Ecosystem Restoration

Working with our Partners to Restore the Land

Screen shot of opening video with heavily wooded forest

"Seeing the Forest" tells the story of how the Siuslaw became a restoration forest that successfully manages ecosystems while putting people to work. This 30-minute documentary film features partners, Forest Service staff and leadership, and Jim Furnish, past Siuslaw Forest Supervisor and retired Deputy Chief of the USFS, describing how the forest navigated the last several decades of changing federal forest practices in collaboration with a wide range of partners.

birds eye view of estuary with habitats labeled

Explore our Restoration Projects

Forest, Dunes & Meadows
For wildlife, plants, landscapes
Streams, Lakes & Estuaries
For fish and water quality
silver spot butterfly salmon jumping

Tools we use to do this

  • Stream channel wetland reconstruction
  • Road work: decommissioning, drainage, culverts
  • Large wood placement in streams
  • And more...

Types of habitats we work with

  • Old growth forest recovery
  • Dunes recovery
  • Beach habitats
  • Grassy headlands
  • Meadows
  • And more...

Restoration - What and Why

No, we are not fixing up an old house, but close to it. We're returning natural functions to altered landscapes, focusing on creating and maintaining healthy ecosystems: estuaries, old growth forests, meadows, coastal dunes. We are working to repair whole watersheds, across river basins, from ridge-top to the ocean.

When early settlers came to the Coast Range, the natural landscape seemed limitless -- a wild land in need of taming to make a good home and livelihood. It made sense to clear valley bottoms and drain marshes for pasture land, to harvest trees to feed lumber mills and build homes.

Following World War II, demand increased for jobs and homes for rapidly growing families, with dramatic jumps in logging and development on both private and public forests. Streams were straightened and simplified, river valley bottoms diked and drained, sprawling dunes controlled by plantings of European beachgrass and Scot’s broom.

Once widespread old growth forest, coastal meadow and estuary habitats steadily disappeared, converted to other uses, leading to ‘threatened and endangered listing’ of several species, including Northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, coho salmon, snowy plover and silverspot butterfly.

Now, a unique and unlikely collaboration of individuals and organizations is working to bring it back. We call this restoration, and it's central to our work and mission.

How are we doing it?

Fivemile-Bell is a landscape-scale watershed restoration project that highlights the power of collaboration of partners.

Watersheds and ecosystems cover large areas, spanning many different land ownerships. Effective restoration must be a coordinated, cooperative effort, engaging neighbors to address habitat problems together. The complexity, size and expense of this type of restoration are beyond the capacity of any one person or organization.

Partnerships are key to this effort. Unprecedented agreements between agencies, universities and community members emerged to implement the work of restoration.Scientific research, technical expertise and collaboration ingenuity can produce a new model of restoration that will benefit ecosystems and communities for years to come.

We list the key partners involved with each of our restoration projects on our project description pages. Thank you, partners!

You can also find out more about What is Restoration? and How to Get Involved from some of our partners' websites.

  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB): The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) is a state agency that provides grants to help Oregonians take care of local streams, rivers, wetlands and natural areas.
  • Network of Oregon Watershed Councils: The Network of Oregon Watershed Councils is dedicated to supporting the work of watershed councils throughout the state by increasing council capacity, improving key relationships, and promoting public awareness of watersheds and watershed councils.
    Learn more about watersheds and watershed councils in Oregon including:
    • What is a watershed?
    • What is a watershed council?
    • What does a watershed council do?
    • How do councils benefit communities?

How to Get Involved

Interested in learning more or jumping in?

Meadows Projects Dunes Projects Forest Projects Estuary Projects Streams & Lakes Projects

More Information

  • Ecosystem Restoration
    We're returning natural functions to altered landscapes, focusing on creating and maintaining healthy ecosystems: estuaries, old growth forests, meadows, coastal dunes.
  • Restoration Projects
    Find out more about individual projects on our Restoration Projects page
  • Watershed Priority Plan
    Provides the framework for planning and implementing restoration projects on the Forest