Union County - Information for Partners and Participants
Major crops in the Grande Ronde Valley (mint, wheat, grass seed, and alfalfa).
Union County is located in northeast Oregon and is composed of three distinct physiographic areas. The 450 square mile Grande Ronde Valley is in the center of the county flanked by the Blue Mountains to the west and the Wallowa Mountains to the east. The four major drainages in the county are the Grande Ronde River, the Minam River, Catherine Creek and the Powder River. Union county covers 1,300,480 acres. Fifty percent of the county is publicly owned. Land uses include approximately 141,000 acres of cropland of which 63,000 acres are irrigated, 258,000 acres of pasture or rangeland, 121,000 acres of non-industrial private forest land and 115,000 acres of private industrial forestland. The NRCS office is located in La Grande. The NRCS staff provides technical assistance and administers NRCS financial assistance conservation programs.
NRCS Local Conservation Activities and Strategies
The NRCS in Union County works voluntarily with private land owners and cooperatively with partners to strategically address priority natural resource concerns.
Priority natural resource strategies to address natural resource concerns include:
- Water quality and quantity-
- Irrigation water management and irrigation system improvements on cropland in priority watersheds to address resource concerns, primarily inefficient use of irrigation water, water quality, energy consumption and low stream flows.
- Forestland Health-
- Forest stand improvement in priority watersheds to address resource concerns, primarily overstocked tree densities and unsuited species composition leading to disease, pest infestations and potential catastrophic wildfire.
NRCS Programs Available
Additional Conservation Resources Available
The NRC works cooperatively with a variety of partners including:
- Union Soil and Water Conservation District
- Farm Service Agency
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Oregon Department of Agriculture
- Oregon Department of Forestry
- Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
- Oregon State University Extension
- Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
- Bureau of Reclamation
- Grande Ronde Model Watershed
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Funding is now available to improve forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire on your land through active forest management.
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 Union 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.
Clickable Map of SNOTEL Sites
For Additional Assistance Contact
La Grande Service Center
1901 Adams Avenue, Suite 6
La Grande, OR 97850
NRCS District Conservationist: Mike Burton: (541) 963-4178
Union County SWCD: (541) 963-1313
Water for irrigation and critical fish populations is stored in the snowpack of the Wallowa mountains.
The Grande Ronde Valley is completely surrounded by mountains and is the largest such agricultural valley in the northern hemisphere.