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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 and Committee meetings via teleconference for the months of January through June 2022.

The Special Board meeting originally scheduled for December 27th, 2021 at 4:00 PM has been postponed. Please check our website for updates; a new date and time for the meeting will be set soon.

Visit this page to see a calendar of upcoming meetings.

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

Our StreamCare program has planted half a million plants!

staff and contractors staking native plants at a site along Johnson Creek

On February 9th, EMSWCD planted its 500,000th native plant through its StreamCare program, marking twelve years of planting native trees and shrubs to improve stream health and help salmon throughout eastern Multnomah County!

StreamCare has been plugging away planting native trees and shrubs along streams in Gresham, Corbett and Troutdale since 2009, working together with more than 200 landowners that have voluntarily enrolled in the program. Our Executive Director Nancy Hamilton says of the program: “Our crews are able to transform stream fronts from blackberry brambles to thriving native forests that attract wildlife, protect water quality, and build more resilient communities.” Watch our brand new video below highlighting the milestone planting!

The main goal of StreamCare is creating shade. As the trees mature, they cast their shadows over the stream, lowering the temperature of the water. “It’s mostly to benefit salmon,” says Lucas Nipp, our StreamCare program manager. “Salmon need cool water. Most of the streams in our area are far too warm for healthy salmon.” Read more

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