McKenzie River

Rachael McDonald

The McKenzie River Trust for years has been working to return the area around the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers to a more natural free-flowing waterway.

At Green Island, north of Coburg, the trust is restoring a side channel of the Willamette River where gravel pits had disrupted habitat for salmon and other wildlife.

The project was a partnership with Wildish Company which did the work of reconfiguring the three ponds.


Eugene Water and Electric Board is suing the firm that designed and engineered a roll-gate lifting system on the Leaburg Dam. Two of the three gates have failed.

Leaburg Hatchery

The trout and sturgeon show pond at the Leaburg Hatchery on the McKenzie River will be closed for renovations beginning Monday, July 7.

The construction is expected to take 4 to 6 weeks. The show pond will be off-limits but the rest of the hatchery will remain open to the public.

Hatchery Manager Erik Withalm says they have 70 to 90-thousand visitors each year. The show pond has large rainbow trout and a 9-foot long, 350-pound sturgeon.

Rachael McDonald

The McKenzie River Trust is embarking on a project to turn gravel beds into native fish habitat on its Green Island property north of Eugene. The project brings together two unexpected partners: conservationists and the gravel industry.

The Coburg Aggregate Reclamation Project, or CARP, is at a place along the historic McKenzie River channel where gravel was mined for many years. Now, three ponds are the remnants of that mining operation. Joe Moll is Executive Director of McKenzie River Trust.


For decades, the government has relied on regulations to protect water quality. But what if cities tried something other than simply telling people what they can -- and cannot -- do?

What if cities actually rewarded people for managing their land in ways that keep rivers cool and clean?

Two Oregon cities are trying this approach.

Marilyn Cross lives alongside the McKenzie River. It’s home to salmon and steelhead and the source of drinking water for the downstream city of Eugene.


The Eugene Water and Electric Board hopes to start repairing Leaburg Dam as soon as May. The cost to fix the 83-year-old structure on the McKenzie River is projected to be $2.8 million. That's about twice the previous estimate.

The motor in one of the dam's three roll gates failed in 2012. The gate has been in the down position ever since.  The roll-gates regulate how much water flows through the dam, which generates power for about 10-thousand homes. Joe Harwood is spokesman for EWEB. He says it's not surprising the first cost estimate of $1.2 million was off.

McKenzie River Memories

Apr 2, 2014

McKenzie Memories is an annual evening of McKenzie River storytelling, rare historic film clips and photographs. It will be at Cozmic in Eugene on Friday April 4th. Wooden boat expert Randy Dersham and Joe Moll, Executive Director of McKenzie River Trust, join Eric Alan to talk about drift boats, Helfrich family history, and why the McKenzie River is iconic.


The state of Oregon has denied a permit application from Willamette Water Company for water rights on the McKenzie River.  


The Bureau of Land Management is in the scoping stages of a proposed logging project east of Eugene near the town of Vida.