The 2022 Partners in Conservation (PIC) grant opportunity is coming up!

Recently-planted red flowering currant at a grant project restoration site

EMSWCD is happy to announce that we will be conducting our normal PIC grant application process this fall after last year’s “PIC Pause” due to COVID. The PIC program awards grants annually from $5,000 to $100,000 to non-profits, local governments and educational institutions for conservation projects, environmental education, school and community food gardens, and participation of diverse communities in conservation work.

The ZoomGrants online application will open on November 1st, 2021, and applications will be due by 4:00 PM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021.

We are making some changes this year, so check back for the updated 2022 PIC Guidelines later this month. Some highlights: Read more

Equity-focused evaluation of the PIC grant program

A new report on our equity initiatives is now available!

EMSWCD recently conducted an evaluation of the Partners in Conservation (PIC) grant program focused on our efforts to address equity through the grant funding we provide to local organizations. The evaluation was conducted by an independent consultant. We are pleased to share the final report: “EMSWCD Partners in Conservation (PIC) Grants Program Evaluation Report” by Jamie Stamberger, which can be found here. This report is the product of an online survey and interviews that were conducted in spring of 2021 with the participation of recent PIC grantees and other partners. Read more

Register for a free workshop

Maidenhair fern (Adiantum aleuticum)

Our fall season of workshops is here! We offer free and practical online workshops on a variety of topics. Discover simple gardening practices that will help you create a beautiful landscape that conserves water, reduces pollution and attracts beneficial wildlife to your yard.

Workshop topics include planting with native plants, natural landscaping techniques that reduce pollution and water use, supporting beneficial insects and pollinators, creating an edible landscape, dealing with invasive weeds, and putting rainwater to use with a rain garden! If you are not able to attend a live webinar, we also have recorded sessions you can watch at any time.

View the workshop schedule and register here

One year update: solar power at Headwaters Farm

aerial angled view of two structures at Headwaters Farm, including a barn in the foreground and a storage shed in the background, with solar-panel-covered roofs visible on both structures

Thanks to a 2019 Renewable Development Fund grant (RDF) from Portland General Electric, EMSWCD was able to purchase and install a 70kW photovoltaic system at Headwaters Farm. The solar panels were installed on two structures on the farm and began feeding electricity into the grid in April of 2020. In its first year of solar production, the renewable energy system generated 84 megawatt-hours, or enough to offset around 90% of the farm’s annual electricity consumption! This equated to a savings on the farm’s electricity bills of just under $10,000 for the year.

The Headwaters solar project was made possible with support from the PGE Renewable Development Fund, which contributed $55,566 towards the $155,374 total project cost. The Energy Trust of Oregon also contributed $23,715. Together over 50% of the project’s cost was covered by the Energy Trust and PGE’s RDF funds, with the balance coming from EMSWCD.

Nancy Hamilton, EMSWCD’s Executive Director, said of the project: “We are excited to be generating electricity at the farm and reducing our carbon footprint. And we are very grateful to PGE and their Green Future customers, as well as the Energy Trust of Oregon, for helping to make this solar project happen. The Headwaters Farm solar installation is an important demonstration opportunity for our farmers and visitors to Headwaters Farm, and the wider community we serve. The project also made a lot of sense for us financially.”

With the generous support of PGE and the Energy Trust, the Headwaters Farm solar system is anticipated to pay for itself within eight years. The solar panels are under warranty for 30 years and could be productive well beyond that.

“EMSWCD is committed to addressing the climate crisis,” says Rowan Steele, Headwaters Farm Program Manager. “Like many other farms, the barns at Headwaters have large roof surfaces facing south with great solar exposure. Between the two roofs we were able to accommodate a solar system that off-set almost all the electricity used on site, including for the irrigation pump, walk-in coolers, and a residence. That means we could generate power without impacting our farmland, which can be used to sequester carbon through cover cropping and other conservation farming practices. The solar system has also spurred investment in an electric UTV that replaced an old gas guzzling farm truck, and we are now exploring the exciting possibility of getting an electric tractor that will reduce our use of fossil fuels even further.” Read more

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Upcoming EMSWCD Board and Committee Meetings

The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD), serving all of Multnomah County east of the Willamette River, has scheduled Board meetings as well as Land Legacy and Personnel Committee meetings via teleconference for the months of October through December 2021.

Visit this page to see a calendar of upcoming meetings.

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