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Oregon's Conservation Showcase

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Read about Oregon farmers and ranchers who are embracing voluntary conservation to protect the natural resources on their land.

View the stories on our Conservation Showcase interactive map.

You may also access the individual Conservation Showcase stories through the links below.

Recently Published Success Stories from Oregon

Nick and Bella

Resurrecting the Lost Art of Farming

Location: Coos County

Nick Kelly owns and operates Black Moon Farms. Through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Kelly utilizes cross-fencing and is installing a seasonal high tunnel.

Painted Hills

New Kiosk Highlights Steelhead Conservation Success in John Day's Painted Hills

Location: John Day's Painted Hills

In January 2021, NRCS Oregon and several partners installed a new kiosk at the John Day Painted Hills National Monument.
A field of Bradshaw's lomatium

Public/Private Partnerships Restore Willamette Valley Wildlife Habitat

Location: Willamette Valley

Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service join forces with private landowners to help at-risk species.

Lee and Shirley Own and Operate Bogwood

Linn County Tree Farmers of the Year Transform the Forest

Location: Linn County

Ten years ago, the 80-acre property near Scio, Ore., affectionately named “Bogwood” by current owners Lee Peterman and Shirley Jolliff, looked very different.

2019 Sunset on Cereal Rye in East Field 2 cropped

Success in the Soil on Garnetts Red Prairie Farm

Location: Yamhill County

Converting to organic means investing in the soil for the Garnett family. New to farming, the Garnetts have begun the process of converting to organic with help from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Organic Initiative.

William and Susan Worden
 
Location: Deschutes County
 
For Bill and Susan Worden, sustainability is more than a concept; it’s a quality of life that guides the management of their land, helping to ensure their property can be enjoyed for years to come.
 
Lisa Worchester Profile Pic

Conserving Water and Power through Irrigation Water Management

Location: Deschutes County

In the heart of the Three Sisters Irrigation District lies an area spotted with several small farms that produce hay under the clicking sounds of impact sprinklers. On one such farm lives Lisa Worcester, Who raises horses and produces hay.  For Lisa, irrigating is not just a process of applying water to plants; it is a science of determining the right amount of water needed for the crop.

Charlie Barlow - Farmer, Fletcher Gulch Watershed

Restoring Clean Water in the Fletcher Gulch Watershed

Location: Malheur County

For the past two decades, farmers in the Fletcher Gulch Watershed worked with multiple government agencies to address a serious problem in their watershed: cleaning up the water. This grassroots effort gained momentum thanks to the Barlow Family, specifically Mike Barlow who had a vision for modernizing aging irrigation infrastructure in the community.

Aaron Roth and Pat Voigt with cut juniper

Improving Mule Deer Habitat, One Juniper at a Time

Location: Grant County

In Grant County, Oregon—like many communities across the West—juniper encroachment has created several challenges for natural resource managers.

One of those challenges is losing winter habitat for mule deer.

“Western juniper encroachment on forests and grazed rangelands is a major contributor to the loss of critical grasses, forbs, and shrubs that are important to mule deer,” said Aaron Roth, District Conservationist for Grant County with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Close up of biocharred wood

Innovations in Biochar

Location: Douglas, Josephine and Jackson counties

It started as a backyard hobby fueled by curiosity in rural Southwest Oregon....and just three years later, it transformed into a new conservation approach that forest owners all over the country can use with financial assistance from USDA.

Biochar is a modern technology that returns carbon to the soil in the form of long-lasting charcoal. It’s made by baking biomass (such as tree wood, plants, manure, and other organic materials) without the oxygen that could cause it to burn completely to ash.

In Oregon, innovations in biochar for agricultural use have taken off, thanks to a Conservation Innovation Grant funded by the Oregon USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Bradshaw Drop Pipeline Photo - Jackson County

Partner Success Story - Bradshaw Drop Irrigation Project

Location: Jackson County

In 2018 Rogue River Valley Irrigation District (RRVID) embarked on its largest project in recent history. The Hopkins Canal Pipeline Project met its goal in 2019 to pipe over 3 miles of open canal to save water instream for fish habitat, replace aging irrigation infrastructure, to allow for more efficient conveyance of irrigation water to Agate Lake and the rest of the RRVID patrons, and to provide pressurized water to over 700 acres of farmland East of White City, in Jackson County, Oregon.

Parsons CREP

Conserving Water for Farmers & Fish on the Grande Ronde

Location: Union County

Getting Conservation on-the-ground through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Thanks to funding from USDA's Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), local partners have ramped up assistance to farmers and ranchers in the Grande Ronde River Watershed. Their overarching goal is to help private landowners maximize water efficiency for local agriculture while also improving salmon habitat.

View of field from drone with truck

Birds Eye View: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) save staff time & tax dollars to achieve conservation compliance

Location: Various Counties in Eastern Oregon

Thanks to innovative partnerships at NRCS Oregon, employees and partners have developed a solution to conducting Highly Erodible Lands (HEL) compliance reviews that saves time and money, while strategically focusing on the part of Oregon that experiences the most HEL reviews.

This new approach uses Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly referred to as UAVs or drones, to gather high-resolution photographs remotely. NRCS staff review the pictures from their office computers to determine compliance.

Cows Grazing at Southworth Bros Ranch

Grounded in Principle, Oregon ranchers maximize soil health on grazing lands

Location: Grant, Baker and Ontario counties

With innovation comes risk. Trying something new can be uncertain and scary, especially when your livelihood depends on it. But for several Oregon ranchers, their appetite for innovation is creating positive change to revive the land, bolster production, and maximize profits.

Students and Jeremy Ojua, Grand Ronde camas

Grande Ronde Invests in Youth

Location: Marion and Polk counties

Children, from the Grand Ronde Chinuk Wawa language class, cluster around raised beds at the native plant nursery. Jeremy Ojua, nursery supervisor, asks students “who knows what camas is”? About half the students wave raised hands.

Burns Paiute

Burns Paiute: A Commitment to Habitat Renewal with Aid of USDA

Location: Harney County

USDA is dedicated to working with the Burns Paiute tribe to manage land with cultural significance while protecting and enhancing wildlife and fisheries in eastern Oregon.

Dam rehab in Middle Fork Irrigation District

Dam Rehab & Water Conservation in the Middle Fork Irrigation District

Location: Hood River County

Middle Fork Irrigation District (MFID) is working with the NRCS through its Watershed Rehabilitation Program to modernize Clear Branch Dam to meet current engineering and dam safety standards for earthquakes, public safety and water quality.

Soil in hands in the shape of a heart.

Grow and Tell: Oregon Microbe Farmer

Location: Multnomah County

Oregon farmer Jen Aron knows a secret - if you feed soil microbes, they'll help your plants grow. Learn how Jen takes care of her microbes, and how they take care of her plants.

Wheeler County Creeks to Peaks

Wheeler County Partners Restoring Creeks to Peaks, Boosting Rural Economy

Location: Wheeler County

Using a ridgetop-to-ridgetop approach, private landowners and conservation partners are maximizing water availability across the landscape to benefit people, agriculture, fish and wildlife, and the local economy.

Eleanor Fitzgerald, Josheph Utley, her son, and Colin McKenzie, her nephew, stand on a dusty outcrop among sage and bitterbrush.

Heart of the Desert

Location: Lake County

Even during the driest parts of the year, Fitzgerald Ranch can rely on the good grass down in the meadow for their cattle. That's thanks to conservation efforts designed to benefit sage grouse. Proving what's good for the bird is good for the herd.

Newt Hunting

A Shared Passion for Conservation

Location: Benton County

University students from Mexico toured oak woodland restoration projects with Oregon NRCS.

Oregon Vienyard

 

Oregon Vineyard Abuzz with Pollinators

Location: Polk County

From atop a hill at Illahe Winery, looking down across 80 acres of lush vineyards, there’s more to generate a buzz than just the wine.

Oregon Success Story Archives by Topic

Air Quality

Easements

Engineering

Fish/Salmon Habitat

Forestry

Oak Restoration

Pasture

Rangeland

Seasonal High Tunnels / Organic

Small Farms

Soil Health

Tribal Stories

Water Quality and Quantity