EWEB partnered with the McKenzie River Trust and Bonneville Power Administration to acquire a 92-acre piece of property on the lower McKenzie River near Walterville.

The purchase of the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area supports EWEB's long-term strategies to protect the McKenzie River, Eugene's sole source of drinking water. These strategies including slowing development along the river and in the floodplain, and reducing pesticide use associated with agriculture.

The land also provides opportunities for conservation education, demonstration farming techniques and the development of other land management approaches that will encourage long-term solutions for protecting the excellent water quality of the McKenzie River for future generations.

The purchase also helps EWEB to fulfill environmental mitigation requirements in the relicensing of the Leaburg Walterville Hydroelectric Project.

About the property

The Berggren Watershed Conservation Area includes:

  • More than 50 acres of critical riparian habitat
  • Approximately 30 acres of farmland

The riparian area is managed by the McKenzie Watershed Council in conjunction with McKenzie River Trust. Recent work has included invasive species removal, vegetation enhancement and planning for a riparian forest buffer adjacent to the farm.

McKenzie River Trust named the new acquisition the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area in appreciation of EWEB's former General Manager, Randy Berggren.

View a map of the Berggren Watershed Conservation Area

Project goals

There are three long-term goals for the property:

  • Protect water quality within the McKenzie River Watershed by restoring habitat that maintains and enhances biological diversity and floodplain hydrology
  • Promote the development of community food systems by demonstrating sustainable and economically viable farming practices
  • Provide educational and outreach opportunities for farmers and students
Demonstration farm

The Berggren Watershed Conservation Area includes a "demonstration farm" that is managed by Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation & Development and a riparian forest conservation area managed by McKenzie Watershed Council and the McKenzie River Trust. A leadership team with members from EWEB, CPRC&D, MRT, and MWC provides high level input and advice for farm management and integration with riparian forest restoration and protection efforts.

Specific objectives for the farm include:

  • Track all aspects of transitioning from conventional pasture to organic pasture and food crops (the majority of farmland in the McKenzie is pasture)
  • Demonstrate how crops can be sold to local markets (including school districts) via online markets such as Food Hub
  • Show how agricultural land can coexist with and enhance riparian (transitional area between land and stream channel or river), floodplain and upland habitat (a preferable land use to houses)
  • Show how energy efficiency and renewable energy can be developed on a farm to reduce operation costs and help increase the economic viability of farming
  • Incorporate soil and water conservation projects, including efficient irrigation systems
  • Restore riparian habitat, remove invasive species and demonstrate floodplan forest management
  • Show how active agricultural and conservation easements can be used to protect land from future development
  • Provide educational opportunities for grades K-12 (including as an outdoor classroom and part of the farm-to-school program), and provide research and education opportunities for Lane Community College, Oregon State University and the University of Oregon
  • Provide workshops for local farmers on topics of interest
  • Serve as a resource hub for local farmers via information about upcoming grants, events and professional services
  • Develop and expand the Southern Willamette chapter of the Rogue Farm Corps

The property is managed by three partner agencies:

The McKenzie River Trust is the land owner. EWEB is responsible for the funding, planning, oversight and programming of the agricultural area and associated activities. Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development is the fiscal agent for farm operations.

  • Bonneville Power Administration
  • Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development
  • Huerto de la Familia
  • Lane Council of Governments
  • Local farmers
  • McKenzie River Trust
  • McKenzie Watershed Council
  • Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
  • OSU Extension Service
  • Oregon Tilth
  • Springfield School District
  • Sprout!
  • University of Oregon Environmental Leadership Program
  • Upper Willamette Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Willamette Farm and Food Coalition

For more information visit the farm's website.