Public access to the preserve will remain at the Whychus Canyon Preserve kiosk off of Goodrich Road.
"Central Oregonians treasure this place we call home, and the Campaign for Whychus Creek will permanently protect one of our most important creeks, while also creating new hiking and educational opportunities," said Kim McCarrel, Deschutes Land Trust board member and campaign chair.
Funding for the 480-acre addition to Whychus Canyon Preserve came from a variety of agencies, foundations, and individuals, including the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Pelton-Round Butte Mitigation Fund, Ann & Bill Swindells Charitable Trust, James H. Stanard Foundation, Laird Norton Family Foundation, and Roundhouse Foundation.
The Deschutes Land Trust conserves land for wildlife, scenic views and local communities. As Central Oregon's only nationally accredited and locally based land trust, the Deschutes Land Trust has protected more than 8,700 acres since 1995. For more information on Deschutes Land Trust, contact us at (541) 330-0017 or visit www.deschuteslandtrust.org.
KTVZ.comOctober 01, 2014