Monday, June 28, 2021

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Conservation Work in the West Eugene Wetlands

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) works to protect and restore wet prairie in the West Eugene Wetlands in partnership with the City of Eugene, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps. The West Eugene Wetlands Plan, created in 1992, formally acknowledged the importance of wetlands and set forth a plan to protect the unique qualities wetlands possess. Wetlands play a vital role in flood control and storm water purification and are also home to endangered plant and insect species, one of which is the Willamette daisy (Erigeron decumbens).


The Willamette daisy has been a focus in the West Eugene Wetlands for years. Over the past three weeks, I have gone out with surveyors from the BLM to count Willamette daisy populations at one of their restoration sites. Researchers from the Institute for Applied Ecology planted Willamette daisy at this site back in 2000 for a small experimental study to determine the best reintroduction method; plugs or seeds. Luckily, many of the transplants did survive and in 2016, the BLM planted more Willamette daisies. Since then, three more plantings have taken place at this site in the years 2017, 2018, and 2021. The BLM monitors Willamette daisy populations annually to see if the plants have grown and to learn how many transplants survived. Through this work, it is hopeful that Willamette daisy may one day be taken off the endangered species list. Currently, the Willamette daisy is both federally and state recognized as endangered. Since 2018, the BLM has planted over 11,000 Willamette daisy plants in the West Eugene Wetlands. The BLM manages 1,340 acres of land within the West Eugene Wetlands and conducts conservation work at many of its sites.


Past BLM conservation work has proven effective. The once endangered Bradshaw’s Lomtium (Lomatium bradshawii) was able to be delisted in part thanks to the BLM work in the West Eugene Wetlands. By participating in the Willamette daisy monitoring this year, I have seen the thoroughness and care of the BLM surveyors while out in the field. I am proud to contribute my time to a meaningful project that works to restore native species in the wetlands. The BLM of the West Eugene Wetlands has worked for years to enhance and protect our local wetlands and will continue to do so for years to come.


Article by, 

Ellen Thompson; Environmental Education Specialist with WREN


Christine Calhoun, Biological Science Technician, Bureau of Land Management

“Wetlands.” The City of

Tuesday, April 27, 2021


Environmental Education and Communications Specialist 

with WREN

Ellen grew up in Arcata, California surrounded by redwoods and close to the ocean. During her free time, Ellen enjoys exploring the forest and surfing the waves of the Pacific. She loves visiting National Parks where she has seen amazing rock structures, giant trees, and the deepest lake in the United States. She is glad spring is here and she can start planting in her garden again. She loves cooking with fresh veggies that she grew herself. Ellen double majored in Environmental Resources Engineering and Studio Art at Humboldt State University. She is passionate about renewable energy as well as printmaking.

Ellen hopes to share her passion for nature and art with others while working as an Environmental Education and Communications Specialist for WREN. She looks forward to learning more about wetland ecology and meeting other outdoor enthusiasts during her AmeriCorps internship. She wants youth to know that creativity plays a vital role in STEM subjects. It is her goal to inspire creativity and ignite curiosity in her students. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

 Art, Tours and Tales of the Willamette River

In celebration of the 5th Annual Willamette River Festival (August 21-28th), WREN is  coordinating efforts with eight community partners and watershed leaders to tell the stories of the Willamette River through the lens of self-guided tours of watershed systems (both natural and human-engineered) and natural art installations.

Tour routes will take place in Springfield and Eugene. The purpose of each tour is for visitors to learn more about the systems around us that support a clean Willamette River and to deepen the connection of people to our local waterways through an exploration of storm water projects, Native stories, and a celebration of natural art.

Each tour route will incorporate stops where participants can scan a QR code leading to a webpage with information about the featured artwork, water system, or natural area. The routes will feature 2-3 art pieces created and developed by summer art camp students in Springfield, Fern Ridge, and Eugene and led by Alex Ever, our resident artist for the installations. 

Alex's specialty is in natural dyes and temporary organic art installations. Alex and their student’s will be creating banners, colorful cotton ropes, and smaller fabric pieces to be hung or woven together into dynamic art pieces hung from trees, woven into bridge bannisters, or installed along fences. There is also the potential to expose students to Native traditional practices to further their connection with this land and its People.

Project partners include WREN, the Lane Arts Council, the City of Eugene, the City of Springfield, Willamalane, the Long Tom Watershed Council, the Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley, and Connected Lane County.

Special thanks goes to Marta Clifford and Theresa May for sharing their traditional knowledge and stories, Jim Bronson for providing valuable resources about the many benefits of wetlands, and Laura Allen from Greywater Action for her assistance with Spanish translations.

Sponsorship for this project have been provided by the GreenLane Sustainable Business Network, Connected Lane County and Boys and Girls Club of Emerald Valley.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Today's Wander took our dynamic group of Wetland enthusiasts on a walk through Springfield's historic Mill Race area by Booth-Kelly trailhead. Originally constructed in 1852, the Mill Race and Mill Pond powered Springfield's first grist and saw mills. Covering an area approximately 3.5 miles long, the Mill Race flows along the southern edges of the City of Springfield. In 1985, after this historic property was donated to the City of Springfield by Georgia-Pacific, local officials began the next steps to assume the responsibilities of managing the waterway. 

Since then, the City and partners from the Willamalane Parks and Recreation District, have made steady progress in their efforts to manage and restore the Mill Race and Mill Pond as well as efforts invested in telling the story. Every summer since 2016, the City of Springfield hosts the Upstream Art project and commissions local artists to paint inspirational murals to help depict the story of stormwater near drains and on sidewalks. These beautiful creations raise awareness of the connection between city streets and local waterways while supporting artists and beatifying the city.  

The Mill Pond was constructed as a Stormwater treatment pond and was completed in 2015. Native plant communities were established to take-in trace minerals such as phosphorus, nitrogen, and others running off of the surrounding impervious surfaces. These plants work together with the hydric soils, to which heavy metals stick, and the microbes from the pond to filter water coming in from the neighboring mill.

The City and co. have tested water coming into the pond and have found that the water coming in is much 'dirtier' than the water flowing out from the other end of the pond, proving that these wetland plant and animal communities are vitally important in the process of cleaning and filtering the water! The pond also has created excellent edge habitat for local wildlife living in an urban environment. In our short visit, we observed American Coot, Ring-necked ducks, a Northern Harrier, Pied-billed Grebes, and Hooded mergansers. 

WREN would like to thank Brett Parsons, Natural Resources Specialist with Willamalane, and Meghan Murphy, an Environmental Technician with the City of Springfield for leading today's adventure!

We hope that you can join us next month on Tuesday, December 8th for a tour of Delta Ponds with Rick Ahrens.

Monday, November 9, 2020


WREN would like to thank Elle and Alex for their efforts in designing this year's Letter to our Readers.
Elle Weberling is an advertising major with minors in Spanish and entrepreneurship at the University of Oregon. She has a passion for small businesses and believes they are at the heart of our local culture. She hopes to utilize her skills to help build a stronger and more inclusive community for all.
Alex Shakerin is a senior at the University of Oregon. His major is advertising with minors in multimedia and comparative literature. His focus is on design and brand development. Alex loves advertising that celebrates diversity and brings people together. In the future he hopes to help businesses expand their reach by creating stylish and meaningful content.
If you are interested in signing-up for our e-news letter, or to receive our mailing, please email your name, e-mail address, and mailing address to Laura Maloney, WREN Education Director at
Thank you for working with us, Alex and Elle!