Conservation groups have acquired a 62-acre parcel near Mount Pisgah outside Eugene. The former gravel mine will be restored and protected as habitat for fish and wildlife.
The Turtle Flats property along Franklin Boulevard east of I-5 was once home to Bring Recycling and the site of a popular nude swimming hole. It encompasses the confluence of the coast fork and middle fork of the Willamette River. Chris Orsinger is with Friends of Buford Park and Mount Pisgah which partnered with the Nature Conservancy to purchase the land.
Orsinger: "It's where the rivers come together; it's a very dynamic place. It's a place where there's been a lot of habitat for waterfowl and aquatic creatures. It's also a place where, by restoring the riparian forest we can increase the clean water effect of a healthy flood plain."
Restoring the flood plain will also improve habitat for endangered Chinook salmon, turtles, and other wildlife. The property was purchased from Lane County with a $324 thousand grant from the Bonneville Power Administration. The long term plan is for it to be open for low-impact public recreation.