Greenbelt is excited to announce that we recently closed on a new conservation easement — protecting 35 acres along the Muddy Creek — forever!
Strategically investing in protecting our water sources, habitats and working landscapes are the foundation of Greenbelt’s conservation priorities. The Muddy Creek corridor in Benton County running from Corvallis to Finley Refuge and up into its headwater near Alpine, has been a conservation priority for Greenbelt for nearly 20 years. This region benefits from the fish, wildlife and plant diversity this corridor provides as well as the increased watershed function.
Muddy Creek is designated a priority corridor for restoration and conservation by Greenbelt and our partners including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marys River Watershed Council, The Institute for Applied Ecology, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and others. Greenbelt and our partners are working to create a healthy and resilient region that will continue to support the diversity of species and naturally functioning water systems.
If you can imagine walking through a richly diverse forest dominated by Oregon white oak and Oregon ash trees, native shrubs and flowering understory plants you can understand how this area is a culturally significant area for the bands of Kalapuya Indians who traditionally inhabited this region. Throughout the basin and specifically on this property, the oak structure found in the riparian habitat range from large open canopy trees with branches sweeping the ground to mixed-aged woodland trees with native understory. The understory includes native shrubs such as Indian plum and snowberry and forbs such as camas and fawn lilies. The riparian forest provides shade and bank stabilization to Muddy Creek along with nutrient cycling and acts as a dynamic interface between land and water. The forest supports an array of wildlife species including deer, cougar and bobcat, red-legged frogs and rough-skinned newts, and resident and migratory birds. A vibrant, resilient and functioning riparian habitat such as this, provides the necessary shade, cover and forage for the fish and wildlife benefits of healthy water and creek habitat.
Muddy Creek is a low gradient valley bottom stream that meanders through the riparian habitat of the property. Unique to the Valley bottom Muddy Creek remains unchannelized and has an active and functioning floodplain that inundates regularly. The stream, swales, and floodplain provide refuge, foraging, and migration habitats for Oregon chub, cutthroat trout, and other native fish.
Conserved lands, like these 35 acres, also help provide clean drinking water, improved floodwater storage capacity, increased groundwater recharge, and enhanced ecosystem services for downstream communities.
Greenbelt’s work to protect the land is strategic and intentional. We develop our conservation priorities around building a connected, healthy and resilient landscape that supports nature and people.