Our Oregon’s Greatest Wetland of the month for September, the Jackson-Frazier Wetland, is a complex area that supports several types of wetlands, including wet prairie, ponds, and shrub-scrub. The wetland, established as a Benton County Park in 1992, is a 147-acre parcel of protected land. A short barrier-free boardwalk takes you on a loop through marshes dominated by willow, Oregon ash, spiraea, and marsh grasses, including tall fescue, slough grass, and meadow foxtail. An area in the center of the property contains a large cattail marsh.
Rare wetland plant species, including the federally listed Bradshaw’s lomatium, Willamette daisy, and Nelson’s checkermallow, find a home here in the heart of the Willamette Valley, along with numerous wetland-loving birds, like red-winged blackbirds, great blue herons, and sparrows. Birds heard, but unlikely to be easily spotted, are Virginia rails and marsh wrens. Raptors, such as harriers and Cooper’s hawks, hunt in open areas, and tanagers, warblers, towhees, and waxwings may be found in the foliage.
Much of the area was previously used for agriculture, and a major phase two restoration in August 2020, smoothed out ditches and ruts and removed a berm, creating more of the historic, natural pools that would have existed there. Jackson-Frazier Wetland can be a great family outing with young children or a quick stop after completing a longer hike in the area.