New Working Farmland Protection Program Updates

We have brand new content in our Land Conservation section! See our Working Farmland Protection page to learn how we’re helping ensure farmland remains available for current and future generations of farmers. The section now includes information on landowner options, program participation benefits, information on working farmland easements and much more.

Announcing our 2019 Partners in Conservation grants!

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

The East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District announces its 2019 Partners in Conservation (PIC) grants totaling $622,362 awarded to 20 conservation and environmental education projects in the EMSWCD service area (all of Multnomah County east of the Willamette River). PIC funding for 2019 will also leverage more than $3 million in additional support through matching in-kind and cash contributions!

EMSWCD received 29 PIC applications this year, representing projects in each of its five primary grant program areas: restoration and monitoring, stormwater management and naturescaping, urban gardening and sustainable agriculture, environmental education, and equitable access to conservation benefits. To ensure a thorough and fair evaluation of the applications, the grant review committee included an EMSWCD Board Director and others from a diverse range of backgrounds and expertise, including members of the community and staff from non-profits and public agencies.

The EMSWCD Board of Directors awarded 20 grants, including support for three two-year projects. A wide variety of projects were funded this year, including a $50,000 two-year grant to Outgrowing Hunger, an organization focused on nurturing connection to nature, food and community among immigrant and refugee populations. Outgrowing Hunger currently operates 12 community garden sites in East Multnomah County, provides supplies and tools, and offers culturally relevant and language specific garden workshops and education to its gardeners. Funding will provide access to sustainable, watershed-friendly urban agriculture and gardening, provide education and technical support, and build a new community garden. Read more

Nature Notes 9: Helping protect the environment one choice at a time

A pollen-covered bumble bee visits a native Tiger lily flower

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.

July 1stth, 2019

Helping protect the environment one choice at a time

Summer and vacation season are in full swing! As we head to the beach though, we are also hearing story after story of an environment in trouble. The good news is that there is a lot we can do. From the plants in our yard to the type of sunscreen we wear, our daily choices really do matter.

Planting with native plants has a cascading effect that makes the urban environment healthier for wildlife. Non-native and invasive species mean less food for insects, which in turn means less food for birds and fish. Invasive species are everywhere, even on EMSWCD grounds. Last summer we fought a large tree of heaven infestation; this summer we have manually removed English ivy, nutsedge, mullein, white sweetclover, yellow oxalis and several other invasive plants. Removing weeds by hand whenever possible is both good exercise and far better for the environment than using chemicals.
Read more

A Time of Transition

After five years of service, our Executive Director Jay Udelhoven is leaving. We appreciate his significant contributions to the District and its residents, and wish him well. During his time with EMSWCD, Jay led the organization to be more strategic, productive, effective and accountable. Under his tenure, the District’s Land Legacy program grew into maturity, protecting valuable farmland, parks and natural areas in perpetuity, and the Headwaters Farm Incubator successfully launched many new farm businesses. During this time, the District also partnered with residents to expand both urban and rural green spaces, cleaning our water, providing wildlife habitat, and protecting our soil.

We’re proud of these accomplishments, which are due to our incredible staff and partners. We are now poised to work more impactfully with our partners to protect our valuable land and water resources for the future. We hope you’ll join us.

Starting today, June 20th, our Conservation Program Supervisor, Andrew Brown, will serve as Acting Executive Director until we appoint an Interim Executive Director.


Allison Hensey
Chair, Board of Directors
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District

2017 Agricultural Census Demonstrates Need for EMSWCD’s Working Farmland Initiatives

rows of vegetables at Headwaters Farm, and a row of greenhouses in the background

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the final 2017 Census of Agriculture figures in mid-April; statistics for all of Multnomah County are available here. The census findings highlight the importance of EMSWCD’s working farmland protection efforts, as Multnomah County lost 15% of its farmland from 2012 to 2017 – or about 2.5 acres a day.

Farmers in Multnomah County are on average 2 years younger than their peers across Oregon and the US, which is reinforced by our Headwaters Incubator Program for new and beginning farmers. And with the average per-acre value of agricultural land and buildings increasing 75% in Multnomah County to the second highest of any county in Oregon, the importance of our work to improve access to affordable farmland is greater than ever.

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