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Alder Slope Cooperative Partnership Project


Year Awarded: FY 16
USDA Funding: $1,114,000
RCPP Funding Pool: State
Project Timeline: 3 years (2016 – 2019)
Location: Wallowa County, Oregon
Lead Partner: Wallowa Soil and Water Conservation District



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Collaborating Partners:

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Oregon Water Resources Department
  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Wallowa Resources
  • Farm Conservation Alliance
  • Energy Trust
  • Private landowners

Project Summary:

This project will address irrigation efficiency and forest health in the Alder Slope area in Wallowa County. Irrigation efficiency and forest health were identified as high priorities by partners and landowners at NRCS-led Local Work Group meetings.

The irrigation portion of the project aims to increase irrigation efficiency by 15 percent, reduce water waste, and generate power in the Alder Slope geographic priority area. The first two years of the project will focus on restructuring and consolidating multiple smaller leaking pipelines into three larger, more efficient systems aligned with water rights.

The next three years will be the second phase of the irrigation project, consisting of on-farm irrigation system upgrades such as sprinkler package upgrades (flow control nozzles to regulate and provide consistent water application across the slope), upgrading from flood to sprinkler irrigation, or upgrading from wheel line/hand line sprinkler systems to a pivot sprinkler system.

Alder_Slope-100_2322By reducing the amount of flow diverted from Hurricane Creek, this project will help to improve stream conditions for bull trout and native red-band trout. The addition of micro-hydro plants will generate energy and help reduce the pressure flow needed from the great elevation change.

The forest health portion of this project will create a defensible space from wildfire between public forests and private non-industrial forest land by reducing the density of overstocked stands, manipulating fuel arrangement and forest structure, and significantly reducing the fuel load. A catastrophic fire on Alder Slope would result in negative resource impacts to forest health, soil conditions, and endangered species such as bull trout, steelhead and salmon. It is estimated that 99,000 tons of fuel will be removed. The Oregon Department of Forestry will write the fuel reduction prescriptions and oversee this portion of project. The U.S. Forest Service plans to take the same actions on federally-owned forest lands to increase the defensible space.

NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Used:

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Screening Questions

1. Does the planned system meet 65% efficiency?

2. Is the land being enrolled within the Alder Slope Geographic Priority Area?

Ranking Criteria


1. Irrigation efficiency Increase  >36% 300

2. Irrigation efficiency Increase  31-35%

3. Irrigation efficiency Increase  21-30% 225
4. Irrigation efficiency Increase  15-21% 200
5. 5+ Pipelines Consolidated 50
6. 3-4 Pipelines Consolidated 40
7. 2 or less Pipelines Consolidated 30
8. Engineering Designs finalized and approved 100

NRCS Conservation Practices:

  • Pipeline
  • Structure for Water Control
  • Irrigation Sprinkler System (Note: There is a practice cap of 1,000 feet for this practice)
  • Irrigation Water Management

Points of Contact:

Cynthia Warnock, Manager, Wallowa SWCD
Phone: 541-426-3049

NRCS Local Service Center Contact, Wallowa County