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Crook County - Information for Partners and Participants

Crook County, OregonCrook County has an area of 2,991 square miles, or 1.9 million acres. Ninety-six percent of the county is within the Deschutes River Basin. Over 50 percent of the county is publicly owned. The private land is 900 thousand acres and made up of 71% rangeland, 4% forest, 7% irrigated and 8% dryland crop. The NRCS office, located in Redmond, offers voluntary technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in natural resource conservation improvements. Historically the NRCS has focused on rangeland and irrigation improvements on private land. The economy is based on livestock, agriculture, forest products, recreation, manufacturing and wholesale trade.

Seventy percent of the privately-owned land within Crook County is rangeland. Water quantity and plant health and vigor are major attributes of healthy rangeland and critical to maintaining a healthy hydrologic cycle. Crook County is experiencing declining levels of rangeland health with a major cause being invasion of western juniper trees. This invasion of trees into non-historic areas degrades water quantity and plant health.

Crook County has about 350,000 acres of privately owned rangeland that have been invaded with juniper trees. There are springs, creeks and rivers throughout these juniper-dominated rangeland areas. In many cases, these water sources have been greatly reduced by the change in plant community and the associated downward shift in the hydrologic cycle. It has been scientifically proven that juniper encroachment can degrade the hydrologic function of rangeland and it is known that juniper control in sagebrush/steppe habitats can immediately improve sage grouse habitat.

Crook County Long Range Plan

NRCS Oregon uses a Strategic Approach to Conservation to address priority natural resource concerns in specific watersheds and landscapes across the state. It all begins with a Long Range Plan. Each county develops a Long Range Plan with input from landowners, agency partners and other stakeholders that identifies and prioritizes natural resource concerns in the community. Based on those plans, NRCS works with partners to develop local Conservation Implementation Strategies to help agricultural producers in those targeted areas implement conservation practices that address the resource concerns. Long Range Plans are updated to reflect the changing needs and objectives of the county's natural resources.

Current Financial Assistance Opportunities for Farmers, Ranchers and Forest Owners in Crook County

The following Conservation Implementation Strategies are available to help Crook County agricultural producers address targeted resource concerns identified in the Long Range Plan. Click the project names below for more information:

Additional Funding Opportunities...

In addition to the local projects above, producers may also apply for statewide programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Organic Initiative, Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative, On-Farm Energy Initiative, and conservation easement programs. Visit with your local District Conservationist for more information on these and other programs, or visit the NRCS Programs webpage.

Local Work Group Meetings

Every year, NRCS hosts a Local Work Group meeting where farmers, landowners, conservation partners and other members of the community discuss the natural resource needs for the county. Based on feedback from those meetings, NRCS updates the county's Long Range Plan and develops new Conservation Implementation Strategies to address those resource concerns. You may contact us anytime to express concerns or comments about conservation needs in the county, and we encourage you to attend the next Local Work Group meeting in your county. For more information about Local Work Group meetings, contact your local NRCS office.

Snowpack Information in Crook County

Contact Your Crook County Conservationist

Other Resources Available:

Success Stories in Crook County

Restoring Sagebrush Country with 'Modern Wildfire'

Through the Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI), private landowners across Eastern Oregon, such as the Laakso family, are volunteering to perform proactive conservation treatments on their rangeland to promote healthy habitat for sage grouse and other wildlife.