Western Rivers Conservancy is working to restore the once extensive floodplain along the Willamette River. With seventy percent of Oregon's population residing in the Willamette Valley, the floodplain has become a nearly uniform landscape of tilled acres and urban centers. As a result, flood events have increased in frequency and severity, and the diversity of habitat and wildlife has dwindled.
Fortunately, the building blocks for a Willamette floodplain restoration program still exist. Outstanding remnants of the natural river environment, including backwater sloughs, oxbows, and gallery forests, persist in pockets along the river. For over a decade, WRC has worked to acquire these "relic areas" and adjacent properties, working to connect remnant channels and restore the natural character of the Willamette River and its floodplain.
Luckiamute River Confluence
The Luckiamute River confluence offered an extraordinary opportunity to restore a critical portion of the Willamette Rivers floodplain and enhance habitat for migratory birds, amphibians and a host of fish and wildlife. Western Rivers Conservancy purchased two properties totaling 312 acres and one mile of river frontage at this site known as Luckiamute Landing. A popular landing spot for boaters, the Luckiamute confluence includes some of the best examples of gallery forests and wetland areas remaining in the Willamette floodplain. Funding for the acquisitions came from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation now owns and manages the properties as part of the Luckiamute Landing Natural Area.