Category Archives: Conservation Legacy

Apply for a 2022 Partners in Conservation (PIC) grant!

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

EMSWCD is happy to announce that we are again conducting our normal PIC grant application process 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.

Applications are due by 4:00 PM on Wednesday, December 15th, 2021.

Learn more about our PIC Grant Programs and how to apply on our PIC Grants page.

We are making some changes this year. 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

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

Join our upcoming online workshops on farm transition planning!

Headwaters Farm graduate lessee doing field work at Mainstem

It’s never too early (or too late!) to begin securing your farm’s future. A farm transition plan is essential to protecting your interests and minimizing attorney fees, taxes, and family stress. This free virtual workshop series will help you understand your options and navigate the planning process.

In partnership with the Clackamas Small Business Development Center at Clackamas Community College, Clackamas SWCD and Tualatin SWCD, EMSWCD will host four virtual workshops covering the following topics, each from 1 to 4 PM:

  • January 27th: The estate planning process and options
  • February 10th: Strategies for having difficult conversations
  • February 24th: Organizing your finances and business structure
  • March 10th: Preparing your operation and heirs for transition

Pre-register for the workshops here! You can also find out more about the importance of farm transition planning here.

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

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 have developed our initial criteria for this continued funding (please see below). 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. Read more

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