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Steelhead releasedIt takes just one generation for the DNA of steelhead domesticated in hatcheries to be altered and to be significantly different than steelhead whose parents are wild, according to a recent study by Oregon State University.
In fact the study found that in just one generation there were 723 genes that differed between the offspring of wild steelhead and the offspring of first-generation hatchery steelhead.
Further, the study found through gene enrichment analysis that adapting to the hatchery environment involves responses by the steelhead in wound healing, immunity and metabolism, suggesting the adaptation is due to crowding in hatcheries.
“We found hundreds of genes were   expressed   differently   between the offspring of first-generation hatchery fish and the offspring of wild fish, and that the difference was heritable from their parents,” said lead researcher Michael Blouin, professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at OSU.

Eagle Rock ParkEUGENE: The Lane County Parks Advisory Committee will hold a public hearing in two weeks to gather testimony regarding the draft Five-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for county parks projects from 2017 to 2021.
The Parks CIP is a five-year program used to plan expenditures for capital improvements to the Lane County Parks System according to Parks Manager Mike Russell. “Projects included in the CIP are designed to improve safety, utility and efficiency of existing facilities and further develop and add amenities that will improve visitors’ experiences,” he said. “Community members who have a park project that they would like to see included in the plan are encouraged to attend the hearing and provide testimony.”

Blue River mapBy Jim Baker, Blue River CDC & McKenzie Action team
The McKenzie Action Team, a group of community volunteers, hosted an open session on February 17 for residents to gather and discuss options for dealing with septic tank issues in Blue River.
There has been a long festering problem with aging and failing septic tanks. In addition, the small lots in Blue River do not meet modern standards for building due to septic requirements.
As a result, many of the business properties in Blue River cannot reopen or expand. Building lots stay vacant and a home owner often can’t even add a bedroom to their own home for they’re growing family.

Finn Rock CampFINN ROCK: “I always wondered why they called it a camp,” Billie Rose recalls. “Our folks lived there for almost 20 years. I guess ‘camp’ sort of gave the impression we were transients but we weren’t.”
Billie, her sister Nancy and brother Joe, were part of a gathering of old friends last Saturday who grew up in a community that many of today’s McKenzie Valley residents might never know existed. Their home, the Finn Rock Camp has long roots, stretching back to 1890, when Thomas “Whit” Whitaker Rosborough built a sawmill in Rosboro, Arkansas. After his honeymoon itinerary swung though the Pacific Northwest, Whit had a longing to return. He did that in 1939 when he moved to Springfield, Oregon, and built what a newspaper of that time called the region’s “most modern timber manufacturing plant.” Timber for the mill came from lands he’d purchased up the McKenzie Valley.

Through wallLEABURG: Firefighters from both of the area’s fire districts took part in last Wednesday night’s drill at McKenzie Fire & Rescue’s Leaburg station. The session, facilitated by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training. Training included skills to manage getting out of basements through windows, breaching walls, following hoses out of buildings, and diminishing clearance obstacles.  McKenzie Fire was able to train 35 of its members and Upper McKenzie was able to get six of its responders trained in the joint exercise sponsored by the state DPSST.  Matt Barnhart was the local state training coordinator for the area. View a short video of the training at: alturl.com/fg6m7

Donkey ballThis Saturday should provide some good opportunities to break away from a bout of cabin fever. At 2 p.m. some hearty individuals plan to get their adrenalin rushing when they take part in the 3rd Annual McKenzie River Polar Bear Plunge  at the Silver Creek Boat Ramp. People interested in participating can sign up and register at the Finn Rock Grill before the Saturday, February 6th, event.
The cost is $5 per person, with proceeds benefiting the Walterville Preschool. The Finn Rock Grill will match the total of entry fees received. A post jump party will follow at the Grill.
That night, at 7 p.m. Donkey Basketball is returning to McKenzie High School.

Hoodoo bikeSANTIAM PASS: The Back-country Festival will return to the to Hoodoo Ski Area this Friday and Saturday with seminars, industry pros, brand demos and entertainment. Organizers say there will be interactive displays set up on the snow as well as opportunities to test the best of fat tire bikes, skies, boots, bindings and light weight goods suited for every form of human powered touring into the backcountry.
Other features of the two-day festival will include music, races, demos, clinics, snow camping and a Three Creeks Brewing Co. beer garden. Trophies and prizes will be awarded for top two male and female in each race. Kids can earn their Junior Ranger Snow Badge by participating in the four levels of winter science and wildlife.
Friday’s festivities will start at 1 p.m. with a snow camp set up next to the Hoodoo lodge. Followed at a 4 p.m. with a live DJ in the snow cave and a backcountry film festival with juried movies from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Jeff Dehne - Man of the Year

Jeff Dehne

Nearly a winner in the past, the top vote getter for 2015 was Jeff Dehne of Walterville for his continued leadership of the annual   Walterville    Community Fair and for volunteering at projects and events throughout the McKenzie Valley area.
Besides serving as an officer of the Walterville Grange and riding herd on the Fair’s parade, Jeff seems to have “elbow grease” to spare. “I’ve seen him working on those community signs, building trails and setting up canopies and tables,” was noted by one of his supporters, who also said, “he never complains.”
Other nominees for Man of the Year included Jim Baker of Finn Rock and Kent Roberts of Rainbow.

Rosboro bridgeThe McKenzie River Trust (MRT) has purchased 154 acres of riverfront land along the McKenzie River near the town of Blue River in a closed-bid auction. The property includes approximately two miles of riverfront, numerous side channels, ponds, wetlands, and an old floodplain forest in the scenic McKenzie River corridor.
“We are grateful to the folks at Rosboro for working with us on this legacy project,” said Joe Moll, Executive Director of the McKenzie River Trust. “When you think of the McKenzie River, you imagine clean blue water, incredible salmon spawning habitat, and healthy floodplain forests. This property has all of that.”

Santiam wreckOn December 25, at about 10 a.m., OSP Troopers and emergency personnel responded to the report of a crash involving two vehicles on Highway 20 near milepost 77 (just east of the Santiam Junction).
Preliminary information indicates a 2003 Chevy Tahoe was traveling eastbound on Highway 20 when it lost control on the icy roadway. The Chevy crossed the centerline and struck a westbound 2005 Dodge Pickup nearly head-on.
One of the passing motorists, a doctor, stopped and provided medical attention to the injured passengers before medical personnel arrived. In all, six people were transported by ground ambulance to Saint Charles Hospital in Bend for various ranges of injuries.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.