Category Archives: News

Working Farmland Protection Program Makes Strides

We are pleased to announce that our Working Farmland Protection Program has closed on an important farmland transaction! This February, EMSWCD acquired a 14-acre farm property directly adjoining its Headwaters Incubator Farm property on the outskirts of Gresham.

Acquisition helps ensure a future for agriculture on the property. With its proximity to EMSWCD’s Headwaters Farm Incubator Program (a launching pad for aspiring farmers), there are exciting opportunities to extend programming for current and graduating participants of the Incubator Program onto this property. The property also enjoys nearly 400 feet of frontage along Johnson Creek, a stream which EMSWCD has long worked to improve through its StreamCare program (a voluntary program with private landowners that restores native vegetation along important waterways).
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Nature Notes – March 27th, 2018

Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

March 27th, 2018

Early spring bloomers!

Right now the non-native cherry trees, forsythia, and daffodils are dazzling us with their showy displays, but many other native species are blooming as well, such as kinnickinnick, trilliums, and bleeding heart.

Kinnickinnick is an evergreen, drought-tolerant, low-growing native shrub that is an excellent groundcover for tough spots such as parking strips. Its small pink flowers are not showy, but are important sources of food in early spring for pollinators like bumblebees, syrphid flies, and mason bees. White trilliums are long-lived herbaceous perennials of the forest floor; many do not bloom until they are seven years old! They are mostly pollinated by moths, beetles, and bumblebees. Dicentra, or bleeding-heart, is another long-lived understory perennial. Its delicate pink flower is an important spring necter source for hummingbirds.

Flowers that bloom early in the spring and late in the fall are very important to wildlife, so the longer you have flowers blooming, the prettier your yard will be for wildlife as well as for humans!

Learn About Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek - The Watershed Beneath Our Feet

Beaver Creek starts as a spring near Dodge Park Blvd, and flows through farms and nurseries. It passes by houses in Gresham and Troutdale where smaller creeks like Kelly Creek flow into it. The creek then empties into the Sandy River near Glenn Otto Park.

View a map of the Beaver Creek Watershed here!

The Beaver Creek watershed is the area of land where rain water flows towards the creek. It is home to salmon, salamanders, herons, eagles, otters, lamprey, people, and much more.

Read more about the watershed in the links below. Explore who lives there, the challenges the watershed faces, and what you can do to keep it healthy. Available in English, Spanish and Russian!


Created in partnership with the City of Gresham, Sandy River Watershed Council, Multnomah County, and the City of Troutdale.

Nature Notes – March 1st, 2018

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series!

When EMSWCD purchased this property for our office, the yard consisted of a weed-filled lawn with a few trees. Our staff kept the trees, removed all the grass, and began landscaping and installing hundreds of native plants. Every year since then we’ve continued to add plants and make adjustments as needed, and the landscape is now totally transformed!

In our new Nature Notes series, we’ll share small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis. It’s important to us to be present on the landscape, to really see the world we move through every day—both its changes and its consistency. The more aware we become of the natural world around us, and of how plants and animals interact, the better we can help people care for land and water. Read more

Grant Butte Natural Area grows

photo credit: Jim Labbe

The Grant Butte Natural Area just got bigger!

Thanks to a recent collaboration between EMSWCD and Metro, an additional 15 acres adjoining the existing Grant Butte Natural Area was acquired for wildlife habitat and public open space uses. This acquisition adds to the existing 88 acre natural area, providing a significant expanse of natural open space for the residents of East Portland and the City of Gresham.

“We are excited to build upon our prior partnership with Metro to further enhance this community asset,” said EMSWCD Board Chair Rick Till. “These types of collaborations are critical to protecting the important natural resources that make our area such a special place.”

“Metro is proud to support the purchase of the property with $210,000 from the natural areas bond measure voters approved in 2006,” said Jonathan Blasher, Parks and Nature director. “The new acquisition at Grant Butte Wetlands will help protect clean water, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and provide people with opportunities to enjoy nature close to home.”

The land will be owned and managed by Metro as part of their natural areas portfolio. Metro will also engage the community in a public planning process to explore possibilities for expanding public access at the site. Read more

Soil School 2018

Registration is now open for Soil School 2018! This exciting and fun one-day workshop on all things soil will be held Saturday, April 7th from 8:00am to 4:00pm at the PCC Rock Creek Event Center. Soil School is sponsored this year by West Multnomah SWCD, Tualatin SWCD and OSU Extension.

Soil School 2018 will be a day packed full of information for small acreage farmers, landscapers, gardeners, grounds managers and anyone else who wants to improve their soil. The health of your soil determines the health of everything growing in it—the food you eat and the crops you produce.

Learn more and register here

This year, Soil School is approved for Oregon Landscape Contractors Board Continuing Education Hours (CEH)! Certificates will be available to registered landscape professionals.

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