Landscape Restoration

In 2017, Pacific Northwest national forests, with the help of partners and local communities, treated or restored 555,592 acres to enhance forest health, restored 723 miles of stream habitat, enhanced five watersheds, and improved 34 stream crossings for aquatic organism passage.

New research and methods along with a number of restoration tools, including key partnerships, forest planning tools, databases, conservation strategies, and assessment tools have guided development and completion of many excellent restoration projects on the forest.

Aquatic Restoration  |  Meadow Restoration

Aquatic Restoration

Over half of the nation’s water originates from forested lands in the United States, nearly 20% of which comes from National Forest System land managed by the US Forest Service. This makes the work of the agency in managing the land around these source waters crucial to protecting the integrity of the water quality for downstream users. There are many effective source water protection activities, including forest protection, reforestation and improvement of agricultural practices on lands near water sources.

Lower South Fork McKenzie River Floodplain Enhancement Project

Map showing project area on South Fork McKenzie River

The Lower South Fork McKenzie River Floodplain Enhancement Project is the largest aquatic restoration project on the forest to date, connecting 4.5 miles of floodplain at the confluence of Cougar Creek and the South Fork of the McKenzie River. This project is an important part of regional efforts to restore habitat for spring Chinook salmon and bull trout in the Willamette River Basin...learn more

Deer Creek Floodplain Enhancement

Large trees placed into Deer Creek to improve fish habitat

Deer Creek is the largest tributary to the McKenzie River within the Headwaters McKenzie River Watershed and is located east of Eugene, Oregon. The subwatershed of Deer Creek is approximately 14,800 acres in size and ownership is almost entirely federal lands. Deer Creek runs approximately 8.2 miles from its headwaters to its confluence with the McKenzie River at river mile 79. ...learn more

Lower Staley Floodplain Restoration

USFS Fish Biologist, Mitch Vorwerk, leads a group of interns and volunteers erecting a fish net

The Middle Fork Ranger District, in collaboration with the Middle Fork Willamette Watershed Council, is restoring ecological function, as well as biological productivity and resilience in lower Staley Creek through active floodplain restoration. The lower Staley Creek floodplain lies just above the confluence with the Middle Fork Willamette River, a watershed identified by the Willamette National Forest as the highest priority on the Forest for both aquatic and terrestrial values in need of restoration. ...learn more

Moose Creek Stream Restoration

A before and after comparison of the Moose Creek stream restoration project

In a partnership with South Santiam Watershed Council Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) over two miles of Moose Creek aquatic habitat restoration was completed in September of 2017. ...learn more

Videos, Articles, and Research on Aquatic Restoration

Water & Wood from Freshwaters Illustrated
Filmed on the McKenzie River in the Willamette National Forest, Water and Wood illustrates the powerful forces at work restoring the ecological values and functions of Oregon's Rivers.

Seven Reasons Why Fish Need Wood by Hannah Ettema, National Forest Foundation
An article describing how we are enhancing fish habitat through restoring an important in-stream element: wood!

To Save the Rivers and the Woods, Try Hurling a Few Dead Fish
An article from Mother Jones on how we are restoring natural stream processes and improving the overall ecological function of a watershed one salmon carcass at a time.

Meadow Restoration

Mountain meadows throughout the Pacific Northwest are undergoing rapid invasion by conifers. In the western Cascade Range, mountain meadows are key habitat elements in a landscape dominated by coniferous forests. They comprise <5% of the landscape, but serve critical ecological and societal functions: creating natural fire breaks, supporting distinctive communities of plants, providing habitat and food resources for pollinators and other wildlife, and offering unique recreational opportunities.

Bunchgrass Ridge

Learn how we are using prescribed fire and tree removal as tools in meadow restoration at Bunchgrass Ridge, a broad, gently sloping plateau in the Cascade Range of western Oregon. This project is a partnership between the Willamette National Forest, H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, University of Washington and the Joint Fire Science Program. At the following link you can find reports, highlights, and key findings of the work.