/ Wallowa County - Information for Partners and Participants
Wallowa County - Information for Partners and Participants
Side-row sprinkler irrigation in Wallowa County.
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 practices and resource concerns include:
Irrigation water management and system improvements in the Prairie Creek watershed to address resource concerns; primarily inefficient use of Irrigation water, water quality, energy consumption, and low stream flows.
North Prairie Creek
Forest health issues including stand density, disease, species composition and wildfire hazard
Existing and emerging natural resource concerns include:
Riparian Health/water quality; treatment includes off-stream water developments, fencing, grass and tree/shrub plantings.
Invasive noxious weeds and juniper encroachment on rangelands.
Upland wildlife habitat management
Forest health issues including stand density, disease and species composition
Assistance may be available for conservation measures to improve efficiency and management of irrigation systems in the Prairie Creek Watershed through sponsorship by the Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation District.
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
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.
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)...
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)...
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)...