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Matson Preserve

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Matson Creek Wetland Preserve

Welcome to the Matson Creek Wetland Preserve. Over the last century, many of the historical wetlands in the Coos watershed were drained and used as agricultural and grazing lands. The Matson Creek Wetland Preserve - a historic brackish and freshwater wetland was converted to pasture land with the installatin of tide gates under Catching Slough Road which separated the peroperty and Matson Creek from the brackish waters and tidal influence of Catching Slough, and the construction of dikes and ditches to manipulate wtaer movement and quailty.

Through a partnership with The Wetlands Conservancy, the Coos Watershed Association and the Coos Bay-North Bend Water Board, 49 acres of brackish water wetland marsh and 23 acres of freshwater marsh have been restored.

The 165-acre site was purchased in 2000 using funds from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Wetlands grant program. Additional funds from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Coos Bay-North Bend Water Board have paid for restoration and enhancement at the Preserve.

The restoration design for the wetland included removing and filling man-made dikes and ditches and allowing the water to determine its new path and channel. In 2008, the wetlands and channel were reconnected to Catching Slough, allowing water (and fish) to flow in and out of the wetland.

Native wetland plants have naturally re-established in the bottomland, demonstrating that native wetland plant seeds were dormant in the substrate, awaiting the return of proper hydrologic conditions. In one year, the channel complexity has increased, creating new braided side channels that provide improved habitat for juvenile salmon and a variety of water birds.

Visit the Native Plant Nursery page to purchase native plants for your next restoration or landscaping project.

Public Use

There is currently no public access or use of the Preserve. With funding from the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Coos Watershed Association is working with The Wetlands Conservancy, the South Coast Land Conservancy and the Cape Arago Audubon Society to evaluate the feasibility of turning the old dairy barn into a community environmental education space.

About Wetlands

Wetlands are seasonally flooded lands in the low-gradient areas of a watershed that serve as a transition zone between upland areas and deeper waters. Wetlands are home to unique water-loving plants and animals. Almost half of all threatened or endangered plants and animals in the U.S. are dependent on wetland habitats. Water quality benefits of wetland include: filtering out excess nutrients, trapping excess sediment, and diluting pollutant concentrations. Wetlands also help protect human communities by storing floodwater.

Preserve Fish and Wildlife

With reconnection to Catching Slough, the Preserve may provide important habitat for threatened coho salmon, Chinook salmon, and other migratory fish. Wetland-dependent breeding birds, including Great Egret, Gret Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Marsh Wren, Red-Winged Blackbird, Canada Goose, and Mallard, have been observed in the Preserve.

Barn Renovation Designs

To see proposed designs for renovating the dairy barn into a community environmental education center including office spaces click here.

A fly-through demo of the renovation can be found on youtube by clicking here.

Coos Watershed Association. 2016