Ochoco Preserve Restoration

Learn more about the multi-year project to restore Ochoco Preserve near Prineville.

The Land Trust and our restoration partners are currently in the planning process to develop conceptual designs for restoration and community access at Ochoco Preserve. Learn more about our plans below, sign up for email updates on the project.

Why restore Ochoco Preserve?

With one mile of the Crooked River, 1/2 mile of McKay Creek, and 1/2 mile of Ochoco Creek, Ochoco Preserve has significant potential for restoring habitat for fish and wildlife. Historically, much of the Preserve consisted of wetlands along the Crooked River. The property was converted to farmland in the mid-1900s, but high groundwater levels and difficult topography (low spots, stream channels, and an old Crooked River channel) made it challenging to farm. When the Land Trust conserved the property in 2017 one of our goals was to work to restore the Preserve’s extraordinary natural resources.

Ochoco Preserve also has significant potential for community connections. One of our goals is to develop educational sites and trails to share the story of the land and its amazing natural resources. We’re working with numerous community partners, including the City of Prineville, Crook County Parks and Recreation, and Crook County School District to ensure access, trail connections, and educational options that are robust and inclusive.

How will the restoration happen?

Given the size and scale of the restoration, work will occur in phases over many years. Our restoration efforts will center around returning many of the historic natural processes that the Crooked River, Ochoco Creek, and McKay Creek would have had. To do that we need to give these streams a boost by changing where and how they currently flow at the Preserve. This means giving them the space to meander and adding more side channels and natural structures to improve habitat for fish and wildlife. And it means creating floodplain and wetland habitat so these waterways can store, and then release, cleaner, cooler water back into the system.

Ochoco Preserve (bright green area of map) with conceptual restored portions of waterways (dark blue). Map: Deb Quinlan.
Ochoco Preserve (bright green area of map) with conceptual restored portions of waterways (dark blue). Map: Deb Quinlan.

We anticipate the first phase of work at the Preserve, which will include removing all the structures from the property, will occur by early 2022.

Who is doing the restoration?

The Land Trust has contracted with the consulting firm, Tetra Tech, in order to create a restoration design that meets project objectives, while minimizing risks to surrounding properties. The Land Trust will lead restoration implementation efforts with Tetra Tech providing construction oversight. Finally, a comprehensive group of project partners have provided design review and specific expertise on design elements. Members of this group include representatives from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, City of Prineville, Crooked River Watershed Council, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, Oregon Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service, Portland General Electric, and Crook County Parks and Recreation District.

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