Photo: Gary Miller.

The Future of Ochoco Preserve is Now

Mar 30, 2022 by Sarah Mowry
The Land Trust’s vision for the future of Ochoco Preserve is about to become a reality! Learn more about the first phase of the Ochoco Preserve Project.

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The Land Trust’s vision for the future of Ochoco Preserve is about to become a reality! This spring we will kick off the first phase of building a new Preserve with healthy streams, flourishing native plants and wildlife, and new connections for the community. The first phase will focus on habitat restoration in and around the McKay Creek portion of the Preserve. Highlights include:

  1. Creating a new meandering McKay Creek with side channels. A new meandering main channel will be moved onto the Preserve, doubling its overall length to one mile. An additional mile of side channels will also be built.

  2. Building a new floodplain. Land surrounding the McKay Creek main channel will be lowered to create a new floodplain that will be up to 300-400 feet wide and give the creek more room to spread out and slow high water flows.

  3. Adding more stream habitat. Woody debris will be placed within McKay Creek via log jam structures, small dams that mimic beaver dams, and other fixed wood structures. In addition, riffles (shallow parts of a stream that have rough water) and deep, calm pools will be added to the creek. This will create more habitat types that will benefit fish and wildlife.

  4. Constructing an acclimation pond. Fish reintroduction efforts will receive a boost with a newly created acclimation pond. The pond will help accustom young spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead to McKay Creek, before they are released to journey to the Pacific Ocean and, hopefully, back to McKay Creek again to spawn.

  5. Establishing locations for community connections. Part of the habitat restoration will also include establishing locations for the trails and educational sites that will be built in future phases.

It will be a busy spring and summer at the Preserve, but the end result will be much better habitat for fish and other wildlife and a healthier McKay Creek for us all. Though trails and educational offerings are still several years in the future, you can learn more about the restoration on a guided tour, or lend a hand this fall, when volunteers will help plant more than 70,000 native plants in the newly restored portion of the Preserve.

Learn more: