Baker County comprises approximately 1,977,000 acres of land. There is 964,000 acres of private land of which approximately 127,000 acres is irrigated cropland or hayland, 638,000 acres is rangeland and 128,000 acres is forest. Fifty-one percent of the county is publicly owned. The major drainages in the county include the Powder River, Burnt River and Pine Creek. The NRCS office is located in Baker City. The NRCS staff provides technical assistance and administers NRCS financial assistance conservation programs.
NRCS Local Conservation Activities and Strategies
The NRCS in Baker County works voluntarily with private land owners and cooperatively with partners to strategically address priority natural resource concerns. Resource concerns that are prioritized for conservation treatment include:
Invasive weeds, including annual non-native annual grasses, threaten native plant communities which results in altered wildlife habitat, reduced forage production and increased erosion.
Assistance may be available for conservation measures to improve habitat for the greater sage-grouse through inventory and treatment of invasive annual grasses and implementation of upland wildlife habitat management in coordination with the Keating Soil and Water Conservation District.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) have entered into a partnership to provide technical assistance and cost sharing opportunities for private forestland owners.
Local Work Group Updates
The Baker County Local Work Group meets to discuss natural resource priorities and provide input to NRCS on conservation programs. If you are interested in participating, please contact the NRCS District Conservationist listed below.
Eastern Oregon rancher Dick Fleming wants to make the most of every precious drop of rain on his rangeland. His 3,305-acre ranch in Baker County gets only seven inches of rain a year on average, and has a limited growing season of six weeks. It’s most definitely a challenge for Fleming—and other Eastern Oregon ranchers—to maintain moisture for forage production. More (HTML...)
Key Words: Soil Health, Rangeland, Grazing, Snake River Basin
For eastern Oregon ranchers like Bill Loennig, starting small can lead to big benefits. That was his approach for a recent cost-share partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve forest health along the East Face of the Elkhorn Mountains.
This summer, contractors completed timber thinning and tree stand improvements on 37 of his 900-plus acres in Baker County -- and Loennig couldn’t be happier with the results. More (HTML...)
Allen and Bev Duby hang on as their pickup truck bucks and jerks along the ragged tracks of their farm road. The ranchers are out inspecting a 1,000-acre portion of their 10,000 acre ranch —a section that illustrates both the rich farming history in Bev’s family and the progressive conservation practices they are undertaking to assure the family’s future. More (HTML)...
Key Words: CCPI, water-quality, juniper removal, Snake River Basin
Boone Sullivan is keeper of the history and caretaker of the precious natural resources on his family’s 18,000-acre ranch along Burnt River south of Baker City. Boone tells the story of logging ponderosa pines, of hunting deer and elk and of Old Sam, a reclusive hermit and prospector who mined for gold on Forest Service land near their home place in the mid 1900s. Over the years the quest for gold has died out in the valley while awareness of another precious natural resource, the sage-grouse, has emerged. More (HTML)...
Key Words: CCPI, sage-grouse, juniper removal, Snake River Basin