The Wild Rivers Coast Alliance’s (WRCA) annual report has been published, and includes stories about the work the organization did in Curry County in 2017.

Locally, it’s arguably best known for the 2013 culinary agriculture tourism group now called Eat Fresh & Local.

“WRCA not only provided the funding for Curry Watersheds Partnership to do its valuable food systems work, but they have also brought important partners to the table to make a bigger impact,” said Cathy Boden of the watershed program. “Instead of ‘Doing what we can with what we have,’ WRCA asks, ‘What do you need to get the project done right?’

“WRCA understands our organization has the relationships to do the work, so they make sure we have the tools to make it happen,” she said. “They care about the work we accomplish and what is needed to support healthy, resilient communities. No matter what the situation, we can approach them, share our concerns, and they offer suggestions or resources to help overcome the barriers.”

WRCA helped the Curry Watersheds Partnership with a local food-education program for fourth- and fifth-graders. It includes farm field trips, school garden support, taste testings, school cafeteria support to improve students’ food choices and nutrition, cooking classes, and community involvement and outreach.

The curriculum also teaches students about the impact growing food has on watersheds.

Through WRCA, the Oregon Food Bank, the University of Oregon and the Curry Watershed Partnership, an AmeriCorps intern spent a year evaluating and interviewing food-systems leaders, and published a Curry County Food Assessment and a food guide.

The South Coast

WRCA was instrumental in funding the Oregon Coast Visitors Association so it could expand to better represent the South Coast in its tourism efforts, the report reads.

With the increased capacity, OCVA took a prominent role in the region’s destination development activities to benefit the entire south coast of Oregon.

In Bandon, WRCA was involved in the high schools Go Native nursery and its goal of educating students about native plants and getting them to the weekly farmer’s market.

In Coquille, the Coquille Watershed Association has, with WRCA’s assistance, continued its work with private landowners to improve landscapes through water and habitat restoration projects, salmon recovery, watershed monitoring and natural resource education.

Through that, the association has replaced a tide gate, restored more than 3,000 feet of tidal channels, decommissioned a half-mile of road and surveyed 10 miles of roads in the Steel Creek basin and monitored watershed conditions there to decrease sediment loading in the East Fork Coquille River, a popular fishing venue.

And the Wild Rivers Land Trust (WRLT) received help to secure clean waterways and healthy forests by partnering with landowners to create conservation trusts, which are touted nationwide as “win-win” situations for working farms, ranches and forests.

WRCA has supported 5,855 acres of “working landscapes” since its inception in 2010, conducted restoration and enhancement projects on 67 stream miles and provided almost 48 full-time jobs. Last year, it funded 31 grants totalling $780,146 for various projects throughout the South Coast.

Mike Keiser, owner of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, founded Wild Rivers Coast Alliance; its mission is to help projects on the South Coast that yield “triple-bottom-line results — conservation, community and economy — with methods that use ecological initiatives and economic opportunities.

Ultimately, its objective is to support and promote healthy fish and species habitats, working landscapes and seascapes, sustainable tourism, community collaboration and sustainable businesses.

Reach Jane Stebbins at .