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Dairy-McKay Degraded Riparian Ecosystems Project


Year Awarded: FY 16
USDA Funding: $936,052
RCPP Funding Pool: National
Project Timeline: 5 years (2016 - 2021)
Location: Washington County, Oregon
Lead Partner: Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District



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Collaborating Partners:

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Clean Water Services
  • Farm Service Agency
  • Private landowners

Project Summary:

This project aims to improve water quality, increase irrigation efficiencies, and restore stream habitat for fish and wildlife in the Dairy-McKay and Middle Tualatin watersheds, sub-watersheds of the Tualatin River Watershed in Washington County, Oregon. These sub-watersheds were identified as priority areas for conservation by the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) and local partners.

The project’s objectives are to:

  1. Establish riparian forest buffers along 20 miles of priority stream reaches bordering agricultural lands in the project area by 2021;
  2. Improve irrigation water use efficiency on 170 acres along priority stream reaches in the project area by 2021;
  3. Decrease manure runoff from five livestock operations in the project area by 2021;
  4. Restore 20 acres of wetland in floodplain sites bordering priority stream reaches by 2021.


The project builds on 10 years of previous work by the Tualatin SWCD and partners to restore 39 miles of stream throughout the larger watershed, in coordination with more than 70 private landowners. The Tualatin SWCD and partners engaged the local sewer management agency, Clean Water Services (CWS), which provides additional incentives to rural landowners who install riparian forest buffers along streams. These additional incentives provide CWS with shade credits toward their temperature permit with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.

The Dairy-McKay Degraded Riparian Ecosystems RCPP project pairs these existing CWS incentives with other USDA programs. The result is a unique combination of USDA, state and local programs to address natural resource problems with strong support from the community, a scientifically valid prioritization process, a talented staff, and the use of natural resource (temperature) credits.

NRCS Financial Assistance Programs Used:

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)
  • Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
  • Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) – Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE)

Screening Questions

1.     Are the practices proposed for the EQIP contract inside the EQIP priority area?

2.     Does at least one tract proposed for the EQIP contract include a perennial, priority stream reach?

3.     If the EQIP contract will include irrigation practices, will those practices increase System Efficiency by 15% or more, as calculated by the NRCS Irrigation Water Savings Estimator?

4.     If the EQIP contract will include irrigation practices, will those practices result in an Annual Water Savings Estimate of at least 15%, as calculated by the NRCS Irrigation Water Savings Estimator?

5.     If the EQIP contract will include irrigation practices, does the existing irrigation system pump water directly from a priority stream reach?

Ranking Criteria

1. Did the applicant complete a farm inventory packet prior to the application deadline?

2. Will the contract include Field Border (386), Filter Strip (393), Riparian Forest Buffer (391) and/or Tree/shrub Establishment (612) planted as buffers along streams or ditches?

3. Will the contract include a Fence (382) installed to protect a riparian area from livestock grazing?
4. Bonus if buffers are at least 30 feet wide, will use entirely native vegetation, and will be installed along at least 50% of priority stream reaches in the tracts enrolled.
5. Bonus if tract is enrolled in Tualatin SWCD’s VEGBAC Program.
6. Will the EQIP contract convert at least one field from sprinkler to micro-irrigation, linear move or center pivot irrigation?
7. Will the applicant apply for an instream water lease in conjunction with contracted irrigation practices?
8. Will the contract include Waste Storage Facility (313), Composting Facility (317), Roofs and Covers (367), Roof Runoff Structure (558) and/or Heavy Use Protection (561) to reduce risk of manure runoff on a livestock farm?
9. Is the project adjacent to another NRCS or partner conservation project?

NRCS Conservation Practices:

  • Riparian forest buffer
  • Tree/shrub site preparation
  • Tree/shrub establishment
  • Conservation cover
  • Field border
  • Filter strip
  • Herbaceous weed control
  • Brush management
  • Fence
  • Livestock watering facility
  • Livestock pipeline
  • Livestock water pumping plant (solar)
  • Integrated pest management
  • Waste storage facilities
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP)
  • Roof runoff structure
  • Underground outlet
  • Micro-irrigation system
  • Sprinkler Irrigation system (Center pivot, Linear move, or wheel line)
  • Irrigation pipeline,
  • Pumping plant
  • Structure for water control (fish screen)
  • Irrigation water management

Points of Contact:

Lacey Townsend, Executive Director, Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District
Phone: 503-334-2288 x102

NRCS Local Service Center Contact: Washington County