McKenzie River Watershed – Eugene’s Brewshed®

The McKenzie Watershed is the source of drinking water for nearly 200,000 people in the Eugene metropolitan area.

That clean water is also a key part of the recipe in the craft brews of Claim 52 Brewing, Ninkasi Brewing, Falling Sky Brewing, Hop Valley Brewing, and is combined with fresh, local ingredients for Elk Horn Brewery’s ciders. The McKenzie Watershed main stem, the McKenzie River, is about 90 miles long, beginning near Clear Lake in the Cascade Mountains. Some sections of the river are even designated with federal “Wild and Scenic” and “Oregon Scenic Waterway” protections that help sustain threatened Chinook salmon and bull trout populations.

But integral to the McKenzie watershed’s drinking water purity is our protected public lands. Ground waters that accumulated in McKenzie River originate in tributaries in the Willamette National Forest, including the protected Mount Washington Wilderness and Three Sisters Wilderness areas. Anyone who enjoys a refreshing pint of Eugene-made beer should raise a glass and toast to Wilderness!