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 September through December 2021.

Visit this page to see a calendar of upcoming meetings.

Office hours

Office Hours Horse

We’re coming to you, virtually!

Join Jeremy for a live (and free) one on one discussion about your farm. Bring your questions and explore strategies and solutions around:

  • Management of livestock
  • Pasture care and grazing management
  • Mud management
  • Manure management and composting
  • Cropping and cover cropping
  • Integrated Pest Management- using beneficial plants to attract beneficial bugs
  • Soil health and how to take a soil sample
  • Irrigation systems and water management to reduce your costs
  • Noxious weed control
  • Natural areas and planting for wildlife and birds
  • General farm planning

Sessions will be scheduled for 50 minutes but may require additional time. You can work with Jeremy to schedule follow up visits as needed.

Make an online appointment with us!

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    Have questions?

    Contact Jeremy Baker at:
    (503) 488-9939
    jeremy@emswcd.org

    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

    EMSWCD has a new Executive Director!

    The entire Board and staff at East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) are thrilled to announce the selection of our new Executive Director, Nancy Hamilton!

    our new Executive Director, Nancy Hamilton

    Nancy Hamilton comes to EMSWCD from eight years managing a private consulting practice, and previously held leadership positions in the administrations of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Tom Potter. Nancy brings rich experience in the public and private sectors, the knowledge to champion expanding programs around climate change and equity, and the management and leadership experience to bring people together around our mission to help people care for land and water.

    “I could not be more honored to work with the extraordinary team of professionals at the EMSWCD,” said Nancy Hamilton. “The organization is doing critical work across such a broad spectrum of priorities, and with a strong commitment to seeing how we can contribute to addressing the looming climate crisis, I’m looking forward to getting started.”

    “The board has full confidence in Nancy’s ability to lead the organization.” said Board Chair Carrie Sanneman, “District staff have continuously shown their resilience, creativity, and compassion through the COVID pandemic. We know they will continue to thrive with an experienced and empathetic leader like Nancy.” Nancy will start work with EMSWCD on November 16th.

    Please join us in welcoming Nancy to EMSWCD!

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