Tag Archives: conservation

Jackson SWCD

one month post fire

Obenchain Road one month post-fire. South Obenchain Fire. 10.09.20


Visit the Wildfire Recovery webpage.






Burned area along tributary to Bear Creek. Almeda Fire 10.23.20


Read Almeda Obenchain Fire Response Summary








Burned field near Bear Creek. Almeda Fire 10.23.20


Read Almeda Obenchain Fire Response Site Visit






For more information on Jackson SWCD work:
Karelia Ver Eecke
Education and Outreach Coordinator

Tualatin SWCD

Tualatin SWCD’s Forest Conservation Specialist has been working with several landowners to improve forest understory health, remove invasive species, introduce a diversity of native species, and expand forest habitat. Visit the story map

Our Rural Conservation Program worked with the owner of Sparrowhawk Farm to install native shrubs to block wind, dust, and pesticide drift, increase wildlife/pollinator habitat, and prevent trespass on the farm fields. Read more about the hedgerow along the farm perimeter.

Mud and Manure Management Project – Read more

Restoration of Glencoe Swale – Read more

For more information on Tualatin SWCD work:
Charlotte Trowbridge

East Multnomah SWCD

Headwaters Farm is the site of EMSWCD’s Headwaters Incubator Program which helps new farmers by providing affordable access to land and farm resources. Explore Headwaters Farm in these two videos and learn about the farmers’ experiences as they grow their farm businesses!

How the Headwaters Incubator Program Helps Beginning Farmers  – video
Why the Headwaters Incubator Program Helps Beginning Farmers – video

EMSWCD offers free workshops for urban and rural residents on topics ranging from naturescaping and rain gardens to attracting pollinators, and livestock management. Our classes help people care for land in ways that benefit people, water, and wildlife. Watch as our Urban Lands program supervisor, Kathy Shearin, talks about how we’ve adapted this year by transitioning to online workshops and by offering a new community “virtual yard tour,” in this interview with MetroEast Community Media!

For more information on East Multnomah SWCD work:
Alex Woolery
(503) 935-5367

Eagle Valley SWCD

Eagle Valley SWCD

Eagle Creek Irrigation







Eagle Valley pivot line






Eagle Valley intake






Eagle Creek Irrigation Project – Large OWEB Grant #220-5015

This irrigation project in the Eagle Valley SWCD partnered with NRCS to install one subsurface drip system, one 6-tower pivot, and two wheel lines, effectively converting 191 acres between two individual
landowners to a more efficient irrigation system. Before project install, irrigation water for these properties was diverted from Eagle Creek, a native fish-bearing stream, to an earthen ditch to be distributed via flood irrigation; tailwater runoff would return to the same system, carrying excess sediment, nutrients, debris and organic matter a short half mile before entering the Powder River and Brownlee Reservoir, further impacting water quality concerns in the watershed.
One powered, self-cleaning, screened headbox was installed in the ditch to provide gravity pressurized water to 2,100 feet of 12 inch mainline, 1,560 feet of 8 inch mainline, and 3,420 feet of 6 inch mainline that conveys water to the sprinkler and center pivot systems as well as the subsurface drip system. One 1,000 foot and one 640 foot wheel line were installed in the north and south west corners of the project site to irrigate acres that the pivot will not reach. Fourteen culvert crossings were installed and one power drop was completed as part of the project, as well as 1,700 feet of cable in conduit to provide power from an existing line. The completion of this irrigation system will provide an estimated water savings of 1.1 CFS, benefitting aquatic species and habitat in Eagle Creek while also eliminating irrigation tailwater from entering the Powder River Watershed.

For more information on Eagle Valley SWCD work:
Whitney M Collins, Baker County SWCD’s Districts Manager
Whitney Collins
541-519-2496 Cell
541-523-7121 X 109 Office

Keating SWCD

Keating SWCD

Big Creek Stockwater







Keating rubber tire watering trough






Keating fence






Big Creek Stockwater Project – Large OWEB Grant #218-5003

Water source locations greatly affect grazing distribution across the rangeland. Oftentimes livestock will congregate in the low benches along perennial streams or existing springs; without other off-channel watering sources available, these areas will become trampled and degraded from overuse. At this particular project site within the Keating SWCD, a tributary to Big Creek was the only watering source for livestock, apart from one antiquated spring-fed trough and one small pond located in a small 21 acre pasture. Livestock would primarily gather around this stream, underutilizing the other three pastures, and adding excess sediment, nutrients and organic matter into the stream, a tributary to the Powder River which runs 153 miles, almost entirely in Baker County, before draining into the Snake River.

This project developed one spring and installed a solar pumping station to provide livestock water to two 2,000 gallon storage cisterns and three new rubber tire watering troughs. This project also installed 2,000 feet of wildlife friendly riparian fencing along the perennial stream that feeds into Big Creek. This off-channel watering system, along with implementing a rotational grazing plan, will reduce grazing impacts throughout the 125 acres at the project site, better utilizing all four pastures while improving water quality in Big Creek and the Powder River Watershed.

For more information on Keating SWCD work:
Whitney M Collins, Baker County SWCD’s Districts Manager
Whitney Collins
541-519-2496 Cell
541-523-7121 X 109 Office

Baker Valley SWCD

Baker Valley pond pump






Baker Valley SWCD

Crop Circle Irrigation







Crop Circle Irrigation Project – Large OWEB Grant #219-5001
Flood irrigation has been used in the Baker Valley for centuries as an effective method of distributing water. However, when applied to annual crops, the soil erosion rates can double, increasing sediment and organic matter inputs through tail water runoff returning to the streams. Sediment entering our fresh water rivers and streams increases the embeddedness of the channel, increases the pH level of the water and supports algae growth due to the high level of readily available nutrients, thus damaging habitat and impairing the survival of native aquatic species. Because so much flood irrigation runoff returns to surface receiving waters, the link between soil erosion and surface water contamination must be addressed.

This large-scale irrigation project improved 517 acres of previously flood irrigated ground through the installation of five center pivots (purchased and installed by the landowners as
project match); 9,440 feet of mainline; 5,728 feet of cable in conduit to provide three-phase power to the pivots; and one pumping station, installed in an existing irrigation pond at the project site, equipped with a debris screen. In addition to the center pivots’ capability to measure and provide the exact amount of water that can be held by the soil and used to support the crop being irrigated, thus eliminating irrigation runoff from entering the watershed, there is also a flow meter installed in the mainline to provide accurate water
measurements to each of the five pivots. Any unused irrigation water will now remain in the North Powder River for aquatic habitat and fish passage.

For more information on Baker Valley SWCD work:
Whitney M Collins, Baker County SWCD’s Districts Manager
Whitney Collins
541-519-2496 Cell
541-523-7121 X 109 Office

Share Your Conservation Story!!

in T's garden

Fava bean cover crop

Hello Conservation Partners!

It is me, Teresa Matteson, secretary of the Oregon Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Usually around this time of year, the OR SWCS hosts our annual meeting with a tour to some project in the state. Due to COVID, this year we will create a virtual tour to share a variety of Oregon conservation stories.

If you have a story to share that features a project or educational theme in your area, please email me a brief description of the project/story/article and/or the link to the video/story on your website. A photo with caption would be most excellent, too. Also include contact name and email address.

We are open to all your creative ways of sharing, so don’t feel restrained by our suggestions.

In summary, to share your stories through OR SWCS, please email the following items to tmatt0@rtdata.com

  • Brief description of project/story
  • Story (Word, pdf or PowerPoint) with photos OR video OR link to an article, PowerPoint, or video on your website.
  • Photo with caption (optional but very cool) for the OR SWCS landing page
  • Your contact name and email address

The deadline to submit content in time for the Annual Meeting is Dec 7th. We will continue to add items that are received after that date. There is no deadline for telling Oregon’s conservation stories.

Visit the OR SWCS webpage to tour the stories that have been shared!

Thanks for your input and participation as we battle COVID and keep the Oregon conservation network alive.

Teresa Matteson


Sturgeon Lake Restoration Project

Dairy Creek Bridge

Dairy Creek Bridge

Sturgeon Lake on Sauvie Island provides important aquatic habitat for numerous fish and wildlife species as well as recreation opportunities for people. Columbia River dams and island levees restricted natural flow to the lake which increased sedimentation and the risk of the lake becoming an isolated body of water.  West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District and partners worked for decades to restore a stream system that allows natural flow from the Columbia River through Dairy  Creek channel into the lake and out the Gilbert River. This hydrologic connection will increase water quality in the lake and wetland. Past efforts to restore a direct hydrologic connection between Sturgeon Lake and the Columbia River were thwarted by a flood in 1996 that deposited sand and woody debris at the mouth of Dairy Creek and blocked the  flow of water from the Columbia River. The solution was to replace two failed culverts under Reeder Road with a new bridge, remove the sand and debris plug from the mouth of Dairy Creek, and create a permanent channel for low flow and high flow water levels, planted with native trees, shrubs, and grasses. After over a decade of partnership building, planning, fundraising, and engineering, and just over four months of construction, the Dairy Creek channel reopened to tidal flow between the Columbia River and Sturgeon Lake in November 2018.

Healthy Streams Project – Lower McCarthy Creek

McCarthy Creek WMSWCDMcCarthy Creek flows from NW Skyline Boulevard to Multnomah Channel across from Sauvie Island. This creek is unique to the area in that it is considered essential salmonid habitat, especially for coho and Chinook salmon. At the bottom of the watershed is 121 acres of privately owned land – most of which is wetlands and within the 100-year floodplain – protected by a conservation easement. West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (WMSWCD) manages the land on behalf of the landowner and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the federal easement holder. We continue to actively restore native wetland and oak habitat on this site. The District secured funding in 2015 from NRCS to improve approximately 5 acres of riparian (streamside) area and 3 acres of uplands. Since then, we’ve been treating invasive blackberry and reed canary grass, Canada thistle, and other weeds to restore riparian areas and create Oregon white oak savanna and native plant “hedgerows” for pollinators and other wildlife. We took 2 years (2017 – early 2019) to plant 12,000 woody and herbaceous wetland plants along the creek and followed with upland plantings. We did this with the help of paid crews and area native plant nurseries. The total NRCS project is valued at $123,000, which includes $100,000 of NRCS funds and contributed District staff time. We had the good fortune to find additional partners and funding that allowed us to embark on a new phase of restoration, which was begun in 2017 and completed in February 2020. In this project phase, we removed two culverts that were no longer needed, one of which impeded fish movement; added habitat features such as basking logs for turtles and structures to encourage and mimic beaver dams; and performed 4.8 acres of “marsh plain lowering” which greatly enhances wetland habitat. Invasive reed canary grass and more than 15,000 cubic yards of soil were scraped away to lower the surface elevation 2 to 3 feet in key wetland areas and to make the streambanks less steep. See more stats at: https://wmswcd.org/update-on-restoration-of-lower-mccarthy-creek-wetland-and-oak-habitat/