The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) is a unit of local government serving Multnomah County East of the Willamette River. We are led by an elected board of five directors and several associate directors. We work entirely on a voluntary, non-regulatory basis. All our work is geared toward keeping water clean, conserving water and keeping soil healthy. Our district is a very diverse place. We serve areas from downtown Portland and Gresham out to the National Forest and our work is designed to fit that diversity.
Our 17-member staff provides a wide variety of programs and services to urban and rural residents and businesses. Here is a brief description of what you can find in each section.
About – learn about EMSWCD, our history and our facility, and get to know our staff and board members. You can also find our growing Documents and Resources section here, which includes helpful resources for each program, as well as up-to-date reports, notes and minutes from our board meetings, which are open to the public.
In Your Yard – intended for urban and rural residents alike, use this section to learn about the advantages of landscaping with native plants, installing a rain garden in your yard, and conserving water. We also offer free workshops on these topics in the Spring and Fall.
On Your Land – primarily intended for rural landowners, farmers and property managers, this section covers a variety of issues landowners may face, from the threat of invasive weeds to streamside erosion We help rural landowners on an entirely voluntary basis to meet their conservation goals for their land. We help livestock owners manage mud and manure, which prevents pollution while improving conditions for the animal. We can help keep pastures healthy, provide off-stream watering, handle barn roof water, and more! All of our services are provided free of charge.
Grants and Cost Share – besides the assistance we offer directly, we also advance our goals by providing financial and technical assistance to partners throughout the District, in order to tackle diverse conservation projects and promote conservation education. We have grant programs for organizations and for smaller projects and events, and also offer cost-share to private landowners and land managers with natural resource concerns. This section contains all the resources you need to apply for a grant, or you can explore our past and present projects.
Land Conservation – the newest addition to our programs, through land conservation we help to protect productive agricultural and natural resource lands for future generations. Explore this section to learn about agricultural land easements, or to learn about protecting natural land in urban and rural areas.
Farm Incubator – we lease sections of EMSWCD’s Headwaters Farm to motivated, skilled individuals who use it as a launching pad for their own farming endeavors. Our model program at Headwaters Farm not only helps new farmers deal with the initial challenges of finding access to capital, equipment and land, it also serves to demonstrate techniques for conservation agriculture and integrated pest management, and is one of our largest Streamcare sites.
Native Plants – learn about the many benefits native plants provide, both in your yard and on the land. In this section you can explore our database of plants native to the Willamette Valley, learn how to plant native plants, and find out about our annual Plant Sale, which provides thousands of low-cost plants for naturescaping and restoration projects.
Workshops and Events – register for our free workshops, and keep up to date on the latest events! We offer workshops on naturescaping, on how to build a rain garden, and on setting up site plans. If you are interested in hosting a workshop in your neighborhood, or would simply like us to come speak at your meeting, event or training, we can do that as well!