“Trout Unlimited” partners with Butte Creek Mill Foundation to buy water rights, preserves historical status

EAGLE POINT, Ore.- The Butte Creek Mill and “Trout Unlimited”, the organization that purchased the water rights to Little Butte Creek, are working together to help the mill maintain it’s historic status.

NBC5 reported in February that the mill wasn’t able to purchase the water rights.

The water rights were retained by the previous owner, Bob Russell. Oregon’s “Trout Unlimited” made a deal to buy the rights from Russell, and was given two years to raise the money for the purchase.

It will cost just under $600,000 and the mill foundation hopes to raise $91,000 of that to help complete the purchase.

It’s the foundation’s part of the partnership. By doing that, it can use the water to power the mill, and keep its historic status by leasing it from “Trout Unlimited” for just a dollar a year.

“Trout Unlimited” and the Butte Creek Mill Foundation are currently seeking funding for the project through state grant programs and private donations. This effort has reached a critical point in the campaign as grant applications are reviewed by funders.

“We’re just really excited to be working together and be at the phase where the project is cleared and we are able to fundraise and get it over the finish line,” said Trout Unlimited Oregon’s Director, Chrysten Lambert.

“Trout Unlimited” says this water right transaction will be the largest of its kind in Oregon to date.

It says the Historic Butte Creek Mill is also playing a key role in a major, collaborative effort to save native fish populations, and maintaining the water flow will even benefit the cities it flows through.

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Grace Smith is co-anchor for NBC5 News at 6. The Chicago native is a recent graduate of University of Miami with a Communication Honors degree specializing in Broadcast Journalism. She minored in Creative Writing and focused her senior thesis on social media usage and engagement. During her time at the University of Miami, she anchored multiple award-winning student television programs, covering everything from music festivals to the Super Bowl. Though she loved Miami's beaches, she's thrilled to be in the Pacific Northwest where she can experience all four seasons and have a real Christmas tree! When she’s not at work, you can find Grace glued to any television showing live sports (especially if it's the Chicago Bears) or attempting a new recipe as she learns to cook.
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