CONNECT 2014


The Resort at the Mountain
Welches, Oregon
April 30th - May 2nd, 2014


By all accounts, CONNECT 2014 was our best event yet. Having Watershed Councils attending added value to the event and made the conversations and content more dynamic. The venue and weather were fantastic, and the camaraderie between Districts, Councils, Presenters, and Sponsors was incredible.

OCEAN thanks all of the districts, councils, and partners that pitched in to help deliver this year's program. We also thank our sponsors (listed below) for their support. Without them, CONNECT simply wouldn't be possible. Please show them your appreciation and let them know that their sponsorship makes a difference. As always, OCEAN thanks the CONNECT 2014 presenters for delivering the relevant, high quality information that has become a hallmark of the CONNECT sessions.

CONNECT 2014 Schedule - Download PDF (0.1 MB)



Sponsors

OCEAN greatly appreciates the support of its sponsors, who help make CONNECT the most comprehensive and strongly attended technical training for Oregon's conservation districts. Sponsorship enables natural resource vendors and agencies to showcase their goods and services to conservation district and watershed council employees throughout the state. Go to our CONNECT 2014 Sponsors page to find out more about this year's fantastic sponsors.


CONNECT 2014 Sessions

Below are postings of CONNECT 2014 Sessions separated into half days. Descriptions are provided and links to materials are posted where available.

Wednesday PM | Thursday AM | Thursday PM | Friday AM


Wednesday PM


PUBLIC CONTRACTING LAWS
Eileen Eakins, Eileen Eakins Law Offices

Review of public contracting laws: Applicable laws, competitive bidding, contract awards, prevailing wage projects.

COMMON PUBLIC CONTRACTING PITFALLS
Eileen Eakins, Eileen Eakins Law Offices

This session will discuss common pitfalls in public contracting.

WATERSHED ASSESSMENT AND BASIN PLANS
Doug Drake, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
PDF (2.4 MB)

Share DEQ’s Watershed Approach/Basin Planning program and water quality information contained in WA/BPs that could be used by SWCDs. Discuss how best to engage SWCD staff during development of WA/BP.

SALMON ID
Todd Alsbury, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
PDF (1.5 MB)

Quick overview of sampling techniques and permits needed to essentially have fish in hand for identification in the first place. We could then get into specifics of identification and variations fish display in the field.

BASIC GIS WORKFLOWS FOR CONSERVATION
Herb Winters, Wheeler SWCD
Available on Prezi.com (Requires Free Account)

This session will cover basic GIS processes by working through a typical scenario involving a cooperator who is interested in conservation. A step by step scenario will be presented using ArcGIS to identify the property location, create a geospatial resource inventory, and identify resource concerns. Once the resource concerns have been identified ArcGIS will be used to help plan future conservation practices.

MORE THAN STONES & BONES: STATE PROTECTIONS FOR ARCHAEOLOGICAL & OTHER CULTURAL RESOURCES
Karen Quigley, Oregon Legislative Commission on Indian Services

A brief introduction to why and how Oregon tries to preserve certain irreplaceable cultural resources using state law and by building relationships with the nine federally recognized tribal governments in Oregon. The session will touch on some ways in which the work of watershed councils and soil & water conservation districts might interact with both the cultural resources protection laws and tribal governments. The session will include mention of protocols and resources available as well as include the showing of a brief video developed by the Medical Examiner’s Office, Clackamas county sheriff’s department and the state-tribal cultural resources cluster that is used by law enforcement to train on the appropriate handling of “inadvertent discovery of Native human remains.”

NEW EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION
Jeremy Baker, Clackamas County SWCD
Eric Nusbaum, Oregon Department of Agriculture

New employee orientation presentation reviewing Conservation District and NRCS background, ORS codes that grant SWCD authority to do conservation, outline traditional partners, and more.

WATER DIVERSION FISH SCREENING AND FISH PASSAGE REQUIREMENTS
Pete Baki & Ken Loffink, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
PDF 1 (11.7 MB)

PDF 2 (2.8 MB)
Join Pete Baki and Ken Loffink of ODFW to learn about water diversion fish screening and fish passage requirements in Oregon. This session has a broad range of applicability including irrigation upgrades, stream restoration, culvert replacement projects, and more.

PROBLEM SOLVING WITH DATABASES
Jason Faucera, Clackamas County SWCD
PDF (1.4 MB)

Some problems are just more complex than conventional tools can handle. Data tracking in spreadsheets and checklists is simpler to implement and easier for people to understand, but that same simplicity makes it difficult to describe most situations without a lot of manipulation by the user. It's even harder to get the data back out in a format that is meaningful, and the more the data is handled, the less reliable it becomes. Databases can solve these issues by providing solutions that are flexible, scalable, and customizable enough to make the complexity transparent to the end user. They come in all different sizes and flavors, but the basic function is the same throughout. The most important aspect of a database is end user understanding and perception of the interface. A bad user interface can ruin a great database structure. In this talk we will use Clackamas County SWCD's Conservation Activity Tracking System (CATS) to illustrate the use of a database to manage customers, conservation plans, projects, and reporting. We will also see two other implementations of databases that illustrate different user interfaces and examples of how bad interfaces can cause problems with data.

FIELD SAFETY: A DISCUSSION OF KEY CONSIDERATIONS & TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES
Panel Discussion
PDF (1.3 MB)

Urban or rural, council and district staff often drive long distances to access field sites on, in, or near water where they face potentially hazardous environmental conditions. To ensure staff safety and meet liability requirements, councils and districts should consider appropriate field safety training for their staff and volunteers. This session will feature representatives from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as the Oregon Department of Forestry, who will discuss key tenets of field safety training programs. Discussion will highlight statewide programs that focus on boating safety and backcountry driving, among other topics. The speakers will discuss potential opportunities for council and district staff to participate in agency-sponsored field safety training courses. Come prepared to ask questions and engage in discussion about this important topic.


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Thursday AM


MOTIVATING SAFE BEHAVIOIRS
Greg Jackson, Special Districts Association of Oregon

How effective are your safety programs? Every District and safety officer will agree that they would like employees to be more engaged and motivated to make safe choices, practice safe behaviors on the job, and participate willingly in workplace health and safety activities. Unfortunately, many workplaces struggle to achieve this. Motivation can only come from within an individual, when they make a personal decision to commit to safety. This training will give you some safety theories and help you identify personal, team, organization and equipment risk factors. System interventions are a great way to understand and mitigate exposures.

NRCS PMC COVER CROP TRIAL
Anna Young-Matthews, Natural Resource Conservation Service
PDF (3.0 MB)

NRCS Corvallis Plant Materials Center Cover Crop Trial.

AQUATIC INVADERS IN WESTERN OREGON/LUDWIGIA IN THE WILLAMETTE RIVER
Holly Crosson & Crystal Durbecq, Benton SWCD
PDF 1 (3.8 MB)

PDF 2 (4.0 MB)
Aquatic plants in waterways provide essential ecosystem benefits including valuable habitat for fish and wildlife. Non-native invasive plants like water primrose (Ludwigia spp.), yellow floating heart (Nymphoides peltata) and Parrotfeather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) can degrade aquatic habitats in numerous ways. While it is not realistic to think that invasive plant problems can be addressed in all Oregon waterbodies, there are pro-active steps that natural resource managers and landowners can take to prevent the further spread of these invaders and protect high-quality habitat in priority areas. Invasive water primrose (Ludwigia spp.) is a prolific aquatic plant that is adapted to a wide range of habitats including rivers, wetlands, streams and lakes. It spreads quickly and outcompetes native plants and wildlife. Though many species of Ludwigia are invasive and fairly widespread, it has been successfully treated and even eradicated in some river systems. Invasive Ludwigia has been known in the Willamette River system for over 60 years, but it has become more extensive in recent years. By researching our options, consulting with experts and collaborating with various partners, we are working to increase awareness and stem the damage caused by this aquatic invader.

FIELD DATA COLLECTION USING MOBILE DEVICES
Jeff Lesh, Clackamas County SWCD

Natural resources management often requires extensive field data collection and data management including water quality data, site surveys, project monitoring data, invasive species data, native plant surveys, and more. This talk focuses on how we can make the process of collecting and managing this data more efficient by utilizing new technologies running on smartphones and tablets. Specifically, this session will explore 1) low-cost data collection options available on mobile devices, 2) use of extant GIS data in the field (replacing the reliance on paper field maps), and 3) strategies to efficiently integrate the collected field data back into internal datasets. This session will include demonstrations of several options available for both Android and iOS devices running in both online (will cellular coverage) and offline (no cellular coverage) situations with a focus on one solution currently in use for the last year by the speaker for an invasive plant management program.

RAPID RIPARIAN REVEGETATION STRATEGIES – SUCCESSES AND CHALLENGES
Kendra Smith, Bonneville Environmental Foundation
PDF (1.5 MB)

Join the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, and other revegetation practitioners as they share their experiences with adaptively managing riparian revegetation projects over the last decade. Learn what strategies have worked, and what hasn’t in the areas of site preparation, plant selection, stock type, planting methods, maintenance, herbivory control, irrigation, and cost cutting strategies. See how CREP was enhanced to generate even greater riparian outcomes over time. Come share your experiences as we all learn to do a more effective job with invasives control and revegetation practices throughout Oregon.

DEFENSIVE DRIVING
Greg Jackson, Special Districts Association of Oregon

Defensive Driving begins before you even enter the vehicle. Checking the condition of your vehicle, road and weather conditions, and your emotional and physical condition before entering are all important factors in driving safely and defensively. Learn how to identify these factors in our Defensive Driver Training.

METHODS FOR MEASURING SOIL MICROBIOLOGY
Megan McGinnis, Natural Resources Conservation Service

I will be discussing different tools for measuring key aspects of soil microbiology, as well as their various benefits, drawbacks, and accessibility.

STOCKWATER DESIGN AND OPTIONS
Kevin Shaw, Natural Resources Conservation Service
PDF 1 (6.1 MB)

PDF 2 (5.0 MB)
XLS 1 (0.1 MB)
XLS 2 (0.1 MB)
DOC (0.1 MB)
The session will cover basic stockwater design including spring development, alternative water source designs and practical application of the stockwater system design. We will look at gravity pressure systems, pumped systems, alternative power and solar system design. The course will also cover trough design, placement and piping for a wide range of sites and trough types.

WORKING WITH GEOGRAPHIC DATA IN CONSERVATION
Herb Winters, Wheeler SWCD

This session will cover different types of data used in conservation planning. It will focus on what data is available, how to obtain the data needed, and different strategies for managing geographic data.

CONSERVATION EASEMENT PROGRAMS: BEST PRACTICES TO ENSURE SUCCESS
Braad Paymar, Land Trust Alliance
Kelley Beamer, Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts

Conservation easements are cooperative agreements between private landowners and a conservation partner. Easements are tailored to protect the unique attributes of each property and may provide landowners with tax benefits. Conservation easements are perpetual and run with the land; their terms apply to all future landowners as the property changes hands over time. With an emphasis on Land Trust Standards and Practices, the ethical and technical guidelines for the responsible operation of a land trust, this session will focus on the basic elements of building an effective conservation easement program and ensuring conservation permanence. Brad Paymar, Northwest Conservation Manager at the Land Trust Alliance, will discuss the essentials that make for successful easement transactions, including careful project selection and design, how to ensure sound transactions and how best to manage long-term easement stewardship responsibilities. Kelley Beamer, Executive Director of the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts and representatives from Oregon's land trust community will share challenges and opportunities around holding, monitoring and enforcing easements.

OWEB NEW STREAMLINED BUDGET CATEGORIES
Cindy Silbernagel & Courtney Shaff, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board

With the passage of Constitutional Ballot Measure 76 in November 2010, certain grant costs are now eligible that were not allowed under the previous Measure 66. In addition, the Secretary of State Audits Division requested documentation to support fiscal administration costs in OWEB grants. These items, combined with the desire of grantees and OWEB for fewer budget categories, resulted in the streamlining of budget categories and changes to fiscal administration. OWEB worked with a stakeholder-based work group to develop these changes.

EMSWCD HEADWATERS INCUBATOR FARM
Rowan Steele, East Multnomah SWCD
PDF (6.6 MB)

This presentation will provide an overview of EMSWCD’s Headwaters Farm Incubator Program and explore conservation agriculture practices being used to protect and enhance natural resources at Headwater Farm.

DATA AND MAPS FOR COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION
Katie O’Connor, Conservation Biology Institute

Many projects—be they research or restoration—require the expertise and collaboration of multiple partners. The ability to share geospatial data, do custom analysis, and to make high-quality exportable maps to clearly communicate project purposes with various audiences can greatly contribute to the success of a project and to smoother team dynamics, but such tools are often either expensive or over-simplistic. Data Basin was created to meet this need. The core of Data Basin is free and provides mapping tools to create customizable maps, group workspaces for collaboration, access to thousands of biological, physical, and socio-economic geospatial datasets, and drawing, analysis, and commenting tools. This session will provide general information about using maps as a communications tool, and will also highlight the functionality of Data Basin as a specific tool to increase capacity of SWCDS and watershed councils to communicate using science-based maps.

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Thursday PM


DISASTER PLANNING
Bill Eller, Washington State Conservation Commission
PDF (1.7 MB)

Conservation district staff and supervisors will learn about disaster planning for conservation districts. We will discuss disasters in general, what they are, why preparing for them is important, the role that conservation districts can play in disaster preparation, response and recovery efforts and why conservation districts are uniquely suited to fulfill this role.

NRCS SOIL HEALTH
Cory Owens, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Unlock the secrets in the soil with this introduction to the science of soil health and the NRCS’s four soil health principles.

LIVESTOCK BEHAVIOR & FORAGE SUITABILITY
Sandy Wyman, Bureau of Land Management
PDF (10.5 MB)

Management tools and techniques used to alter livestock grazing patterns with an overview of riparian areas.

iMapInvasives-COLLECTING AND SHARIING INVASIVE SPECIES DATA
Linsey Wise, Portland State University

iMapInvasives is an online, open-source platform for collecting and sharing invasive species observation and management data with citizens, scientists, and managers alike. This talk will introduce the platform and delve into data collection tools available or in development for smart phones and tablets, including offline data collection in the field, and provide tips for submitting your existing datasets for bulk upload to the site.

GETTING THE BOARD YOU NEED – TIPS ON IMPROVING BOARD ENGAGEMENT
Allison Handler, Solid Ground Consulting
Ed Clark, The Nature Conservancy
PDF (1.2 MB)

People join boards for lots of great reasons: they have passion for your mission, a desire to serve, time and talent to give. But sometimes, even board members with great skills to offer don’t clearly understand their role or aren’t prepared to fully step into their board responsibilities. It can be challenging to get board members to engage. As a staff leader, how can you help your board members better engage with the organization they’ve volunteered to help direct, and bring the best of what they have to offer in service of your organization? Once you’ve got a good board member, what’s the trick to keeping her – not just on your board but involved in other ways once she cycles off? This interactive one-hour workshop will give you strategies and tools for board development and board engagement, including recruiting good board leaders, getting them up to speed on your group and their role, and keeping them actively tuned in. Come for the tips, stay for the fun.

PROCUREMENT AND ORPIN
Kelly Stevens-Malnar, Oregon Department of Administrative Services

Oregon Procurement Law Overview: The Who, What, and How Oregon Public Agencies Procure Session Description: Most Oregon Public Agencies and Special Districts are subject to the Public Procurement Code. Understanding and applying the Public Procurement Code and Oregon Administrative Rule in our everyday purchases can be confusing. In this session, participants will gain a clearer picture on the “Who” has the authority to do “What”, and the “How” to do it. We will also introduce you to the ORPIN system, Oregon's #1 resource for viewing and retrieving Public Agency Contracting Opportunities. Most state agencies and many local governments use ORPIN as research tool and to reach suppliers to procure goods and services. Nearly 10,000 public contracting opportunities are posted annually that can be accessed with your specific search criteria. You don’t have to start from scratch! Come learn how to search and download similar solicitation documents that get you soliciting and awarding your contracts with less development time!

SOIL HEALTH EDUCATION FOR FARMERS: WHAT IS YOUR LEGACY?
Tom Demainew, Umatilla County SWCD
Lacey Townsend, Tualatin SWCD
Teresa Matteson, Benton SWCD

What is your soil and water legacy? What actions will protect agricultural land from threats of urban sprawl and generation turnover? Discover how six Oregon SWCDs provide soil health education to help farmers reduce agriculture’s impact on soil health and water quality.

ADVANCED GIS WORKFLOWS FOR CONSERVATION
Herb Winters, Wheeler SWCD
Available on Prezi.com (Requires Free Account)

This session will cover more advanced geoproccessing tools used for analysis in large scale conservation planning scenarios. Multiple step by step scenarios will be presented to illustrate how ArcGIS tools can be used to prioritize and plan conservation practices on a watershed or sub-watershed scale.

ADVOCATING FOR SUCCESS: EFFECTIVE LEGISLATIVE OUTREACH FOR COUCILS & DISTRICTS
Kelley Beamer, Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts
Brad Paymar, Land Trust Alliance

Councils, districts, and other conservation organizations often have anxiety about advocacy and legislative engagement, yet telling your story and conveying the importance of the work we collectively do is vital to the success of conservation statewide. Join this one-hour session for an overview of Oregon lobby law, as well as discussion of tools and strategies for effective legislative outreach at the local, state, and national levels.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR MULTI-AGENCY COLLABORATIONS WITH THE OREGON EXPLORER AND THE INSTITUTE FOR NATURAL RESOURCES
Janine Salwasser, Oregon Explorer
Lisa Gaines, The Institute for Natural Resources

Since it was launched in 2007, the Oregon Explorer natural resources digital library (www.oregonexplorer.info) has been providing access to data, mapping and reporting tools, and other archived information to help local citizens, planners and policymakers make more informed decisions about Oregon’s natural resources and communities. The Oregon Explorer program is a collaboration between the Institute for Natural Resources and the Oregon State University Libraries and Press. Oregon Explorer information, tools and data have been developed with a variety of public and private partners at local, state, and regional levels. This presentation will provide an overview of the Institute for Natural Resources, the Oregon Explorer, and opportunities for multi-agency collaborations as we re-design this site to make it more useful and used.

SPRAGUE RIVER SOIL QUALITY PILOT PROJECT
Brian Quick, Klamath SWCD
PDF (1.7 MB)

Practical soil quality at the ground level. This presentation will showcase the inside story on Klamath SWCD's Sprague River Soil Quality Pilot Project. Brian Quick will share the inspiration for and funding sources used, along with project location, sample methods and test results. Learn the cultural practices KSWCD recommends to help ranchers improve soil health and maintain productivity on their lands.

MAKING IRRIGATION DIVERSIONS FISH FRIENDLY-WHAT TO CONSIDER
John Stephenson, US Fish and Wildlife Service
PDF (9.5 MB)

This talk will focus on ways to improve fish passage conditions at sites where in-channel structures are needed to divert appropriated water into irrigation ditches. A variety of different techniques will be described, including fishways, stanchion dams, rock weirs, roughened riffles, and of course the old gravel push-up dams that we are trying to phase out. The pros and cons of each approach will be considered, particularly as they relate to different site conditions, water demands, and area accessibility. I will emphasize a variety of site factors to consider before selecting a specific approach to use. Funding sources and permitting issues will be discussed, as will the importance of close coordination with stakeholders, irrigators, and affected landowners. I also recommend looking for opportunities to consider ditch consolidations and pipelines to both improve the efficiency of irrigation water delivery and reduce the number of in-stream diversions. Associated with this, I will touch upon the legal ramifications and procedures for moving a point of diversion.

GIS ANALYSIS & DATA MANAGEMENT LIGHTNING SESSION
Kammy Kern-Korot, West Multnomah SWCD
Jenny Deszo, Clackamas River Basin Council

The lightning session includes four shorter talks allowing for many diverse topics to be discussed. Talk 1: Speaker: Kammy Kern-Korot Title: Identifying Habitat Conservation & Restoration Priorities on Sauvie Island with the use of Remote Sensing. Talk 2: Speaker: Jenny Dezso Title: 'Shade Our Streams' Program Data Management: incorporating spatial and tabular data using MS Access and ArcGIS. Two additional talks are still TBD.

CONFLUENCE - A RESTORATION PROGRAM MANAGEMENT DATABASE SYSTEM
Lance Wyss, Calapooia Watershed Council
Kendra Smith, Bonneville Environmental Foundation

Join the Calapooia Watershed Council and Bonneville Environmental Foundation as they demonstrate the features and value of Confluence, a custom web-based organizational database with GIS mapping integration, designed specifically for and by restoration and land management professionals. The software helps practitioners keep better track of their landowner contacts, projects, project activities, monitoring, fundraising, and planning activities. And it makes it easier to deliver progress and grant reports. Come learn what it might be able to do for your organization.

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Friday AM


SUCCESSFUL OUTREACH ESSENTIALS
Heath Keirstead, Benton SWCD

Looking for fresh new ways to engage your community in the conservation conversation? Ready to try innovative tactics to encourage your audience to take action? From blogs to neighborhood meetings, we'll cover the outreach strategies employed by staff at Benton SWCD and solicit ideas from the audience.

LAND STEWARD PROGRAM
Rhianna Simes, OSU Extension

For the last 5 years, the Land Steward program in Southern Oregon has been a model for combining in-the-field education, with technical assistance to assist private landowners in implementing conservation projects on their land. The Land Steward program utilizes the OSU Extension Service to deliver research-based curriculum, private landowners to serve as hosts for the site visits, natural resource professionals to offer resources and information, and the Soil and Water Conservation District to provide technical assistance. Unlike other landowner education programs, the Land Steward program gives participants the information they need to be successful, and the technical assistance to insure that projects are completed correctly, to code, and will benefit the local environment. This model could help your District to collaborate with local partners, increase the number of landowners seeking assistance, and improve the rate of implementation of projects.

EFFECTIVENESS MONITORING FOR WATER QUALITY CHANGES
Steve Hanson, Department of Environmental Quality
PDF (2.5 MB)

The session will cover monitoring designs and methods you can use to measure the effectiveness of your programs. The process starts with identifying the stressors in your watershed, what programs are being implemented to reduce the stressors, and selecting good indicators to measure. These components help define the monitoring question. The foundation of a successful monitoring project is a good monitoring question and realistic sampling design. The right sampling design depends on the question and is controlled by your resources. The session will cover methods for measuring common indicators and resources that are available to you to help make monitoring happen.

COUNCIL-DISTRICT PARTNERSHIPS: WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
Ryan Gordon, Network of Oregon Watershed Councils
Jerry Nicolescu, Oregon Association of Conservation Districts

How do councils and districts work together to share resources and expertise? Is there a one-size-fits-all formula? What are the benefits of council-district partnerships? Partnerships have evolved very differently around the state, depending on local needs and other factors. Join this panel discussion for a staff perspective on these and other questions. The panel will feature staff from different regions who will share perspectives on what makes it work, as well as lessons learned along the way. Come prepared to ask questions and engage in discussion.

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