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Jefferson County - Information for Partners and Participants

New irrigation mainline west of Madras

New irrigation mainline west of Madras.

Jefferson County has an area of 1,791 square miles, or 1.1 million acres of which 570,000 acres or 49% of the county is privately owned and 257,000 acres or 22% of the county is Tribal lands. The USDA Forest Service owns 276,000 ac including 120,000 ac of the Crooked River National Grassland and 156,000 ac of forest. USDI Bureau of Land Management has about 37,000 ac. There are about 97,000 ac of crop land with about 52,000 acres irrigated. Much of the irrigated land is used to produce high value seed crops including 85% of the nation’s carrot seed. Parsley, radish, coriander, garlic, onion and flowers are also grown for seed. The vegetable seeds are often grown in rotation with hay, grain, grass seed or mint.

NRCS Local Conservation Activities and Strategies

The priority major resource concerns identified by the local conservation partnership include:

  • Water Quantity and Quality,
  • Rangeland Health especially juniper encroachment,
  • Forestland Health

Existing Conservation Implementation Strategies (CIS) geared towards improving irrigated cropland are being utilized. Crop producers and citizens of the county are willing to participate in water quantity and quality effort as water conservation and adequate water quality are essential to everyone. Success will be measured by feedback from the local irrigation districts, water quality assessments, and the number of irrigation systems updated for efficiency.

Landowners are willing to participate in rangeland health efforts as invasive species diminish the grazing capability, decrease stream quality, and destroy wildlife habitat. Success will be measured by anecdotal evidence from the landowner and the number of applied acres of practices expected to improve rangeland health.
Work is underway to develop a CIS for forestland Health. Forestland owners are willing to participate in an effort to improve forestland health as the decreased forest health conditions create a high risk of catastrophic wildfires. Success will be measured by the number of applied acres of practices expected to improve forest health and feedback from landowners, Oregon Department of Forestry, and NRCS foresters.

Conservation Implementation Strategy

NRCS Programs Available

Additional Conservation Resources Available

  • Bonneville Power Association
  • USDI Bureau of Land Management
  • Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District
  • North Unit Irrigation District
  • Oregon Department of Agriculture
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Oregon State University-County Extension Service
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
  • Trout Creek Watershed Council
  • Willow Creek Watershed Council
  • WyEast RC&D
  • Deschutes River Conservancy
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • USDA Forest Service

Local Work Group Updates

The Jefferson 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 Story

Pipeline Brings Water to Ranching Community

Glenn Cooper had a personal goal to bring irrigation water to the ranches of McKenzie Canyon in a naturally pressurized pipeline. He found willing and able partners for this goal in USDA-NRCS and Three Sisters Irrigation District (TSID). With the support of these partners, the participation of neighboring landowners and a little help from Mother Nature, that goal has been realized. More (HTML)...

Download a printable copy (PDF 1.17MB)

Key Words: AWEP, watershed enhancement, Deschutes Basin

For Additional Assistance Contact

Redmond Service Center
625 SE Salmon Avenue, Suite 4
Redmond, Oregon 97756-9580

NRCS District Conservationist:  Tom Bennett, (541) 923-4358 ext. 123
Jefferson County SWCD, (541) 923-4358

Carrot seed field in bloom near Madras

Carrot seed field in bloom near Madras.
Rangeland and CRP field near Haystack reservoir

Rangeland and CRP field near Haystack reservoir.