Skip Navigation

Umatilla County - Information for Partners and Participants

NRCS Oregon is accepting applications for Drought Mitigation in EQIP  -- application cutoff date is June 17, 2016.

Mule Deer in velvet on the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

Umatilla County has an area of 3,231 sq miles, or 2,067,840 acres total. 75 percent of the acres, or 1,550,880, are privately owned. The private acres consist mainly of 570,000 dry cropland acres, 145,000 of irrigated cropland, 520,000 forestland, and 315,880 acres of rangeland. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation sits on 172,000 public acres of mainly rangeland. The NRCS office, located in Pendleton, offers voluntary technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in natural resource conservation improvements. Historically, the NRCS office has focused on soil quality for cropland, and forest health issues and has more recently been focusing on improving irrigation efficiencies and air quality.

NRCS Local Conservation Activities and Strategies

Hudson Bay Irrigation Improvement, Healthy Soils, Forest Health, CTUIR – Indian Lakes Range Improvement/First Foods

Conservation Implementation Strategy

NRCS Programs Available

Additional Conservation Resources Available

  • Agricultural Research Services
  • IRZ
  • Electric Co-Ops
  • Energy Trust of Oregon (for Pacific Power customers)
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
  • Oregon Department of Water Resources
  • Umatilla Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Oregon State University Extension
  • United States Forest Service
  • Department of Environmental Quality
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Umatilla Basin Watershed Council
  • WW Basin Watershed Council
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
  • Columbia Blue Mt. Resource Conservation and Development Council

Local Work Group Updates

The Umatilla County Local Work Group meets to discuss natural resource concerns and mitigation strategies. Major concerns in Umatilla County consist of irrigation inefficiencies, noxious and invasive plants on rangeland, and forest health degradation.

If you are interested in participating, please contact the NRCS District Conservationist listed below.

For meeting information, please click here.

Success Stories


Organic grain grower sows seeds of hope in soil health

To say Eric Nelson enjoys a challenge is an understatement.

He’s a certified organic farmer, growing small grains in a 12-inch precipitation zone—most of which comes between December and February. And if that isn’t enough of a challenge, he’s also working to reduce his use of tillage while he’s integrating diverse rotations and incorporating cover crops. More (HTML...)

Key Words:  Organic, Soil Health, John Day / Umatilla Basin
Felipe Jimenez

Micro-irrigation System Conserves Water and Expenses for Vegetable Farm

Umapine, Ore.— Felipe Jimenez implemented an underground drip irrigation system that has revolutionized his production by reducing operating costs and conserving the natural resources on his vegetable farm near Milton-Freewater, Oregon. More (HTML...)

Key Words:EQIP, irrigation management, John Day Umatilla Basin
Bene Medelez

Legacy of Conservation Lessons Learned

A legacy of conservation lessons learned by parents who farmed during the Great Depression left an impression on Bene Medelez. A rancher in his own right, Bene has been working with USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to keep and improve the good conservation aspects of his 5,100-acre ranch acquired in 2007. While this is his first time working with NRCS, his parents worked with the agency in Texas early in its development. More (HTML)...

Key Words:CSP, irrigation efficiency, John Day Umatilla Basin
Fawn Rupp standing on his property

First-Time User of NRCS Programs Values Past; Looks to Future

Fawn Rupp kneels and gently pulls aside a tousled ryegrass to reveal three pioneer gravestones that lie prone in the fenced enclosure. “I didn’t know these were here when I bought this farm,” admits Fawn who purchased the land two years ago. “I found the markers when I worked up the field for the first time.” Since his discovery, Fawn has cleaned up the grave site and built the fence, protecting the legacy of pioneers who may have been part of the original homestead in the 1800s. More (HTML)...

Key Words: AWEP, water management, John Day Umatilla Basin


Clickable Map of SNOTEL Sites


For Additional Assistance Contact

Pendleton Service Center
200 SE Hailey Avenue, Suite #111
Pendleton, OR 97801

NRCS District Conservationist, Andrea Mann: (541) 278-8049 x105
NRCS District Conservationist in Mission, Terry Johnson: (541) 429-7250
Umatilla SWCD District Manager, Tom Demianew: (541) 276-8131

Umatilla County rancher gathering herd for pasture rotation.

Umatilla County dry land cereal grain crop ready for harvest.