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Nature Conservancy transfers land to McKenzie River Trust

Aerial view of Willamette Confluence Preserve. A river in the foreground interspersed with tree-covered islands. A tree-covered hill rises in the background.
Steve Smith Photography
The Willamette Confluence Preserve is a 1,305-acre property nestled at the base of Mt. Pisgah.

The Nature Conservancy said it’s transferred 1,305 acres of land to the McKenzie River Trust. The property is called the Willamette Confluence Preserve and it’s near the base of Mount Pisgah.

The conservancy said the land transfer came after a decade of restoration work on the site, which was a former gravel pit.

“The Nature Conservancy in Oregon has worked to reconnect the river for the health of the community and wildlife who rely on the Willamette River,” said project manager Jason Nuckols in a press release.

The conservancy said the property hosts more than 30 at-risk native fish and wildlife species, including Chinook salmon and the western meadowlark.

The area is not currently open to the public. The McKenzie River Trust says it will work with community partners to develop a long-term management plan.

“Being so close to the hearts of Springfield and Eugene, the Willamette Confluence provides unique opportunities for connection with the wild," said Joe Moll, executive director of the McKenzie River Trust. "Exploring these connections while also ensuring the integrity and ecological health of the area will take many partners and some collective restraint. At the end of the day, this space is for the critters and the rivers that have created it.”

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”