Willow Creek Nature Preserve is one of the last relatively intact examples remaining of Willamette Valley wetland prairie habitat. The plants and animals found here have been living together for centuries. Many cannot survive outside of this environment.
During spring and fall migrations Vaux's Swifts have been using the tall chimney at Agate hall for an evening roost. How these birds know where to congregate remains a mystery. The evening spectacle when they enter the chimney is easily accessible to anyone taking the time to observe.
Drastic changes in climate have occurred many times in Earth's history. There is direct fossil evidence of global cooling that took place 35 million years ago, when a tropical climate shifted to a temperate one.
Upriver towns in the valley depended on the Willamette River for a connection to the outside world for decades before the railroads were built. Today much the the hustle and bustle of early city life has been replaced by agriculture. Periodic flooding has taught people to remove permanent structures from the floodplain.