A mile and a half of free-flowing stream near Monroe will be protected in perpetuity under a conservation easement announced Thursday by the McKenzie River Trust.

The Eugene-based land trust negotiated an agreement with Trey and Tammie Hagen to manage 62 acres of their farm property to preserve riparian and prairie habitats that can support a number of declining fish, bird and reptile species. That includes a 1.5-mile segment of Ferguson Creek, a tributary of the Long Tom River, which flows into the Willamette north of Monroe.

“The main thing the easement does is it protects the baseline conditions of the property,” said Liz Lawrence, operations manager for the McKenzie River Trust. To date, the Eugene-based nonprofit has preserved more than 3,000 acres of land in Western Oregon.

The Ferguson Creek easement was funded with a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The Long Tom Watershed Council will continue to work at the site on a long-term project aimed at improving habitat for various fish species.

While the Hagens have agreed not to disturb the area protected by the easement, they will still be able to work the rest of their land, where they have hayfields and a 3-acre blueberry farm.

“They want to see the same things we want to see,” Lawrence said. “It’s a really great match between property owner and land trust.”

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