The West Eugene Wetlands is a nearly 3,000-acre complex of wetlands and associated uplands located west of downtown. Based upon the objectives of the West Eugene Wetlands Plan, an ambitious effort to conserve and restore the wetlands began in the early 1990s. The Rivers to Ridges Partnership (formerly known as the West Eugene Wetland Partnership) formed among multiple agencies and non-profit organizations to work together to protect and restore the wetlands, and provide outreach and education opportunities. Today, the wetlands are enjoyed by bikers and pedestrians, nature enthusiasts, families, and school groups, and have been recognized in Oregon and nationally for their high-quality restorations.
The West Eugene Wetlands are comprised mainly of wet prairie, a grass- and wildflower-dominated habitat type historically common in our area, but rare today. The West Eugene Wetlands’ wet prairies provide high native plant diversity and habitat for wildlife species that depend on grasslands, such as the western meadowlark, Oregon’s state bird. Lane County’s highest known diversity of dragonflies and damselflies occurs in a ponded area within a West Eugene Wetland site, and beaver, river otter, and Pacific chorus frogs join the over 200 wildlife species that call the West Eugene Wetlands home. Rare plants and the Fender’s blue butterfly, a federally-endangered species, are also present in the West Eugene Wetlands. In addition to wet prairies, habitat types found in the West Eugene Wetlands include vernal pools, emergent wetlands, upland prairie, oak savannas and woodlands, and ash swales.