Category Archives: News

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

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. Read more

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

EMSWCD Director Elections this November

Notice is hereby given that on November 3rd, an election will be held for the purpose of electing board directors to the following positions for the East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District:

  • Zone 1 – 4 year term
  • Zone 2 – 4 year term
  • At Large 1 – 4 year term
  • At Large 2 – 2 year term

Zone boundaries, eligibility requirements, and links to the required elections forms may be obtained by visiting our Board Eligibility and Elections page.

Election forms and information may be found on the ODA SWCD Elections page.

Each candidate must file a “Declaration of Candidacy” and a “Petition for Nomination Signature Sheet” with the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Division. The filing deadline is 5:00 p.m. on August 25th, 2020.

EMSWCD featured in COLT “State of the Lands” report

cover image for COLT 2020 report

EMSWCD’s Headwaters Farm and Mainstem Farm were both featured in the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts (COLT) “State of the Lands” 2020 report! The feature covers our Headwaters Incubator Program, which leases land and equipment to farmers launching their new farm businesses, and details how a graduate of the program is now farming on the adjacent Mainstem Farm, which was acquired by EMSWCD through its Working Farmland Protection Program.

There are also ten other features in the report detailing the work and successes of land trusts and other organizations working to protect vital natural lands in Oregon.

Read the COLT report here.

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