CONNECT 2015


The Resort at the Mountain
Welches, Oregon
April 22-24, 2015


CONNECT 2015 was fantastic. Districts and Watershed Councils turned out in record numbers to devour content from four tracks with close to 40 sessions. Many OCEAN partners and sponsors were present to show support and to provide training to attendees, and The Resort at Welches provided great service and accomodations. It was a great three days.

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 2015 presenters for delivering the relevant, high quality information that has become a hallmark of the CONNECT sessions.

CONNECT 2015 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 2015 Sponsors page to find out more about this year's fantastic sponsors.


CONNECT 2015 Sessions

Below are postings of CONNECT 2015 Sessions divided into tracks. Descriptions are provided and links to materials are posted where available.

Managers & Admin | Education & Outreach | Uplands | Riparian & Water Quality
Supplemental | Spotlight on RCPP

Managers and Admin


EQUAL OPPORTUNITY CONSERVATION: A DISCUSSION
Shilah Olson, Wasco County SWCD
Tom Salzer, Clackamas County SWCD

Shilah Olson and Tom Salzer will lead an interactive discussion about fair and equal treatment in our conservation delivery system. Does traditional cost-sharing result in less help for low-income landowners? Can new farmers access the same financial incentives available to an established farmer? What can be done to treat landowners fairly as we seek to conserve our precious natural resources? These items and more will be presented and discussed.

MEDIA/OUTREACH TRAINING AND PRACTICE
John Byers, Oregon Department of Agriculture

Working with media can be a daunting task if you're unprepared. This session will provide an overview of the pitfalls and opportunities of working with broadcast media. Simple tools will be provided to ensure that your experiences with the media will be positive and productive in getting your message across. We will also discuss other options for getting the word out and share experiences of successes and flops!

NATIVE PLANT SALES/NURSERIES ROUNDTABLE: LOGISTICS, SUCCESSES, MISSTEPS, AND LEADING CUSTOMERS TO BETTER PLANTING DECISIONS
Clay Wesson, Yamhill SWCD

There are numerous examples of plant sales or nurseries of different scale, complexity, and service to customers in the conservation community throughout Oregon. This session intends to bring those interested or vested in growing, selling, and advising customers on native plants to the table to exchange ideas and experiences.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE PROJECT SUCCESS? JUST REMEMBER THE 7 P’S
Erik Carr, East Multnomah SWCD

Project success begins with the 7 P’s: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance! Join us for a higher level conversation about the importance of project scope and time management, including the need to identify project requirements, set deadlines, and clarify stakeholder needs. Come prepared to share the planning strategies and tools that help you achieve project success! You’re guaranteed to leave this session with new ideas that will help improve your project performance.

EMPLOYEE SAFETY
Nick Vora, Natural Resources Conservation Service

This presentation will introduce and discuss a variety of occupational safety considerations for government employees working on private lands. Topics will include employee accountability (check-in and check-out policies), emergency communications, vehicle accidents, diffusing hostile situations, etc.

CONSERVATION EASEMENTS ON THE GROUND-HOW THEY WORK AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR LAND OWNERS, LAND TRUSTS, AND DISTRICTS
Kelley Beamer, Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts
Presentation - PDF (1.6 MB)
Conservation Easements 101 - PDF (0.3 MB)
Sample Easement - PDF (0.3 MB)

This session provides a deeper look at conservation easements, a voluntary legal agreement between a land owner and a trust or government agency that customizes the uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. The first part of the session will review the purpose and function of a conservation easement, walk through a model easement and discuss the Land Trust Alliance’s accreditation program. The second part of the session will be a facilitated conversation with land trust and SWCD staff about launching and running an easement program, coordinating services and an on-the-ground perspective on current challenges and opportunities in Oregon.

EMAIL SYSTEMS FOR DISTRICTS: WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND HOW TO GET STARTED
Jason Faucera, Clackamas County SWCD
Presentation - PDF (1.4 MB)

With so many options available to host your District’s email, choosing a system can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never gone through the process before. When you add the requirement for email to be made available during public records requests, understanding your choices becomes even more important. This session will discuss some of the options available, the details of how to get started, whether to do it yourself or get some help, and what the implications of those options will be for end users and for your District.

CONSERVATION ACTIVITY TRACKING SYSTEM: A CUSTOM APPLICATION FOR TRACKING AND PLANNING CONSERVATION
Jason Faucera, Clackamas County SWCD

Over the past two years, Clackamas County SWCD has been developing a custom application to track assistance to customers, create conservation plans, and outline projects. Some of the benefits of implementing this application have been increased consistency between staff, improved planning workflow, better reporting, and centralized document storage. In this session you will hear how and why the CATS system was created, and how it might form the basis of a tool you can use.

TOPICS IN EMPLOYMENT: EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE/DOCUMENTATION AND GENERATIONAL DIVERSITY
Spencer Rockwell, Special Districts Association of Oregon
Presentation - PDF (1.4 MB)

Get an update or refresher course in effectively documenting employee issues and concerns within your organization. In addition, join us for a discussion relating to handling challenges of having a multi-generational workforce.


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Education and Outreach


STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE WITH COPYRIGHTS AND RIGHTS TO PUBLICITY
Susan Felstiner & Dan Housely, Lewis & Clark Law School’s Small Business Legal Clinic
Presentation - PDF (0.7 MB)

What happens, legally, when you take a photograph? What is a copyright? What is a "right to publicity?" Come find the answers to these questions and more at this presentation.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND DATA ANALYTICS AS AN AWARENESS TOOL
Jon Rahl, City of Seaside Visitors Bureau
Presentation - PDF (3.6 MB)

Are you using social media but feel like your message isn’t being heard, or seen? Explore social media best practices and discover ways to increase engagement and awareness for your organization. A brief overview of Google Analytics will also be included in this session.

MORE THAN JUST A WEBSITE: RETHINKING HOW WE PRESENT INFORMATION ONLINE
Kalin Schmoldt, JLA Public Involvement
Link to online presentation

Traditional websites have long overwhelmed the public with their pages of text, massive PDFs, complicated technical drawings, and comment forms that seem to go off into nowhere. Fortunately, new web-based tools are increasingly available that can help project teams to present material and collect feedback in dynamic ways that appeal to the public's shorter attention span and thirst for visual information. This session will explore some of these creative alternatives for presenting information on your project website.

WORKING WITH THE MEDIA
Dylan Rivera, City of Portland Transportation Department
Presentation - PDF (2.2 MB)

These days, who is “the media” and how can public agencies use it to reach their audiences in this quickly changing world of shrinking newsrooms and fragmented media? Hear from a veteran newspaper reporter and current public information officer how to navigate the sometimes intimidating world of media relations and how to work with the media effectively in the public sector.

THE ART OF EFFECTIVE NETWORKING
Julie Ames & Deanna Palm, Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce
Presentation - PDF (0.5 MB)

During the Art of Effective Networking you will learn how to get the most benefit out of your networking time investment, how to present yourself to your best advantage and how to represent your company at events and tradeshows. Not everyone is a born networker, but it is a skill that can be learned. With a few tips and suggestions, you can gain confidence in awkward situations, learn how to make a lasting impression on the people you meet and become more proficient at representing your company when it really counts.

FOLLOW THE IMAGE, TELL THE STORY
Randy Henry, Oregon State Marine Board

Telling a story with pictures has always been a key interest for Randy. His photo essays were a staple of the Stayton Mail and Silverton Appeal newspapers, and Oregon Wildlife Magazine. He produced numerous slide shows, informational flyers, brochures and rack cards that were essentially an extension of the photo essays from the early days. When Powerpoint came along – followed shortly by the term “Death by Powerpoint”, he applied his photographic background to the medium trying to make it more interesting by presenting strong images relevant to the discussion. The technology continues to change – he hasn’t touched a tray of stop-bath in 20 years, and even Photoshop now feels antiquated – but the need for quality images and people who can use them to tell a story continues. The need for a strong image will not go away, but the delivery method will constantly change. In this session we will discuss the art of telling a story using photographs.

POWER UP YOUR COMMUNICATIONS WITH PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH
Libby Barg, Barney & Worth, Inc.
Scott Whiteford, DHM Research, Inc.
Presentation - PDF (1.1 MB)

Communicating with the public is critical to the success of most organizations. Creating communications plans, developing outreach materials, and implementing a program can be challenging. How do you know you are using the right messages and reaching the right audiences? Public opinion research in combination with strategic communications plans ensures your program engages the public. This presentation will show you how to use opinion research to supercharge your outreach program.

GRANT WRITING BASICS – HAVING YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW
Nicole Sullivan, Owyhee Watershed Council
Presentation - PDF (1.3 MB)

This session will cover the basics of writing an effective grant application. Topics covered will include: budgeting, partners, regional/local priorities, timelines, project elements, and narratives. An example project scenario will be demonstrated step by step illustrating how to tie all the grant proposal elements together.

USING THE MEDIA TO TELL YOUR STORY: CREATING FLAWLESS FLIERS
Jessie Maran, Harper Houf Peterson Righellis Inc.

Flawless fliers find the right balance between flash and substance. A concrete set of design principles can be used to consistently create clear and engaging fliers that support the purpose and goals of your event. The presenter will observe case studies that demonstrate the application of these principles to real-life public engagement materials and will work with the audience to make real-time refinements to improve a sample graphic.

SUCCESSFUL EDUCATION PROGRAMS: LOGISTICS, CHALLENGES, AND EVALUATION
Teresa Matteson, Benton SWCD
Ron Crouse, Marion SWCD
Morgan Parks, Clackamas River Basin Council
Penny Beckwith, Columbia Slough Watershed Council

Two Soil and Water Conservation Districts and two Watershed Councils will share the secrets of successful youth and adult education programs, including challenges, solutions, and efficient evaluation methods.


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Uplands


WHITE OAK HABITAT RESTORATION ROUNDTABLE
Michael Crabtree, Yamhill SWCD
Kammy Kern-Korot, West Multnomah SWCD
Marc Bell, Polk SWCD
Crabtree Presentation - PDF (5.3 MB)
Kern-Korot Presentation - PDF (5.8 MB)
Bell Presentation - PDF (7.2 MB)

This session provides an opportunity to learn from fellow white oak habitat restorationists. A series of oak-centric mini-presentations on restoration successes and challenges, as well as innovation new tools, partnerships and resources, will be followed by a roundtable discussion on the topic.

OREGON WHITE OAK HABITAT RESTORATION
Elaine Steward, Metro
Presentation - PDF (3.9 MB)

Oregon white oak woodland is one of ODFW’s strategy habitats and efforts to improve the health of remaining oak woodlands are increasing. This class will review wildlife that need oak woodlands and some of their specific habitat requirements. These habitat needs will be traced through the development of prescriptions for oak restoration. We will cover the process for implementing an oak release project from initial identification of the woodland through project clean-up and subsequent weed control.

SAGE GROUSE CONSERVATION ON PRIVATE LANDS
Jeremy Maestes, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Angela Sitz, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Christina Santana & Bill Anderson, Harney SWCD
Maestes Presentation - PDF (4.0 MB)
Sitz Presentation - PDF (1.8 MB)

Voluntary, proactive conservation efforts implemented by private landowners play a vital role in securing sage-grouse populations and ensuring a vibrant, sustainable future for rural economies in Oregon. There are a broad array of programs and tools available to incentivize conservation on private lands that practitioners working in sage-grouse range can use to assist producers. In this session, participants will learn about the current status, mechanics, and funding opportunities related to the NRCS Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) and the SWCD/FWS-led Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAAs). Participants will gain a working knowledge of program priorities, tools, and financial assistance available to help accelerate sage-grouse conservation on private lands.

INTRO TO THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY-THE NEW NORMAL
Jim Cathcart, Oregon Department of Forestry
Presentation - PDF (9.7 MB)

This session will provide an overview of the Oregon Department of Forestry; its organizational structure, operating programs and sources of funding. Specific emphasis will be placed on learning how to work locally with the Department through Oregon Department of Forestry Stewardship Foresters. The session will review the Department’s role in providing technical and financial assistance to family forestland owners and how we work with key partners to achieve these ends. The session will also review innovative education and assistance tools designed to engage family forest owners with their forestlands.

BUILD LOCAL ALLIANCE: CONNECTING LOCAL WOOD WITH LOCAL PROJECTS
Peter Hayes, Build Local Alliance
Michael Ahr, West Multnomah SWCD
Presentation - PDF (4.6 MB)

With the success of the Farmer-Chef Connection in mind, the Build Local Alliance (BLA) was established to encourage the use of locally, sustainably grown wood in local projects. The BLA encourages the use of many or our native species in addition to the popular Douglas-fir and provides education on these species throughout the year. Many woodland owners that SWCD staff work with have diverse forests and don’t have plans for aggressive logging practices. Instead, many woodland owners prefer to harvest selectively and would be interested to find local markets to sell their wood products. Members of the Build Local Alliance will share information about the organization and how it might fit with the goals of your organization.

Michael Ahr, Forest Conservationist at West Multnomah SWCD will discuss how his involvement with the BLA helps his organization. Peter Hayes, a woodland owner who also works with his family to mill and market their wood will detail how the organization helps landowners like himself, and how it might help others.

BACTERIAL BIOHERBICIDES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF CHEATGRASS, MEDUSAHEAD, AND JOINTED GOATGRASS
Ann Kennedy, USDA Agricultural Research Service
Presentation - PDF (3.8 MB)

Herbicides can be used on annual invasive weeds, but often are not able to reduce the weed seed bank. Integrated pest management for invasive weed control will soon include bacterial bioherbicides. Bacteria from the soil and root surface in the early spring have been found to inhibit cheatgrass, medusahead and jointed goatgrass, and provide another valuable tool to fight these invasive weeds. We selected for soil bacteria that suppressed the growth of grass weeds, but did not inhibit beneficial plants, such as cereals and native grasses. In long-term field trials in the western US, application of the bacteria resulted almost complete suppression of cheatgrass and medusahead five to seven years after a single application when desirable plants were present. With the reduction of the annual grass weed, other plant species became more competitive. These bacteria provide a novel means to reduce invasive weeds in cropland, and forests and in rangeland restoration programs.

DETECTION OF NEW INVASIVE SPECIES IN OREGON’S FORESTS: AN INTRODUCATION TO THE FOREST PEST DETECTOR PROGRAM
Wyatt Williams, Oregon Department of Forestry
Presentation - PDF (3.7 MB)

Oregon’s forests are currently at risk from the worldwide movement of invasive species. One particular group of invaders causing both environmental and economic threats is exotic tree-killing wood borers, including the infamous Emerald Ash Borer, notorious for its rapid spread to 25 states since its detection in Michigan in 2002. EAB and other similar invasive wood borers have killed hundreds of millions of trees, primarily in the eastern U.S. An interagency team led by Oregon State University and Oregon Department of Forestry aim to establish an early warning system for these invaders by training arborists, foresters, and other tree professionals the signs and symptoms of attacked trees. By catching these unwanted tree pests early in their establishment, the hope is that the invasion can be contained or perhaps eradicated, thus saving countless dollars and scores of trees from eminent death.

OREGON CONSERVATION STRATEGY
Susan Barnes, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Presentation - PDF (3.0 MB)

The Oregon Conservation Strategy is Oregon’s federally mandated State Wildlife Action Plan. It provides a statewide framework for conserving the state’s fish and wildlife and their habitats. The Strategy provides information on priority at-risk habitats and associated species, identifies key issues affecting them, and recommends conservation actions.

BMPs FOR CONSERVING OREGON’S NATIVE TURTLES
Susan Barnes, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Presentation - PDF (2.9 MB)

Oregon’s two native turtle species, the western pond turtle and the western painted turtle, are in trouble. On-the-ground actions have the potential to affect turtles, negatively and/or positively. With help from the Oregon Native Turtle Working Group, ODFW recently produced “Guidance for Conserving Oregon’s Native Turtles including Best Management Practices”. This document includes an overview of turtle ecology, describes how to create and enhance turtle habitat, and provides BMPs for all project stages and types.


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Riparian and Water Quality


WATER RIGHTS 101
Teri Hranac, Oregon Water Resources Department
Presentation - PDF (1.3 MB)

Brief overview of the water rights system in Oregon

ALLOCATION OF CONSERVED WATER
Teri Hranac, Oregon Water Resources Department
Presentation - PDF (2.6 MB)

Voluntary program providing benefits to instream flows and water right holders through implemented conservation measures and nn overview of this unique program and how it works

INNOVATIVE FUNDING FOR WATERSHED PROJECTS
Koto Kishida, Evan Haas, and Julie Harvey, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Presentation - PDF (2.5 MB)

DEQ has various funds available for water protection and restoration projects. Section 319 Grant fund is perhaps the most familiar to local groups, but unfortunately the funding level has been declining over the past decade. This presentation will highlight DEQ’s other funding sources that are also suitable for addressing water quality issues, such as Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF loans/grants as well as Supplemental Environmental Projects funds from enforcement cases. DEQ contacts for these funding sources will explain what the districts and councils need to know to explore the possibility of accessing these funds.

  • Types of SWCD and WSC projects that are eligible for DW and CW SFR loans and grants
  • How local groups could utilize CWSRF’s sponsorship option
  • Reasons low interest loans are sometimes better for local groups than grants
  • How to access Supplemental Environmental Project funds from DEQ enforcement cases
  • Updates and changes to 319 funds

SMALL & LARGE PROJECT PERMITTING
Dominic Yballe, US Army Corps of Engineers
Heidi Hartman, Oregon Department of State Lands
Sara Christensen, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Yballe Small Project Presentation - PDF (0.3 MB)
Yballe Large Project Presentation - PDF (0.3 MB)
USACE Permit Process Flow Chart - PDF (0.1 MB)
Hartman Presentation - PDF (3.9 MB)
Christensen Presentation - PDF (3.7 MB)

Join representatives from the US Army Corps of Engineers, Oregon Department of State Lands, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for an overview of project permitting processes. This two-­‐hour session will focus on both small and large project permitting. Agency representatives will provide an overview of the application process and agency coordination, talk through specific permitting requirements, discuss application evaluation, and share tips for navigating the permitting process. Discussion will also include updates on recent changes, including withdrawal of the Interpretive Rule. There will be ample time for Q & A, so don’t be afraid to bring your questions.

FOREST PRACTICES ACT 101-WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW
Brad Knotts, Oregon Department of Forestry
Presentation - PDF (2.6 MB)

In 1971, Oregon was the first state in the country to adopt in law resource protection requirements for Oregon’s non-federal forests. Since that time, Oregon’s Forest Practices Act has evolved in response to evolving public needs and interests and has been adapted to incorporate new scientific findings about the practices needed to achieve resource protection goals. This session will review the genesis, policy and adaptive nature of the Act – both with respect to the authorizing statutes as well as the Oregon Board of Forestry’s adopted administrative rules. Specific resource protection requirements will be reviewed, especially those protecting water quality and riparian function. Attendees will also get an understanding of their responsibility to notify the State Forester about conducting forest operations on non-federal forestlands.

OREGON MONITORING PARTNERSHIPS
Aaron Borisenko and Peter Bryant, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Michael Merrill, Natural Resources Conservation Service
Sheila Marcoe and Steve Riley, Oregon Department of Agriculture
Ken Fetcho, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board

Monitoring efforts are underway through three Oregon program/initiatives — the Strategic Enterprise Approach to Monitoring (STREAM) Team, Conservation Effectiveness Partnership (CEP), and the Water Quality Pesticide Management Team (WQPMT). Oregon’s state natural resource agencies have a long history of working together to improve water quality in a matter that is strategic, efficient and effective. The Governor’s 10-­‐year plan objective is to continue to reduce the percentage of streams with declining water quality and to assure that water quality is improving throughout the state by 2022. Monitoring is a critical part of the effort to achieve that goal.

ODFW COMPASS: AN ONLINE MAPPING TOOL FOR OREGON'S FISH AND WILDLIFE SPECIES AND HABITATS
Arthur Rodriguez, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Presentation - PDF (5.2 MB)

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is proud to highlight two publicly accessible, online mapping applications launched within the last year. These tools improve access to ODFW datasets and assist with initial assessments during early, pre-­‐planning stages of land use projects. ODFW Compass is now available within the ODFW website (http://www.odfw.com/maps/compass) and provides online, interactive access to ODFW data layers such as Fish Passage Barriers, Conservation Opportunity Areas, Sage-­‐Grouse Core Areas, Big Game Winter Range, Wildlife Linkages, and many other ODFW and partner data layers. Compass also contains aggregated layers portraying high priority natural resource locations across Oregon, compiled using ODFW management priorities.

WATER QUALITY MONITORING 101: BASIC FIELD WATER QUALITY MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES
Steve Hanson, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Monitoring Notes - PDF (0.8 MB)

This session will cover field measurement of temperature, conductivity, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, and E. coli following standard DEQ and OWEB monitoring protocols. The goal of the session is to demonstrate what is involved in field data collection including suggested quality control checks. Elements of project planning, data management and analysis will receive only minimal discussion. The majority of the session will be conducted streamside so participants should be prepared for existing weather conditions. Participants will not be expected to enter the stream. Session lead is Steve Hanson, DEQ Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator.

STREAM SURVEYS FOR WATER QUALITY MONITORING 101: STREAM BUG COLLECTION AND IN STREAM SURVEY TECHNIQUES FOR ASSESSING WATER QUALITY
Shannon Hubler, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Sampling Notes - PDF (0.2 MB)

This session will cover field techniques developed by the EPA as part of the National Aquatic Resource Surveys. The goal of the session is to demonstrate the collection of a stream macro invertebrate sample and field measurements of bed sediments, riparian vegetation, and shade condition. These measures are used to define biological condition, sediment condition and variables that impact stream temperature. The goal of the session is for participants to understand the work required for this monitoring as well as how the data can be used. The session will be conducted primarily at the stream although participants will not be required to enter the stream. The session will include a brief discussion of how the DEQ is applying the methods and how local organizations can partner with the DEQ to generate information in their area. The session lead is Shannon Hubler, DEQ NARS Project Lead.


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Supplemental


BEYOND THE BASICS-IMPLEMENTING SOIL HEALTH
Cory Owens, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Oregon has begun to “Unlock the Secrets of Soil Health” with multiple projects around the state. Now it’s time to look back at the successes and think about the future. This session will explore the opportunities for building stronger soil health partnerships, share lessons learned, highlight new education and outreach materials, and discuss effective collaboration and future programs.


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Spotlight on RCPP


WHITE RIVER IRRIGATION EFFICIENCY AND STREAM FLOW RESTORATION PROJECT
Josh Thompson, Wasco County SWCD
Presentation - PDF (3.3 MB)

Partners for this project in Oregon have identified specific goals, already planned through a collaborative approach in the county, including the removal of six unscreened fish passage barriers, saving 7,300 acre feet of water annually, and restoring flows to 21.9 miles of stream, of which 15 miles of stream were over-allocated and seasonally dewatered. Identified activities will increase water quality, improve irrigation efficiency, and improve fish habitat in this critical area.

NORTH SLOPE OCHOCO HOLISTIC RESTORATION PROJECT
Herb Winters, Wheeler SWCD
Link to online presentation

The Wheeler Soil and Water Conservation District in Oregon has a longstanding, collaborative program that focuses on the improvement and protection of natural resources for the betterment of agricultural producers, the local community, and fish and wildlife. Using an innovative GIS approach to target treatment areas, the partners will implement a coordinated and directed effort to expand upon the current work being done to address key natural resource concerns in a ridge-top to ridge-top manner. EQIP, ACEP, and CSP will be used to accomplish objectives including pre-commercial thinning, irrigation efficiency projects, conservation easements, juniper removal, range restoration, spring developments, riparian restoration, and critical habitat restoration. Success will be gauged by the evaluation of measurable objectives and the expansion of established monitoring programs.

THE OREGON MODEL TO PROTECT SAGE-GROUSE
Marty Goold, Harney SWCD
Presentation - PDF (1.6 MB)
Link to Oregon Ranchers Video
Link to Sage Grouse Mapping Video

A thirty-year programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for greater sage-grouse — which is a mechanism to maintain or improve habitat and assist producers in meeting or avoiding the need for regulatory requirements under the Endangered Species Act — has been developed for private lands in Harney County, Oregon, and similar agreements are currently being developed for the remaining six counties in Oregon within the range of sage-grouse. NRCS conservation practices are a critical piece to ensuring producers have the tools and financial assistance they need to successfully meet the terms of the CCA. The project has a goal to reach 40 percent of producers, and partners will provide additional technical and financial assistance, as well as monitoring support.

NORTH WILLAMETTE VALLEY UPLAND OAK RESTORATION PARTNERSHIP
Larry Ojua, Yamhill SWCD
Presentation - PDF (1.9 MB)

This project will provide investments to restore oak and prairie habitats in Yamhill and Polk counties to improve conditions for critical wildlife. Historic oak, prairie and savanna habitats have declined in the Willamette Valley, and efforts to restore this land will aid in the recovery of several endangered species, including the Fender’s blue butterfly. This project will strengthen existing partnerships and facilitate the implementation of numerous regional conservation plans and priorities.


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