Prairie Restoration: Bringing Back Diversity and Life!
The Willamette Valley:
A Unique and Special Place
The Willamette Valley is home to gorgeous oak savanna-prairies, and some trees, wildflowers, butterflies, and other species found nowhere else on the planet. The Valley landscape we know was formed 15,000 years ago by glacial floods at the end of the last ice age.
For thousands of years, indigenous Kalapuya people used fire and harvesting practices to promote the
plants they harvested and depended on, such as
camas, tarweed, acorns, and wapato. The prairies
were a rich tapestry of tall, lush grasses and
colorful wildflowers, alive with insects, birds,
and other wildlife.
An Endangered Landscape and Ecosystem
Since 1850, urban development and agriculture
have dramatically changed Valley landscapes. Native prairies are now a severely endangered habitat in Western Oregon. Many species and populations of
plants are disappearing, as are the birds, bees, butterflies and other animals that have evolved to depend on them.
Scientists are concerned about the loss of species and diversity, and especially the loss of pollinators and the health of soils, watersheds and food-webs. Mass extinctions of species threaten the resilience of entire ecosystems, including our modern food and water systems and health.
Trees, wildflowers, and grasses that are native to our Willamette Valley support the local ecology and provide the food and habitat needed by many disappearing native birds, bees, butterflies, and other living creatures.
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
Disappearing Willamette Valley Wildflowers
Willamette Valley Oak Habitats, Yesterday and Today
The Willamette Valley— A History of Change (17:18 video)
Oregon Oaks: A Vanishing Legacy (8:28 video)
Once & Future Rasor Park
Early maps (and remnant trees and plants) show that Rasor Park was once a grassy oak and pine "opening" within the riparian forest along the Willamette River. Since the 1990s Friends of Rasor Park have been working with the City of Eugene to preserve and restore native trees, grasses and wildflowers to this little patch of oak savanna-prairie.
Join us at a planting party soon!
Native Plants for Your Southern Willamette Valley Garden
You can help restore biodiversity and some of our unique Willamette Valley heritage landscapes by planting locally native plants in your yard and garden. Check out these landscape images from Rasor Park, and helpful publications on native plants. Click on the images to learn more...