EMSWCD is suspending the 2021 Native Plant Sale

Here at EMSWCD, our highest priority is the health and safety of community members, volunteers, and staff. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, EMSWCD has made the extremely difficult decision to suspend its Annual Native Plant Sale for 2021.

Under normal circumstances, this event consists of plant sorting (in an enclosed tent), additional event preparations, and pick-up day activities that bring together over 100 volunteers, over 20 staff, and over 1000 plant sale customers within a one-week period. Given the pandemic-related restrictions, we realize that holding an event of this scale is not feasible or safe.

We are taking time this year to examine ways to make future plant sale events even better. We appreciate your patience while we work to identify how we can best serve our wonderful community of native plant enthusiasts.

Although we will not be holding our annual sale, we are fortunate here in the metro region to have so many avenues to purchase native plants. For your convenience, we have pulled together this list of sales, nurseries, and other avenues to buy native plants:

Visit our Local Sources of Native Plants page here

We regret that we won’t get to see your smiling faces and share our mutual love of native plants in person this coming year, but we very much look forward to improving and expanding our services going forward!

EMSWCD takes a “strategic pause” for the 2021 PIC Cycle

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

To EMSWCD grantees, partners, and supporters: We know how deeply all of you have been affected this past year by the upheaval and uncertainty that surrounds us. Here at EMSWCD, we have continued to do our work the best we can and to look for ways to support our communities. Ironically, it is in these extraordinary times that we are presented with a rare opportunity to consider how we may want to do things differently, to move in a direction that responds to the weight of this historic moment.

In this vein, EMSWCD has decided to take a “strategic pause” for the 2021 Partners in Conservation (PIC) Grant cycle – suspending the competitive grant opportunity for one year. While we will forgo the normal application process for PIC 2021, EMSWCD is committed to supporting our grantees and partners through this challenging time, and we intend to do this by extending some current grants and offering non-competitive new grants for our regular grantees for the fiscal year 2021/22. We are still working out the details of the criteria for this continued funding. The SPACE grant program will continue to operate as usual.

During this time, our staff will have the opportunity to address many aspects of our grant funding program with an eye toward greater equity and more strategic funding. We plan to conduct an evaluation of EMSWCD’s grants program in light of changes in the context of our regional funding, to implement new DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and other strategic initiatives, and to more fully engage with partners, grantees and other stakeholders about the future of our grants program.

Our hope is that through the work we accomplish during this “strategic pause,” our grants program will become more effective and more responsive to our diverse communities.

Please follow our website for more detailed information in the weeks to come. Please contact Suzanne Easton, Grants Program Manager, if you have any questions: suzanne@emswcd.org.

We’re now accepting applications for the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program!

Headwaters Farm fields

We are now accepting applications for the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program 2021 growing season! The Incubator Program leases farmland and equipment, provides trainings, and offers other supports to experienced growers seeking to establish a farm business. We encourage all interested individuals to apply!

Visit the Incubator Application page for information about the program and instructions on how to apply! You can also contact Rowan Steele, our Headwaters Farm Program Manager, at rowan@emswcd.org or (503) 935-5355. All application materials are due by 5 PM on Saturday, October 31st, 2020.


Watch these two videos to learn how the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program helps farmers as they launch their farm businesses.

EMSWCD permanently protects 16-acre property near Gresham

An aerial view of restoration efforts along Johnson Creek on the property

Sixteen acres of property along Johnson Creek in east Multnomah County are now forever protected thanks to a conservation easement agreement between the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) and property owner Lou Foltz.

“Our partnerships with private landowners are critical to protecting our natural and farmland resources” said Carrie Sanneman, board chair for the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District. “It is heartening to know that EMSCWD’s decades long partnership with the landowner has now been secured for perpetuity thanks to his generosity and foresight,” Sanneman noted.

The property is adjacent to two working farms owned and operated by the conservation district – Headwaters Farm and Mainstem Farm. Preventing development on this property helps protect the rural character of the area, allows for farming to continue into the future and conserves important habitat for native fish, wildlife and plants.

“I’m pleased that we are restoring a variety of flora on the property while also maintaining the ability to designate a portion of it for farming,” said landowner Louis Foltz. “I’ve been partnering with the conservation district for many years to ensure that this acreage is a healthy environment for fish and wildlife, while contributing to a clean water environment in Johnson Creek. This relationship will allow future landowners to sustain the habitat while simultaneously providing an option for some farming.” Read more

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