Tualatin Riverkeepers is spearheading an initiative aimed at making the Tualatin Basin more adaptive to the challenges posed by climate change. This innovative work is building bridges between the environmental and ranching communities with a new grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Climate Adaptation Fund. TRK was fortunate to be one of only a few grant recipients in this nation-wide competition. With WCS’s support, TRK is helping the Tualatin basin adapt to flashier winter floods and drier hotter summers experiencing lower summer stream flow by enhancing key parcels of wetland, riverside and prairie habitats. For the wetland and riverside areas, TRK and partners will acquire and install climate-adapted native trees and shrubs that support American beaver. This will restore water function across the landscape as well as increase river-wetland connectivity, all while conserving an iconic Pacific  Northwest species.

In prairies, TRK will install locally adapted trees and forbs after using Tualatin Valley ranchers’ cattle to graze down monocultures and open up space for more species diversity, which make the Tualatin’s prairies so unique. Given that prescribed burns for prairies are more difficult in a rapidly urbanizing landscape with hotter summers as well as new homes adjacent to protected natural areas, TRK sees this opportunity as a win-win for both environmentalists and the ranching community. Building an inclusive watershed conservation movement means involving rural and agricultural communities whenever possible, due to their knowledge and reliance upon the land and their large share of the Tualatin watershed’s territory. This partnership is bolstered by committed environmentalists and the vibrant agricultural economy of the Tualatin as well as the high level of public investment in nature and agriculture. TRK would like to thank partners Metro, Clean Water Services, and US Department of Agriculture in particular. For more updates on this work in video see: