Photo: Land Trust.

Ochoco Preserve Project Phase Two

Apr 02, 2024 by Sarah Mowry
Phase two of the Ochoco Preserve Project will kick into high gear this spring and continue through the fall. Learn more about it.

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The Land Trust’s Ochoco Preserve in Prineville will be a busy place this year! Phase two of the Ochoco Preserve Project will kick into high gear this spring and continue through the fall.

The Ochoco Preserve Project is a multi-year project to create healthy streams, flourishing native plants and wildlife, and new connections for the community at Ochoco Preserve. The Land Trust completed the first phase of the project in 2022, focused on restoring McKay Creek at the Preserve. The second phase will focus on restoring Ochoco Creek and a portion of the Crooked River at the Preserve.

Goals for this phase of the project include:

  1. Create new main channels and side channels. A new meandering Ochoco Creek will be built on the Preserve, doubling its overall length to one mile. Then a portion of the Crooked River (.06 miles) will be moved onto the Preserve, adding more curves and channel complexity. Finally, an additional mile of side channels will also be constructed.

  2. Build new floodplains. Land surrounding Ochoco Creek and the Crooked River will be adjusted to create a new floodplain that will give the waterways more room to spread out and slow high-water flows.

  3. Add more fish and wildlife habitat. Riffles (shallow parts of a stream that have rough water) and deep, calm pools will be added to Ochoco Creek and the Crooked River. Riffles and pools help diversify habitat for native fish. We will also use wood (from salvaged trees) to help build habitat in and around the stream. Stream and floodplain wood creates habitat for fish and wildlife, helps protect soils as the restoration project evolves, and provides places for new plants to grow.

  4. Construct an acclimation pond. Another acclimation pond will be built in Ochoco Creek, in addition to the one built in McKay Creek in 2022. The Ochoco Creek pond will help accustom young spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead to Ochoco Creek, before they are released to journey to the Pacific Ocean and, hopefully, back to the Preserve to spawn.

  5. Establish 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 phase three.

It will be a busy spring and summer at Ochoco Preserve, but the end result will be much better habitat for fish and wildlife and a healthier community for us all. You can learn more about the restoration on a guided tour, or lend a hand this fall, when volunteers will help plant more than 60,000 native plants in the newly restored portion of the Preserve.

Learn more: