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Working and Living in Oregon as an Natural Resources Conservation Professional

Working and Living in Oregon as an Natural Resources Conservation Professional

Natural resource specialists with the Oregon Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) develop innovative solutions to protect healthy soil, improve water and air quality, and enhance habitats across the state’s broad landscape. NRCS employees work one-on-one with private landowners on a voluntary basis to help them improve and protect natural resources. Doing so, our conservation professionals meet the challenges associated with complex natural resource issues while enjoying the satisfaction of helping local people help the land.

The Oregon NRCS offers its employees a work setting that is both stimulating and rewarding. Working alongside other top professionals in the field, our specialists continuously engage in vigorous professional development in a variety of settings. For this reason, the Oregon NRCS is distinguished as a conservation leader nationwide, and as such, our employees are recognized for technical excellence and enjoy numerous opportunities for career advancement.

Our dedicated and talented teams work in eight administrative areas, or basins, which align with the natural landscapes and communities we serve. Within each basin, our conservation teams provide leadership and expertise to address the natural resource needs that exist locally. Working in Oregon’s diverse surroundings, our employees enjoy the many beautiful landscapes, communities and lifestyles the state has to offer.

 Map of Oregon outlining the 8 basins


Upper & Lower Willamette Valley

Scenic Upper & Lower Willamette Valley Scenic Upper & Lower Willamette Valley Scenic Upper & Lower Willamette Valley





For the pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail, this rich valley truly was the promised land. Flanked by the Coast Range and the Cascades, the valley is known for its diverse agriculture, with more than 250 crop varieties. These include all types of vegetables, fruits, grass seed, flowers, herbs, nuts, hops and Christmas trees. In addition, the area’s wine industry has earned worldwide acclaim.

NRCS specialists work with all types of agriculture in this area. NRCS provides expertise on conservation cropping systems, irrigation systems, pesticide and fertilizer management, wetland restoration and more.

Those who live here, join more than 70 percent of the state’s population. Portland is a cultural hub with a lively city scene. Eugene and Corvallis offer active college-town lifestyles, while the state’s capitol, Salem, provides the benefits of city living with easy access to parks, rivers and mountains, as well as the ocean.


North Coast

Scenic North Coast Scenic North Coast





Lewis and Clark spent the winter on the northern coast of Oregon where the Columbia River empties into the Pacific Ocean. Known for abundant rain, the area is heavily forested and bubbling with clear, mountain streams.

NRCS specialists here commonly assist dairy operators with conservation measures to protect water and air quality. NRCS also works to improve stream habitat for native salmon and helps private woodland owners improve forest health.

Those who live here, enjoy both the Coastal Mountains and the coast. With all of Oregon’s nearly 400 miles of beaches open to the public, those who live here enjoy year-round beach access. Local communities are noted for a small-town lifestyle in a moderate and often wet climate.


Deschutes Basin

Scenic Deschutes Basin Scenic Deschutes Basin Scenic Deschutes Basin





To the north, stately Mt. Hood stands watch over the Columbia River Gorge. Snowmelt enriches hillsides and valleys famous for their pears, peaches, cherries, apricots and apples. Following the snowcapped peaks of the Cascades to the south, central Oregon features high desert landscapes and geologic marvels, such as Smith Rock State Park and Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

NRCS specialists help landowners plan and design measures to reduce use of irrigation water, maintain healthy plant communities for grazing and wildlife, and protect streamside areas and critical habitats.

Those who live here, enjoy blue skies and sunshine nearly 300 days a year. Snow sports dominate the winter months and fly-fishing, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and world class golf are options the rest of the year. Central Oregon is also host to world class museums, interpretive centers, and Native American cultural activities.


Eastern Oregon:  John Day / Umatilla & Snake Basins

Scenic Eastern Oregon:  John Day / Umatilla & Snake Basins Scenic Eastern Oregon:  John Day / Umatilla & Snake Basins





Geographically, eastern Oregon accounts for more than half of the state, yet with a relatively small population, the region is truly one of the west’s last vast expanses. Vast wheat fields blanket the John Day Basin, while range land and a variety of irrigated pasture and crops dominate farther east.

NRCS specialists provide expertise on conservation cropping systems, forest management, irrigation systems and grazing management.

Those who live here, can experience the old West. Cowboys still round up cattle and the Pendleton Rodeo is an annual celebration. The historic land of the Nez Perce, Umatilla and other Tribes, the area is rich with Native American cultures and communities.


Southern Oregon:  Southwest Oregon & High Desert Basins

 Southern Oregon:  Southwest Oregon & High Desert Basins




Warmer and drier than the Willamette Basin, southern Oregon encompasses vast forests in the west and dry rangelands to the east. Wildlife refuges here are home to large concentrations migrating birds. The centerpiece of the region, Crater Lake National Park, boasts the deepest lake in the United States.

NRCS specialists help landowners plan and design measures to improve irrigation efficiency, enhance forest health, manage grazing for healthy plants and animals, and protect streamside areas. Emphasis is placed on water conservation to benefit threatened and endangered fish.

Those who live here, often seek adventure fishing and whitewater rafting on the Rogue, Klamath and Umpqua rivers. Beaches and sand dunes provide year-round outdoor activities, while cultural activities include local arts and the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland.



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