Patagonia funds restoration for key tributary in southern Oregon

October 11, 2018

Patagonia awarded The Freshwater Trust (TFT) an $8,000 grant to bolster its work restoring South Fork Little Butte Creek, a tributary of the Rogue River.

This funding was received through the World Trout Initiative (WTI).

Conceived by Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard, the program seeks to award groups who work to “restore and protect wild, self-sustainable trout, salmon and other fish species within their native range.” Since 2005, the initiative has awarded more than $2 million in support to more than 200 organizations nationwide.

The Little Butte Creek watershed encompasses some of the most productive salmon habitat in the Rogue basin. Yet bank erosion, lack of streamside vegetation and large wood, unmaintained forest roads, and livestock with access to waterways all threaten water quality.

In 2016, TFT partnered with private landowners and the Bureau of Reclamation to plant acres of native vegetation and install large wood structures along South Fork Little Butte Creek, a vital tributary in the watershed.

The funding from WTI will help TFT to build on these previous efforts at an additional site,  installing eight large wood structures, removing invasive plant species, reactivating flow to .35 miles of side channel, and installing exclusion fencing to keep cows out of the creek.

“Over the past several years, we’ve made some significant improvements to this watershed,” said Eugene Wier, project manager with TFT. “This grant helps us take the next steps and do more of what we already know is making a difference here.”

In its search for qualified grant recipients, Patagonia states it looks for “innovative groups that produce measurable results and work on long-term solutions to root causes of the problem.”

“One thing that sets us apart from others is our ability to prioritize the locations where restoration can provide the most benefits to fish and water quality,” said Wier. “We are able to communicate with confidence how our projects are improving habitat and function of this watershed.”

Since 2011, 19 restoration projects have been implemented in the Rogue basin on the mainstems of the Rogue River, Applegate River, Little Butte Creek and Bear Creek.

In 2017, WTI supported TFT’s work in northwestern Oregon’s Sandy River basin. Through the strategic placement of large wood and boulders and the reactivation of flow to key side channels, TFT has increased habitat diversity and complexity of Salmon River and Still Creek, two ecologically significant tributaries of the Sandy River. WTI’s previous grant helped TFT gather critical monitoring data on its project sites.

“Our work is the result of commitments coming from many sources – individuals, municipalities, companies, government agencies and more,” said Marley Gaddis, grants director with TFT. “We’re fortunate to have Patagonia’s WTI supporting our work and believing in what we do.”

Learn more about The Freshwater Trust’s work in the Little Butte Creek watershed here.