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Wallowa County - Information for Partners and Participants

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Wallowa County is located in the northeast corner of Oregon. The county includes 3,153 square miles of topographic and biological diversity including North America’s deepest gorge, Hells Canyon, and the Wallowa Mountains, with peaks exceeding 10,000 feet. Privately-owned land includes 47,000 acres of cropland, 491,000 acres of rangeland and 276,000 acres of forest. Sixty-five percent of the county is publicly owned. The NRCS office is located in Enterprise. The NRCS staff provides technical assistance and administers NRCS financial assistance conservation programs.


NRCS Local Conservation Activities and Strategies

The NRCS in Wallowa County works voluntarily with private land owners and cooperatively with partners to strategically address priority natural resource concerns.

The current priority resource concerns and priority areas include:

CROPLAND

Resource concerns

Inefficient use of Irrigation water, water quality, energy consumption, and low stream flows and Soil Health

Priority Areas

  1. Alder Slope (Currently taking applications for funding)

    Planned practices include; sprinkler system upgrades/replacements, irrigation pipeline, mircro hydro, fish screen/diversion upgrades, irrigation water management plans.
     
  2. Prairie Cr. Phase II planning projects and developing partnerships and looking for additional project funding.  

    Planned practices include; sprinkler system upgrades/replacements, irrigation pipeline, micro hydro, fish screen/diversion upgrades, irrigation water management plans, riparian forest buffers, riparian herbaceous buffers, bank stabilization (North prairie Cr. Only), off-stream livestock water development and fencing.  
     
  3. County Wide (continuous CStP signup)

    Available enhancements include; Cover crops, no-till, direct seed, soil health testing, conservation crop rotation, intensive livestock grazing, and soil health management systems. 

NON INDUSTRIAL PRIVATE FOREST

Resource concerns

Overstocked stands, plant productivity health and vigor, disease, species composition and wildfire hazard

Priority Areas

  1. Alder Slope (currently taking application & providing cost share)

    Planned practices include; pre-commercial thinning and slash treatment
     
  2. The Divide-Mt.Howard-Ferguson Ridge beginning outreach, education, inventory and analysis for future cost sharing.   
     
  3. Planned practices include; pre-commercial thinning, slash treatment and prescribed burning

 

Conservation Implementation Strategy


NRCS Programs Available


Additional Conservation Resources Available

The NRCS works cooperatively with a variety of partners including:

  • Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Farm Service Agency
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Grande Ronde Model Watershed
  • Oregon State University Extension
  • Nez Perce Tribe
  • Wallowa Resources
  • The Energy Trust of Oregon
  • Farmers Conservation Alliance
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board


Local Work Group Updates

The Wallowa 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.

For meeting information, please click here.


Success Stories

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Producer Profile: Soil Health is a Group Affair

Mark Butterfield, Joe Dawson, Alan Klages, and Kevin Melville each have diverse irrigated cropland operations throughout the Wallowa Valley -- each with varying management objectives. Some of them also have rangeland mixed in, where their cattle graze in the summer. But despite the differences, they are discovering that investing in the health of their soil increases productivity and lowers input costs -- it’s just a matter of finding the right recipe for success. More (HTML...)

Key Words:  Soil Health, Snake River Basin

CCPI Conservation Program Cuts Need for Water and Power

Larry McFetridge starts his pump with the flip of a small silver switch. According to Tom Smith, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist, “Larry used to run two 75 hp pumps. With the installation of the Prairie Creek Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI) project through NRCS, Larry only needs two 40 hp pumps, so he’s using significantly less energy. That is a significant reduction in his annual pumping costs.” More (HTML)...

Key Words: CCPI, water management, energy management, Snake River Basin
Joyce and Dan Gover standing side by side on their ranch in eastern Oregon.

Enterprise Ranchers Create a Legacy of Conservation

Dan Gover tips one of the 100 hats he has in his colorful collection, and motors an ATV out to the timothy hay field and new pumping station with USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) District Conservationist, Tom Smith. The relationship between Dan and NRCS staff has stood the test of time. Dan and the agency have worked together for decades to create a legacy of conservation that has improved soil and water health on his scenic ranch at the foot of the majestic Wallowa Mountains. More (HTML)...

Key Words: CCPI, water management, Snake River Basin
McFetridge family portrait

Grassroots Idea Becomes Conservation Reality

Merlie McFetridge serves lunch to her family and farmhands at the stroke of noon every day. “If you’re late, you may not eat,” says her son Jay who manages the farm for the family. Everyone gathers ‘round the large table in the sunny dining room for a substantial meal to fuel an afternoon of strenuous work in the fields. After his dessert of chocolate cake and ice cream, Jay pushes back from the table and returns to putting up hay. The crew follows. The tradition of farm life for the McFetridge family is as strong as their legacy of conservation. More (HTML)...

Key Words: CCPI, water management, Snake River Basin



 

Clickable Map of SNOTEL Sites

 

For Additional Assistance Contact

Enterprise Service Center
401 NE First Street, Suite E
Enterprise, OR 97828-3042

NRCS District Conservationist, Nate James: (541) 426-4521 ext 101 nathan.james@or.usda.gov
Wallowa SWCD: (541) 426-4588 Ext. 4

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