Why We Work Here:
A river can be wild, scenic, and impaired. This is the case with southwestern Oregon’s Rogue River. Oregon’s “Wild and Scenic” icon is warming, making it harder for its native, cold-water fish species to survive. A number of factors contribute to this warming, including a loss of streamside vegetation and habitat complexity. These problems are fixable.
Progress to Date:
Despite being known for world-class rafting and fishing, many parts of the watershed and its waterways are in need of protection and restoration, work that includes fencing livestock, revegetation with native trees and shrubs, and constructing large wood structures.
Since 2012, we’ve done a little of all that, collaborating with partners like the Bureau of Reclamation, local farmers and ranchers, municipalities, watershed councils, nurseries and other nonprofits. Our collaborative approach to this work capitalizes on long-term programs and strengths of local partners to generate results that will help make the Rogue wild, scenic, and functional.
Action in the Rogue began six years ago, when the City of Medford signed a 10-year contract with us to plant trees to mitigate the temperature impacts of discharging their warm, treated wastewater. Since 2012, TFT has planted nearly 80,000 trees and shrubs on 18 properties. In 2017, two new projects were installed as part of this program on the mainstem of the Rogue, offsetting another 90 million kilocalories of solar load a day.
Working with the City of Medford opened doors to other opportunities. Since 2014, TFT has designed and built more than 150 large wood structures throughout the basin on behalf of the Bureau of Reclamation. Last year, we began building a series of new large wood structures on upper Bear Creek, one of the most urbanized watersheds in southwest Oregon, yet a strong producer of salmon and steelhead.
2018 will be our largest year of restoration in this basin to date. As this report was written, TFT finalized a contract with the City of Ashland that will funnel substantial investment into Bear Creek and its tributaries over the next five years, further leveraging the current funding for the benefit of fish and water quality.
“The results of all the restoration we are doing in the Rogue will pay off in coming decades, helping restore and preserve the ecology and qualities that make the Rogue iconic,”said Denis Reich, program director with TFT.“20 projects with different individuals and entities have been layered together to benefit this river, and we’re proud to be doing our part.”