We invite you to read through our digital Zine, which will tell you a bit about who we are and what we do. We are proud of the diversity of work we do and the many kinds of constituents we serve. We also have a full 80+ page Annual Report if you really want to geek out, but we hope this Zine will help you walk away with a much greater appreciation for all we do at EMSWCD. Enjoy!
Thanks for joining us for a morning of fun and community building at the Mt. Hood Community College Volunteer Planting! On March 5th we planted a variety of 350 bare-root native trees and shrubs to help beautify the campus and improve habitat for students, visitors, and wildlife.
We had so much fun at our first in-person, all-outdoors masked event since COVID began. We were joined by group of about 20 people, including MHCC students, families, and folks from all over the area who were excited to plant hundreds of native plants. Check out their growth by visiting the Visual Arts buildings on Mount Hood Community College’s campus.
Thanks so much for helping us create a more sustainable and beautiful campus, and thanks to Mt. Hood Community College for partnering with us for this event!
EMSWCD was pleased to partner with the City of Gresham and Metro to acquire and preserve the former Shaull property in the Grant Butte area! This 8-acre property builds upon our previous investments in the surrounding area and further protects the water quality of the adjoining Fairview Creek headwaters and wetlands complex. It will also set the stage for improved access to the adjacent Southwest Community Park.
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
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
Access to farmland is a growing challenge for farmers! Learn why it is a problem, and what we are doing to address this need in the new Farm Access section on our website. The section also includes two examples of recent farm access projects and a variety of resources you may find useful.
On February 9th, EMSWCD planted its 500,000th native plant through its StreamCare program, marking twelve years of planting native trees and shrubs to improve stream health and help salmon throughout eastern Multnomah County!
StreamCare has been plugging away planting native trees and shrubs along streams in Gresham, Corbett and Troutdale since 2009, working together with more than 200 landowners that have voluntarily enrolled in the program. Our Executive Director Nancy Hamilton says of the program: “Our crews are able to transform stream fronts from blackberry brambles to thriving native forests that attract wildlife, protect water quality, and build more resilient communities.” Watch our brand new video below highlighting the milestone planting!
The main goal of StreamCare is creating shade. As the trees mature, they cast their shadows over the stream, lowering the temperature of the water. “It’s mostly to benefit salmon,” says Lucas Nipp, our StreamCare program manager. “Salmon need cool water. Most of the streams in our area are far too warm for healthy salmon.” Read more
The entire Board and staff at East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (EMSWCD) are thrilled to announce the selection of our new Executive Director, Nancy Hamilton!
Nancy Hamilton comes to EMSWCD from eight years managing a private consulting practice, and previously held leadership positions in the administrations of Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Portland Mayor Tom Potter. Nancy brings rich experience in the public and private sectors, the knowledge to champion expanding programs around climate change and equity, and the management and leadership experience to bring people together around our mission to help people care for land and water.
“I could not be more honored to work with the extraordinary team of professionals at the EMSWCD,” said Nancy Hamilton. “The organization is doing critical work across such a broad spectrum of priorities, and with a strong commitment to seeing how we can contribute to addressing the looming climate crisis, I’m looking forward to getting started.”
“The board has full confidence in Nancy’s ability to lead the organization.” said Board Chair Carrie Sanneman, “District staff have continuously shown their resilience, creativity, and compassion through the COVID pandemic. We know they will continue to thrive with an experienced and empathetic leader like Nancy.” Nancy will start work with EMSWCD on November 16th.
Please join us in welcoming Nancy to EMSWCD!