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.

Spring Workshops are here!

Cusick's Checkermallow

Get ready for spring with one of our free workshops! Learn how to conserve water, reduce pollution and attract beneficial wildlife, all while creating an attractive and low-maintenance landscape. Our workshops are held in a variety of locations in Portland, Gresham and Troutdale.

Register today for a Free Workshop!

Workshops offered this spring include:

  • Naturescaping Basics
  • Rain Gardens 101
  • Native Plants Workshop
  • Attracting Pollinators
  • Beneficial Insects
  • Urban Weeds

You need to register to attend a workshop – please don’t wait! Workshops tend to fill up quickly. Register today!

We are here to help

Our thoughts are with those that have been affected by the Eagle Creek fire. Once residents are able to return home, they will have questions about managing the burned areas on their properties. We want you to know that we are here to help. We will offer site visits and can identify State, Federal and local resources to assist you. In the meantime, please contact us with any questions you may have.

Please contact Julie DiLeone, our Rural Lands Supervisor, at (503) 935-5360 or julieD@emswcd.org.

Introducing new Associate Board Directors, Mike and Carrie

new associate directors Mike Gerel and Carrie Sanneman

We’d like to introduce our two new Associate Board Directors, Carrie Sanneman and Mike Gerel! Both Mike and Carrie come to EMSWCD with extensive backgrounds in conservation, restoration and water quality. Carrie manages the Clean Water program at Willamette Partnership, and Mike is the Director of Programs at Sustainable Northwest. Learn more about Mike, Carrie, and the rest of our Board on our Board page.

The Launching of a New Farm

Headwaters Incubator Program’s first graduates, Pete and Claire, enjoying the first season on their new plot of land in Canby, Oregon

Udan Farm, Headwaters Incubator Program’s first graduate

Pete and Claire St. Tulnoynum came to the Headwaters Incubator Program (HIP) in 2015 with a couple of seasons of farming under their belt, some produce management experience, and a good understanding of what makes for healthy soil. Using the Lloyd and Woodlawn Farmers Markets as their primary retail outlets, they were able to establish Udan Farm and transition their business onto leased farmland in just two years.

Participants in HIP are given up to five years to launch their business, but Udan Farm’s experience is essentially how the program is designed to work: a farm enters the program and works to refine production practices, establish markets, build farm networks, make investments, and then leaves for their own site (either leased or owned) to continue growing the operation. Or, as Pete explains, “Headwaters Incubator Program was extremely good for us. We got to experience what it was like to work together as a couple, we gleaned ideas from other farmers, and we were able to get the business running.” Read more

Managing invasive tansy ragwort weeds

Tansy weed (Senecio jacobaea) in bloom with cinnabar moth caterpillars feeding on it

It seems like tansy is everywhere this year, but its predators are not far behind…

Tansy is a dangerous pasture weed because it is poisonous to livestock, causing liver damage when ingested.

What to do if you have tansy on your property

We don’t recommend mowing, which can extend the life of the plant beyond its normal two years and increase the chance that it could get into hay. Some plants are beginning to seed now, so mowing now is more likely to spread infestations further.

Your best bet for removal is pulling or digging. Unfortunately, the ideal time to pull the plants was between May and June, after they bolted but before they flowered. At this point, it may be better to wait until next year to remove them. If you need to pull it this year, you’ll want to bag it and dispose of it in the trash so the seeds don’t spread. When left alone, the seeds disperse by wind, but they only travel an average of 10 feet from the plant, so letting it go to seed in place will not cause rapid spread.

Tansy predators making a comeback
Tansy has two main biological controls (“biological controls” in this context means natural predators that help control invasive plant or other pest populations) that feed on it when it starts to spread: the cinnabar moth and the flea beetle. Cinnabar moth caterpillars have been spotted around the district (see photos) this summer. Although less visible, it’s really the flea beetles that do most of the work, attacking the root crown, leaves, and leaf stalks during the rainy season. We will be looking for the small, golden flea beetles come October.


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