Category Archives: Conservation Legacy

Entering a new strategic partnership with the Columbia Slough, Johnson Creek and Sandy River Basin Watershed Councils

Jay Udelhoven and all three Watershed Council Executive Directors sign the SPA agreement.

We are proud to announce the launch of a new long-term partnership with the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, and the Sandy River Basin Watershed Council! Under this five-year Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA), we will work together with the watershed councils to plan for and implement joint conservation projects within our service area (all of Multnomah County east of the Willamette River). The partnership will include grant funding up to $1.5 million from EMSWCD to the watershed councils as well as joint fund-raising from other sources.

Find out more about the partnership and initial project funding here.

From our farmers: Thrifty farmer ideas for the season to come

reusing burlap coffee bags as mulch

This is the sixth in our “From our farmers” series, which was contributed by Sue Nackoney of Gentle Rain Farm, one of the farmers enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program. Originally written in February, this piece features several clever ways Sue and other farmers at Headwaters are conserving resources and reusing materials!

As the days lengthen and we come out of our own hibernation, the urge to get into the soil starts, but usually it is still too wet and cold to do much this time of year here in the northern climes. Here are a handful of ideas to conserve, reuse and re-purpose for the farm or garden that you can do indoors before the busy garden time begins. Read more

From our farmers: On the challenges of farming and family

John and Heather's Family - Springtail Farm

This is the fifth in our “From our farmers” series, which was contributed by John Felsner of Springtail Farm, one of the farmers enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program.

The challenges of producing food are innumerable: prices for land, materials, inputs, fuel, and insurance always seem to be rising; the uncertainties and rapid transformation of climate and weather patterns; eking out a living in a fickle market, and the list goes on. When my partner Heather and I made a decision to start a small family of our own, we were familiar with the difficulties of market gardening, as well as the satisfaction and promise it provided. What we were entirely unfamiliar with were children. What we’ve discovered since having one—and what has been both rewarding and unfathomably challenging—is that the hardest part of raising a healthy child while producing food is learning to manage relationships. Because, like good, honest food production, a child demands a full, healthy community in order to thrive and meet his or her full potential.

The highest hurdle for us with raising a child and farming is making time for everything that needs to be done day in-and-day-out. An off-farm source of income has always been the mainstay of our farming work, but this presents additional challenges. Read more

Launch your project with a Partners in Conservation grant!

Is your organization looking for funding for a conservation project? You can apply for a Partners in Conservation (PIC) grant!

What we fund:

Projects must address one or more of the following topics:

  • Habitat Restoration / Monitoring
  • Water Quality / Conservation
  • Sustainable Gardening / Agriculture
  • Naturescaping
  • Stormwater Management

There are two types of grants available:

  • PIC Grants: shorter term projects with a one year time frame, for a minimum grant award of $5,000 and a maximum of $60,000.
  • PIC Plus Grants: projects with a time frame of two to three years, between $5,000 and $100,000 per year.

Grant applications are due by December 15th this year; don’t delay! Application materials are now available. If you have questions about applying for a grant, please contact Suzanne Easton, EMSWCD Grants Manager, at suzanne@emswcd.org.

Learn more about PIC Grants!  See some past grant Project Highlights

You can also learn about our 2015 PIC grants awarded here.

From our farmers: Finding community at Headwaters

Emily Cooper of Full Cellar Farm

This is the fourth in our “From our farmers” series, and was contributed by Emily Cooper of Full Cellar Farm, one of the farmers enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program.

There’s a buzz around Headwaters Farm this year, and it isn’t just the bees. With 13 farms leasing land at the incubator (up from 8 last year), the activity here is more evident than ever before. And along with the sounds of the rototillers, irrigation headers, and tractors, there’s another sound that’s harder to hear, but more persistent than any other. It’s the sound of community, and it starts with “Good morning!”

I love farming at Headwaters, and the biggest reason is the community. With so many people here, it’s guaranteed you’re going to bump into someone as you go about your work. Maybe you share the wash station and get to see what variety of radish someone else is growing – or what pests are eating their carrots. Maybe you see a new tool someone is using, and stop to ask how they like it. Maybe you pause in the barn to bemoan your overabundance of tomatillos, and someone else magically has a customer who wants them. Or maybe you just say hi as you pass at the port-a-potty. (I’m lucky enough to host this hub of activity next to my field.) Read more

Bringing Beneficial Insects to the Farm

Pollinator strip at Headwaters Farm, Mt Hood in the background

Healthy farmland is a microcosm of a heathy ecosystem; an abundance and diversity of life above and below the soil helping to make nutrients available to plants, ward off pests, pollinate crops, and contribute to the local food web. As the average farm size has grown, there has been a decline in both the quality and quantity of habitats that host farm ecosystems. Other farm practices like broad herbicide application and the reduction of flowering plants have also had negative impacts on beneficial native insects and honey bees.

Headwaters Farm serves as a demonstration site for several approaches to restoring on-farm habitat. The most prominent of these is the restoration work being done in the Dianna Pope Natural Area. This undisturbed area has great habitat and forage value to beneficial insects and is relatively close to the farmland. However, other habitat work is being done within and directly adjacent to fields actively in production. In partnership with the Xerces Society, EMSWCD is developing three defining habitat features: pollinator meadows, hedgerows, and beetle banks. Read more

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