The Illinois River is one of Oregon's most wild and beautiful streams. It lies in the heart of the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion, an area of top-quality rivers and exceptional biodiversity that straddles the Oregon-California border.
In our second land acquisition in the Illinois River basin, Western Rivers Conservancy purchased an 870-acre ranch along Deer Creek, the largest tributary to the Illinois. WRC partnered with the Siskiyou Field Institute and Southern Oregon University, who have established a field research station and educational facility on site: the Deer Creek Center.
The Deer Creek Center is strategically located near biological "hot spots" for research and education, including the Eight Dollar Mountain Botanical Area and the Squaw Creek watershed. Forested lands include bogs that host an abundance of the carnivorous Darlingtonia californica (cobra lily) and many other at-risk species that grow naturally only in this region.
A large ranch house on the scenic property serves as headquarters for the program. Water rights for the property's irrigated fields are some of the most senior on Deer Creek. Western Rivers Conservancy purchased the Deer Creek Ranch in January 2006 and conveyed it to the Deer Creek Center as a permanent steward in 2008.
As southern Oregon's nature-based tourism industry burgeons, the timing is right for the Deer Creek Center to take root. Its ideal location and programs position the Center to become a nationally significant research and educational facility in the heart of the Klamath-Siskiyou region, one of the planet's most important ecosystems.
The Kendeda Fund committed a $3 million challenge grant to fund the project.