Category Archives: News

From our farmers: Making the jump

Amica Farm - rolling up tarp

This is a farmer-contributed post in our “From our farmers” series, written by Nicki Passarella and Irina Schabram of Amica Farm, both enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program.

Amica Farm is the product of two female friends who forged a bond through hard work, sweat equity and a deep love of agriculture and community. We work with one-half acre of land, growing an extensive array of annual vegetables, herbs and strawberries to sell directly to our community at two weekly farmers markets.

As first year farm business owners, having the opportunity to utilize the Headwaters Farm Incubator Program (HIP) has already proven invaluable in our first months of participation. The obvious places of gratitude to start with include land, water, propagation space, and the ability to share orders to get bulk pricing and keep shipping low. There are also scheduled learning sessions with industry professionals about farm financials, record keeping and more. A less tangible benefit is the community with other farmers at Headwaters and the direct support from EMSWCD staff we are experiencing. Read more

Nature Notes 3: May is Native Plant Month!

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

May 7th, 2018

May is Native Plant Month!

This month in celebration of Native Plant Month, we’ll be highlighting a variety of native plants, all of which you can come see any time at our Conservation Corner!

This week we’re seeing purple everywhere with common camas, Henderson’s shooting star, Menzie’s larkspur, and Oregon Iris in full bloom. Read more

Working Farmland Protection Program Makes Strides

We are pleased to announce that our Working Farmland Protection Program has closed on an important farmland transaction! This February, EMSWCD acquired a 14-acre farm property directly adjoining its Headwaters Incubator Farm property on the outskirts of Gresham.

Acquisition helps ensure a future for agriculture on the property. With its proximity to EMSWCD’s Headwaters Farm Incubator Program (a launching pad for aspiring farmers), there are exciting opportunities to extend programming for current and graduating participants of the Incubator Program onto this property. The property also enjoys nearly 400 feet of frontage along Johnson Creek, a stream which EMSWCD has long worked to improve through its StreamCare program (a voluntary program with private landowners that restores native vegetation along important waterways).
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Nature Notes – March 27th, 2018

Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series! Nature Notes shares small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis.

March 27th, 2018

Early spring bloomers!

Right now the non-native cherry trees, forsythia, and daffodils are dazzling us with their showy displays, but many other native species are blooming as well, such as kinnickinnick, trilliums, and bleeding heart.

Kinnickinnick is an evergreen, drought-tolerant, low-growing native shrub that is an excellent groundcover for tough spots such as parking strips. Its small pink flowers are not showy, but are important sources of food in early spring for pollinators like bumblebees, syrphid flies, and mason bees. White trilliums are long-lived herbaceous perennials of the forest floor; many do not bloom until they are seven years old! They are mostly pollinated by moths, beetles, and bumblebees. Dicentra, or bleeding-heart, is another long-lived understory perennial. Its delicate pink flower is an important spring necter source for hummingbirds.

Flowers that bloom early in the spring and late in the fall are very important to wildlife, so the longer you have flowers blooming, the prettier your yard will be for wildlife as well as for humans!

Learn About Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek - The Watershed Beneath Our Feet

Beaver Creek starts as a spring near Dodge Park Blvd, and flows through farms and nurseries. It passes by houses in Gresham and Troutdale where smaller creeks like Kelly Creek flow into it. The creek then empties into the Sandy River near Glenn Otto Park.

View a map of the Beaver Creek Watershed here!

The Beaver Creek watershed is the area of land where rain water flows towards the creek. It is home to salmon, salamanders, herons, eagles, otters, lamprey, people, and much more.

Read more about the watershed in the links below. Explore who lives there, the challenges the watershed faces, and what you can do to keep it healthy. Available in English, Spanish and Russian!


Created in partnership with the City of Gresham, Sandy River Watershed Council, Multnomah County, and the City of Troutdale.

Nature Notes – March 1st, 2018

Welcome to EMSWCD’s Nature Notes series!

When EMSWCD purchased this property for our office, the yard consisted of a weed-filled lawn with a few trees. Our staff kept the trees, removed all the grass, and began landscaping and installing hundreds of native plants. Every year since then we’ve continued to add plants and make adjustments as needed, and the landscape is now totally transformed!

In our new Nature Notes series, we’ll share small moments and interesting observations from our property, as well as related natural history tidbits, on a weekly to monthly basis. It’s important to us to be present on the landscape, to really see the world we move through every day—both its changes and its consistency. The more aware we become of the natural world around us, and of how plants and animals interact, the better we can help people care for land and water. Read more

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