Berggren Demonstration Farm

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." A steering committee of local experts provides input and advice for farm management. Specific objectives for the farm include:

  • Track all aspects of transitioning from conventional pasture to organic food crops (the majority of farmland in the McKenzie is pasture)
  • Demonstrate how crops can be sold to local markets (including school districts) via Food Hub
  • Demonstrate how the Food Hub can be used to assess market opportunities and help with the crop selection
  • 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
  • Demonstrate healthy riparian habitat, invasive weed control and floodplain 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

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.

Steering committee members
  • Bonneville Power Administration
  • Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation and Development
  • Lane Council of Governments
  • Local farmers
  • McKenzie River Trust
  • McKenzie Watershed Council
  • Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
  • Oregon State University Institute for Natural Resources
  • OSU Extension Service
  • Oregon Tilth
  • Springfield School District
  • Upper Willamette Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Willamette Farm and Food Coalition

For more information contact Berggren Demonstration Farm Coordinator Jared Pruch at 541-359-8987.