Columbia and Benton Soil and Water Conservation Districts earn statewide recognition for outstanding customer service
News Release #: 2017-04-028
Contact: Tracy Robillard, Public Affairs Officer, NRCS
Phone: 503-414-3220. Email: Tracy.Robillard@or.usda.gov
PENDLETON, Ore. – When it comes to helping people help the land, employees with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) are instrumental in engaging Oregon’s urban and rural communities in voluntary conservation.
This year, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recognized two Oregon SWCDs who have done exceptional work throughout 2016 to help NRCS implement Farm Bill financial assistance programs across the state and perform conservation education and outreach.
The Columbia SWCD received the District Partnership Award, and Teresa Matteson from the Benton SWCD received the District Employee Partnership Award. The awards were presented at the 2017 CONNECT conference in Pendleton on May 2.
The annual NRCS Partnership Awards honor a conservation district and a conservation district employee who has provided exemplary assistance to implement conservation programs on Oregon’s private working agricultural lands and forestlands.
The Columbia SWCD was recognized for providing outstanding assistance to private landowners and local municipalities in response to record-setting rain and flooding in December 2015 in Columbia County. During and after the storms, Columbia SWCD employees engaged with local residents, business owners, cities, and the county to assess and inventory damage, and develop repair solutions. The SWCD partnered with NRCS to sponsor more than $2 million in Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) funding to implement construction repairs for 12 projects to protect infrastructure, private property, and fish and wildlife habitat from further damage. The Columbia SWCD provided top-notch customer service and technical expertise to successfully implement this EWP program, which was the first EWP in Oregon since 2010. As a result of the Columbia SWCD’s partnership with NRCS to implement the EWP Program, we have protected more than $3 million of private and public infrastructure in Columbia County.
Teresa Matteson was recognized for her outstanding support to the Corvallis Plant Materials Center (PMC) in providing technical assistance on plant materials and technology to address natural resource concerns. Teresa was instrumental in helping to plan and facilitate key events at the PMC, including field days and workshops focused on cover crops, pollinators, integrated biological pest management, and nutrient management. Teresa continues to engage multiple partners including the Oregon Department of Agriculture, OSU Extension, Oregon Recreation and Park Association, and producers to increase education and outreach to targeted groups in Oregon’s agricultural community.
With a field office in nearly every Oregon county, NRCS works closely with local SWCDs to deliver technical and financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and non-industrial private woodland owners to conserve vital natural resources on private lands while support local urban and rural economies. For more information about NRCS Oregon and conservation opportunities in the state, visit www.or.nrcs.usda.gov.
Pictured: Leo Preston (left), NRCS basin team leader for the Lower Willamette and North Coast Basins, and Don Mehlhoff (far right), NRCS District Conservationist in Columbia County, present members of the Columbia SWCD with the 2016 District Partnership Award at the CONNECT conference in Pendleton, Oregon, May 2, 2017. Pictured center, from left to right: Kari Olsen-Hollander, district manager with the Columbia SWCD; Selene Keeney, coordinator with the Lower Columbia River Watershed Council; and Kay C. VanNatta, Zone 4 treasurer on the Columbia SWCD Board of Directors.
Pictured: Heather Medina Sauceda, NRCS basin team leader for the Central Coast Upper Willamette and Southwest Basins, presents Teresa Matteson, soil health coordinator with the Benton SWCD, with the 2016 District Employee Partnership Award at the CONNECT conference in Pendleton, Oregon, May 2, 2017.
Salem – The State Land Board at their April 12 meeting presented two 2015 Wetland Project Awards for projects in Columbia County: the Batwater Station Floodplain Restoration in Clatskanie, and the Sauvie Island – North Unit Restoration in the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area.
Department of State Lands Director Jim Paul thanked the project partners for “promoting responsible, sustainable stewardship of state natural resources. It’s encouraging to know about and honor outstanding projects taking place throughout Oregon.”
This is the 12th year of presenting Land Board Awards.
Batwater Station Floodplain Restoration Project
Located on property owned by Karin Hunt, the project involved restoring wetlands on a 26-acre section of the property and reconnecting it to the Columbia River.
Governor Kate Brown, chair of the Land Board, presented the award and praised the collaborative effort as a “wonderful example of how non-profit organizations worked with a private landowner to voluntarily preserve wetlands” for fish and wildlife habitat. She also commended the property owner for including people in the equation: Hunt allows camping on the property, which has 14 tent sites and kayaks available for campers.
“We have such strong partnerships in our area, and we are all so pleased that the Batwater Station project was honored by the State Land Board,” said Kari Olsen-Hollander, manager of the Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District, who nominated the project for an award.
The Land Board recognized the following partner agencies in the project: Columbia Soil and Water Conservation District, Lower Columbia River Watershed Council, Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership and Bonneville Power (funder), and landowner Karin Hunt.
The project involved constructing tidal channels, installing large woody debris, altering the topography, and planting native shrubs and trees to replace invasive reed canary grass.
Olsen-Hollander said the project planners used innovative restoration strategies from “The Beaver Restoration Guide Book” which touts modeling beaver behavior for restoring habitat for fish, waterfowl, amphibians and reptiles. Olsen-Hollander said that if the techniques prove to be successful over time, there could be significant cost savings in using them in designing future conservation projects.
Last Friday the announcement was made by NRCS that the Lower Columbia
Watershed Partnership RCPP proposal was approved. This project over the next 5 years will put 8.8 million dollars in restoration
on the ground in the Lower Columbia Region of Columbia County Which includes the Clatskanie River watershed and the
neighboring systems just east of the City of Rainier along Hwy 30 to West of the City of Clatskanie. I want to thank each of you
for your commitment to this effort. The partners have together committed 5.8 million dollars to match the 3 million dollars
approved through the NRCS RCPP program. Through use of the Watershed Authority PL-566 and locally led contracting, this
partnership will be able to involve more landowner participants and make measurable improvements to the health and viability
of the Lower Columbia River Watershed. The project will focus on water quality degradation, with an emphasis on improving
excessive sediment in surface waters by designing and implementing several stream bank protection projects, floodplain
improvements, while also increasing vegetation to minimize excess nutrients and pesticides from getting into the stream
systems. These actions will also assist in improving inadequate habitat for fish and wildlife by addressing fish passage and large
woody debris. By bringing the expertise together from all of our partners we can make significant strides toward improving the
habitat and water quality in the Lower Columbia River Watershed.
Partners that have committed to assist with this project:
Lower Columbia River Watershed Council
Columbia County Road Department
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership
Clatskanie Middle/High School
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
Department of Environmental Quality
Columbia River Youth Corp
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service(NRCS) recently announced the release of a publication called the Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest.
Here’s an excerpt of the full release:
“The Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest contains detailed, species-specific information for 17 grasses, 60 forbs, and 7 sedges and rushes found throughout the Western regions of Oregon and Washington. It also contains information on all aspects of seed production, from establishment and weed control to harvesting and seed processing. The back section features an equipment overview, which explains the various types of equipment used at the PMC.
The manual, along with many other plant-related publications, is available on the Corvallis PMC publications webpage at: http://bit.ly/PMCPubs (Look under the “Major Publications” category on the list of publication types). To access the manual directly, visit this shortlink: http://bit.ly/SeedGuide“
SUBJECT: NW-1 to raise to IFPL 2
NW-2 & NW-3 to raise to IFPL 3
TO: Media, Cooperators and Industry
FROM: Oregon Department of Forestry
DATE: July 28, 2015
Effective: 1:00 a.m., PDT, July 30, 2015
Industrial Fire Precaution Level Zone NW-1 will go to Level 2 and Zone NW-2 & NW-3 will go to Level 3 effective 01:00 am on Thursday, July 30, 2015. This includes all lands protected by the Northwest Oregon Forest Protection District (Astoria District, Forest Grove District and Tillamook District) and all forestland within one-eighth mile thereof.
Level II: Partial Hootowl
The following may operate only between the hours of 8:00 pm and 1:00 pm
- power saws except at loading sites;
- cable yarding
- welding or cutting of metal
Level III: Partial Shutdown
The following are prohibited except as indicated:
- cable yarding – except that gravity operated logging systems employing non-motorized carriages may operate between 8 P.M. and 1 P.M. when all blocks and moving lines are suspended 10 feet above the ground except the line between the carriage and the chokers.
- power saws – except power saws may be used at loading sites and on tractor/skidder operations between the hours of 8 P.M. and 1 P.M.
In addition, the following are permitted to operate between the hours of 8 P.M. and 1 P.M.:
- tractor/skidder, feller-buncher, forwarder, or shovel logging operations where tractors, skidders or other equipment with a blade capable of constructing fireline are immediately available to quickly reach and effectively attack a fire start;
- mechanized loading or hauling of any product or material;
- welding or cutting of metal;
- any other spark emitting operation not specifically mentioned.
Fire watch waiver is still in effect:
IFPL 1 = 1 hour
IFPL 2 = 2 hours
IFPL 3 = 3 hours
IFPL 4 = Shutdown
With NW-2 & NW-3 at IFPL 3, the Non-Industrial Chainsaw waiver and the OHV waiver are not applicable. The OHV trails in the Browns Camp, Jordan Creek, Diamond Mill, and Trask and the trails in the BLM Nestucca Riding Area are CLOSED and will remain closed until further notice. Only the improved, maintained gravel roads in the Browns Camp, Jordan Creek, Diamond Mill, Trask and all other areas of the forest remain open for OHV use.
More information can be found at:
Governor Kate Brown has declared drought in 23 of Oregon’s 36 counties. This widespread water shortage is due to record-breaking low snowpack levels, high temperatures, and significantly low stream flows in many parts of the state.
This winter, Oregon’s snowpack peaked at the lowest levels measured in the last 35 years. According to the Water Resources Department, stream flow is expected to be well below normal through the end of summer despite the current statewide average precipitation being 87%.
On July 28th, Governor Brown issued an executive order directing state agencies to plan for resiliency to drought. She directed state agencies that own or manage land or facilities to immediately curtail or end the non-essential use of water for landscaping, enact a moratorium on the installation of new non-essential landscaping projects that require irrigation at state-owned buildings, develop signs and other messaging to encourage state employees to reduce non-essential uses of water, and assure that state-owned buildings and facilities have current leak detection systems and procedures that are being carried out on a timely basis. The goal of this executive order is to reduce non-essential water consumption by 15 percent or more on average across all state-owned facilities on or before December 31, 2020.
SDAO understands that certain district members are directly affected by these drought conditions more so than others. We have been participating on the Governor’s drought advisory committee and communications team to better understand how state and local agencies are affected by these conditions. While not all parts of the state are equally impacted, all areas can do their part to conserve and wisely use this precious resource. Oregon’s drought website, drought.oregon.gov, was developed to help Oregonians learn more about drought assistance programs, drought status updates, conservation methods, and recreation information. We encourage you to utilize this informative website.
Thank you for your support as we grow and continue to help Columbia County. Our 2013 – 2014 Annual report has been released and here is a look at what’s inside:
WHO WE ARE, MISSION AND GOALS
LETTER FROM THE CHAIR
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
THE STAFF / NRCS PARTNERS
MEETING ROOM, VOLUNTEER
LOUISIANA SWAMP PROJECT
LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL
NATIONAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE
LIVING ON THE LAND: CHICKENS
GEO-CACHING: A HIGH-TECH SCAVENGER HUNT
LETTER FROM THE MANAGER
THANK YOU NOTES
Download the PDF here or for a hard copy, please contact the office.