Willamette River Natural Area

Willamette River Natural Area west end


The Willamette River Natural Area (WRNA) Landscape Management Plan outlines a vision to restore the natural environment of a 24-acre designated open space on the University of Oregon campus. The space, pictured here, is along the Willamette River on the north side of the UO campus.

This plan supports the long-term vision established in the university’s Campus Plan for the WRNA.  The plan provides Campus Planning and Facilities Management (CPFM) detailed guidance on landscape maintenance activities, habitat management, and restoration efforts to preserve and improve habitat while also accommodating education, research, and recreation uses.

CPFM staff representing the offices of Sustainability, Campus Planning, and Facilities Services served as the management team for the project. Development of the plan was led by JK Environments, a local consultant with expertise in projects that evaluate, enhance, and restore the natural environment. As part of the process a habitat advisory team (HAT) comprised of local experts and key stakeholders including UO faculty and students provided technical expertise and input to inform the Plan.

The restoration process is anticipated to span 20 years and includes attention to everything from the area’s plans and animals to its soil.


The University of Oregon intends to “conserve, enhance, and restore regionally important habitat within the WRNA to support a diversity of native plant and wildlife species while providing outstanding learning and recreational opportunities for students and community members alike.”

University of Oregon’s Vision for the WRNA
The UO’s Campus Plan guides development on campus utilizing “a framework of patterns and principles defining the qualities inherent to a functional, beautiful campus.”  It establishes how those qualities will be preserved and expanded as new opportunities emerge. The 2021 amendment to the UO Campus Plan emphasized UO’s stewardship of natural areas on campus by committing to “preserving and restoring natural habitat and promoting ecological functions while providing opportunities to learn about and engage with natural systems.”  
Of UO’s many designated open spaces, the WRNA offers the unique opportunity to showcase native plants and wildlife while also providing learning and recreational opportunities for students and community members. The WRNA Lanscape Management Plan (LMP) provides detailed guidance on maintaining the WRNA, and was designed to inform adaptive management for the next twenty years. The LMP’s purpose is to accommodate the goals of compatible education, research, and recreation uses as defined by the Campus Plan while preserving and improving habitats. 
How was the WRNA Management Plan created?
Beginning in December 2021, the landscape management plan was formulated under the guidance of the UO Campus Planning and Facilities Management staff team. The following parties contributed:
  • Jeff Krueger of JK Environments (Landscape Architect and project consultant)
  • A ten-person Habitat Advisory Team (HAT) made up of UO staff, faculty, and a student representative, as well as local environmental experts 
  • Other individuals with topic-specific expertise and site knowledge
The HAT participated in a series of facilitated site visits throughout the planning process.  Its members provided input on draft versions of the Landscape Management Plan (LMP) throughout its development. 
What is the purpose of the WRNA Landscape Management Plan? 
The Willamette River Natural Area Landscape Management Plan seeks to:
  • Document historical and existing site conditions. 
  • Evaluate issues and opportunities related to site management.
  • Describe a vision for desired future conditions.
  • Provide direction for short- and long-term management within this defined area. 
  • Subsequent recommendations will be directed toward improving the site’s habitat values and ecological function while accommodating compatible recreational and educational uses over a twenty-year period.