The Rogue

The Problem We Are Solving

At 200 miles long, the Rogue tumbles past sandy beaches, evergreens peeking through low clouds, and grey canyons striped with green lichen. Draining some three million acres, it also flows past farms, ranches and orchards, and through major metropolitan areas. Yet many parts of its length don’t have healthy streamside forests, causing the water to warm and impacting the species calling it home. Tributaries also lack large wood and side channels, which means less habitat in places fish need it most. With a set of local partners, we’ve solved these problems since 2012 by planting thousands of native trees and shrubs and replacing wood where it would naturally accumulate. TFT has also improved water quality by preventing cattle from having direct access to creeks and streams.

How We Are Solving It

TFT’s water quality trading program with the City of Medford accelerated our efforts in southern Oregon. Seven years later, our work here represents a diverse assemblage of projects with an array of funders, business partners and landowners. We work with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) to put large wood in rivers and replant streamside forests to restore habitat for native fish and wildlife. We also work to mitigate the impacts of highway and bridge construction with Oregon Department of Transportation.

And in 2018, TFT signed a new contract with the City of Ashland for a second water quality trading program and another with the U.S. Forest Service to develop systems to facilitate more efficient and effective restoration within the designated Wild & Scenic sections of the river.

“What we’re seeing here is what we want to see elsewhere – high quality projects being put on the ground with a diverse mix of funding and measurable outcomes,” said Eugene Wier, restoration project manager with TFT.

The holistic collection of work completed along one tributary, Little Butte Creek, was a highlight of 2018. The creek has some of the most productive salmon habitat in the basin, yet livestock, bank erosion, lack of streamside vegetation, flood irrigation, dikes, and unmaintained forest roads put water quality at risk for years.

With funding from the City of Medford, TFT and partners installed 4,000 native plants along 2.5 acres of the bank. OWEB funding allowed for the building of six new habitat structures and clearing of noxious weeds and the replanting of 3,600 native plants on two acres of the opposite bank. Then, the whole project was fenced to keep livestock out.

2018 also marked another year of projects implemented as part of our water quality trading program with Medford. In 2012, we were tasked with planting enough sites to block 600 million kilocalories of solar load per day and offset the temperature impacts of the city’s wastewater treatment plant. This year, two new sites were planted as part of this program. Right now, the Medford program has prevented 475 million kilocalories per day of solar load – an amount equivalent to shading 100 Olympic swimming pools.

Building on the success with Medford, at the end 2018, TFT signed an agreement with the nearby City of Ashland to also restore an estimated 24 acres of streamside vegetation.

“THE CITY OF ASHLAND IS EXCITED TO START THIS PROJECT, ONE OF FOUR INTERCONNECTED PIECES TOWARD MEETING TEMPERATURE REDUCTION REQUIREMENTS FOR ASHLAND’S WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT.”

‒ PAULA BROWN, PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR FOR THE CITY OF ASHLAND

To date, more than 150,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted along the mainstem of the Rogue and nearly a dozen other tributaries, such as the Applegate River, Little Butte Creek, Lone Pine Creek, Neil Creek and Bear Creek. Approximately 233 large wood structures have also been built throughout the basin, improving 53,000 functional linear feet of stream.

“OUR WORK IN THE ROGUE HAS DEMONSTRATED HOW A COUPLE WELL- DESIGNED RESTORATION PROGRAMS, WHEN LEVERAGED, CAN LEAD TO A MUCH WIDER AND MORE HOLISTIC CONSERVATION EFFORT.”

‒ EUGENE WIER, RESTORATION PROJECT MANAGER

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