Since 2012, The Freshwater Trust (TFT) has planted trees and constructed large wood structures along the banks of the Rogue River and its tributaries. By providing shade, the plantings are mitigating the warm water discharged into the river by wastewater treatment plants. By providing refuge, the large wood structures are helping native fish spawn, rear and grow.
These restoration programs are robust examples of “quantified conservation” in action, from the tools and technologies used to identify the best sites for work, to the conversations held with landowners, to the “dirt work” managed by our staff and local partners. “Quantified Conservation” is the process of using data and technology to identify the most valuable places to do restoration and conservation work and then tracking those outcomes over time.
Our work on the City of Medford water quality trading program has been a catalyst for other work in the basin. Today, TFT partners with the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, the City of Ashland and the Oregon Department of Transportation to mitigate additional temperature and habitat impacts to the Rogue.
Over the course of 7 years, more than 150,000 native trees and shrubs have been planted along the mainstem of the Rogue and nearly a dozen other tributaries such as the Applegate River, Little Butte Creek, Lone Pine Creek, Neil Creek and Bear Creek. Each tree generates shade, improves fish habitat, sequesters carbon, filters nutrients, and reduces erosion. Approximately 258 large wood structures have also been built, improving 53,000 functional linear feet of stream. More than $2 million has been infused into the local economy.
TFT is proud that it has leveraged one restoration program into expansive work across the basin — and all of it aligns with the vision put forth in the Rogue Restoration Action Plan.