Supporting Collaborative Conservation
Supporting the Pure Water Partners
McKenzie Watershed Conservation Fund Design
Willamette Partnership is proud to be supporting the Eugene-based Pure Water Partners in their collaborative effort to protect and restore the iconic McKenzie River. We’re facilitating 5 workshops to develop the McKenzie Watershed Conservation Fund, which will bring in more support for the coordinated watershed conservation and restoration efforts of the Pure Water Partners. And it will lay the groundwork for telling the story of how this work supports wildlife, clean drinking water, and a healthy McKenzie River watershed for everyone.
The McKenzie River, known as one of Oregon’s most pristine and healthy rivers, is the sole source of drinking water for nearly 200,000 residents in and around the City of Eugene, Oregon. While most of the land within the McKenzie River Watershed is National Forest land, the riparian corridors are largely in private ownership. These riparian areas are critical to buffering the river from human uses in the watershed, including forest harvest, agriculture, development, and transportation.
In 2010, Eugene Water & Electric Board’s Source Water Protection Program convened a collaborative stakeholder group to design and implement an incentive-based strategy to protect existing healthy riparian areas and restore degraded riparian forests along the McKenzie River through voluntary actions. This stakeholder group is now known as the Pure Water Partners.
Over the past five years, partners collaborated to build the Pure Water Partners program by setting up a pilot project, recruiting landowners, performing initial landowner riparian assessments, and purchasing and rolling out a sophisticated accounting software system. In 2018, the Pure Water Partners began the next step in their collaborative effort: establishing the McKenzie Watershed Conservation Fund (“Fund”). The Fund will be used to provide financial support to the Pure Water Partners, with the goal of becoming a sustainable funding source.
Willamette Partnership, along with project partners Moss Adams and Perkins Coie, is leading the design of the governance and finance systems that make up the Fund. Through a series of facilitated workshops, Willamette Partnership is helping the Pure Water Partners define and document the processes by which they make decisions, receive and disburse funds, prioritize projects on the ground, and measure and report progress. The result of this project will include a Fund governance handbook with financial procedures and a Memorandum of Agreement that will help the Pure Water Partners operate the Fund efficiently and transparently.
The Pure Water Partners are a collection of agencies, organizations, and businesses that are working together to protect and restore water quality in the McKenzie River Watershed and maintain clean, healthy drinking water for the more than 200,000 people. More information at http://purewaterpartners.org.
- Cascade Pacific Resource Conservation & Development
- Eugene Water & Electric Board
- United States Forest Service
- Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission
- Lane Council of Governments
- McKenzie River Trust
- McKenzie Watershed Council
- The Freshwater Trust
- University of Oregon
- Upper Willamette Soil and Water Conservation District
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Get in touch about the McKenzie Watershed Conservation Fund
Have questions about the McKenzie Watershed Conservation Fund?
Kristiana Teige Witherill, Clean Water Project Manager
Banner photo of McKenzie River, Koosah Falls in Willamette National Forest / USFS