The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual report and audit for fiscal year 2015-2016 are now available. Fiscal year 2015-2016 covers the period from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.
(Oregon Revised Statute 568.580 requires soil and water conservation districts to produce an annual report: “Each year after the creation of the first board of directors at a time fixed by resolution of the board, the board, by giving due notice, shall call an annual meeting of the landowners in the district and present an annual report and audit.”)
The District’s annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 4:00 pm in the District’s conference room.
Chair Jeff Becker and General Manager Tom Salzer presented the following message at the beginning of the annual report:
Fiscal year 2015-2016 brought us new opportunities to conserve natural resources that are important to all of us.
Working closely with partners, our WeedWise staff garnered multi-year funding for the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership. This initiative is a shining example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
Our conservation planners helped implement best management practices on a variety of working lands. Projects to improve irrigation efficiency, control erosion, and enhance habitat are a few examples of our impact.
Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District continued to be a leader in the implementation of conservation actions. The Board of Directors stood up for farmland and the District sought to acquire working lands that were under threat of conversion.
Both the Board and staff continued to grow through the addition of new people to help us continue to succeed. We worked closely with our watershed council partners and farmers markets to support conserving natural resources and the good management of working lands.
We have some substantial and exciting opportunities on the horizon. Conceptual plans for a new Conservation Resource Center were completed and the District looks forward to moving this concept to reality in the next few years.
We are able to complete so much good work because of the support and cooperation of many people: customers, partners, agencies, non-profits, and businesses. We could not accomplish our mission without you and we look forward to working with you for a better Clackamas County.
We support farmland
The Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District’s Board of Directors expressed their strong support for protecting farmland in a letter delivered to Clackamas County Commissioners on June 29, 2016. In the letter the Board stated that making sure that high-value farmland and the productive soils on those farms are conserved are core issues important to Clackamas SWCD.
The District believes the County should consider the long-term value of high-value farmland when proposing changes in land use regulations. High-value farmland is an irreplaceable natural resource.
To assure that the significant economic impact provided by local farms is not forever lost, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District believes the County must:
- Focus future urban growth and non-farm land uses on lands less suitable for farming.
- Make the long-term preservation of our best farm soils and farmland a priority by providing for the permanent preservation of high value soils.
Saving water for other uses
The National Weather Service reported that the summer of 2016 was the warmest and driest in more than a decade. As our climate changes, conservation practices will be important tools to help us use our precious water resource wisely.
Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District is working with agricultural producers to reduce water usage. In the past year, producers have implemented irrigation-water-management practices and installed efficient irrigation systems.
For example, a Clackamas County berry grower converted from big gun to drip irrigation and saved 304,128 gallons per acre for the season. Additional benefits of these projects include reduced energy use, increased water availability for fish and wildlife, and reduced irrigation-induced erosion. All this with no decrease in production!
New partnership funded for invasive weed control
The Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) represents 13 public and nonprofit organizations working within the Clackamas River watershed. CRISP was formed this year to develop a comprehensive plan that sets priorities and strategies for coordinating management of invasive weeds within the Clackamas River Basin.
We’ve got a big job ahead of us to control existing weeds and to prevent new weeds from establishing
Those bucks became a reality when the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership was recently awarded funds totaling $431,250 from Portland General Electric (PGE) through the Clackamas River Hydroelectric Project Mitigation and Enhancement Fund. This award adds to $8,500 from the Bureau of Land Management, $90,000 over three years from Metro, and other contributions from CRISP partners totaling $1,168,750 to implement the CRISP plan in the Clackamas River Basin over the next five years.
The first step in this project will include asking landowners along the Clackamas River and its tributaries for permission to conduct site surveys for priority invasive weeds. The survey work will then allow the CRISP partners to coordinate invasive species treatment and restoration efforts where necessary. The treatment and restoration on a property may take several years.
Learn more about CRISP at the WeedWise website.
Weir removal…a dam good idea!
Many years ago, crews at Camp Adams installed a weir on Nate Creek in the Milk Creek Watershed to create a swimming hole for the retreat. Unfortunately, within a year the sediment buildup caused the swimming hole to become useless.
This year, the current managers of Camp Adams contacted the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District for assistance.
Jenne Reische, riparian specialist, explained that once a stream is backed up, gravel and debris that normally travels through the stream system becomes trapped. This causes the sediment to build-up behind the weir and starves the lower part of the stream of needed woody debris and spawning gravel. Removing a weir and allowing a stream to flow naturally improves fish habitat downstream. It also removes a partial fish barrier and opens up good habitat upstream.
The Camp Adams community is excited and honored to be a part of local community efforts to restore and preserve the health and vitality of the Milk Creek watershed
Additional improvements include two log jams and boulder clusters to provide places for insects to reside and young fish to rest. Crews planted native trees, shrubs, and small plants on the streamside to provide bank protection, shade, and habitat for native birds and wildlife.
“The Camp Adams community is excited and honored to be a part of local community efforts to restore and preserve the health and vitality of the Milk Creek watershed,” explained Natalie and Bob Becker, camp managers. “It is central to the mission of Camp Adams to use the natural resources of the property in ways that raise awareness of the dire need for conversations about our environment.”
Conservation call outs
This year the District completed the process to designate the Oregon white oak at 314 Pleasant Ave., Oregon City as a Heritage Tree thus protecting it from removal.
We bought the farm!
Once the resources on the Pleasant Avenue property were protected (an old well was decommissioned and an Oregon white oak tree protected) we sold the property. The proceeds from the sale went to pay off the remainder of the mortgage on the 15-acre farm in Beavercreek.
This property is the planned location for the District’s new Conservation Resource Center.
Barnyards and Birkenstocks
We were pleased to host an evening with Don Stuart, the author of Barnyards and Birkenstocks: Why Farmers and Environmentalists Need Each Other. Stuart’s goal is to promote empathy between farmers and environmentalists to further conservation activities and the economic viability of both groups.
Supporting future conservationists
The District awarded two $2,000 scholarships this year. Our recipients were Sonya Templeton, a senior this fall at Oregon State University, studying natural resources, and Julia Barnes, a junior this fall also at Oregon State University, studying animal science.
Demonstration Day at the Farm…pie anyone?
Staff and board members hosted a day of good old-fashioned fun at the Beavercreek Farm! Activities included a demonstration of horse-drawn farm implements and display of heritage-breed farm animals, including San Clemente Island goats and Ancona Ducks. And we served delicous pie and ice cream!
- 49.3 acres of trees/shrubs planted for wildlife habitat (riparian, upland, and oak prairie)
- 1 weir removed and 200 square feet of stream habitat restored
- 2 watering facilities, 1 composting facility, and 1 heavy use area installed
- 4 micro-irrigation conversion projects covering 125 acres
- Average of 41% annual water savings on each irrigation project
- 4,400 feet exclusion fencing installed
- 486 households contacted about invasive species
- 191 weed surveys conducted totalling 1,548 acres
- 297 invasive weed treatments completed totalling 2,328 acres
- 989 valid landowner permissions, 2,020 parcels with cooperators totalling 12,895 acres
- 7 events hosted or co-hosted with information for landowners
- 30 events where we had a display with information for landowners
- 18 speaking opportunities for District staff to share information
- 2 opportunities to bring Claudia Chinook to our county for habitat awareness
- $213,198 invested in 20 grant and cost-share agreements for 12 conservation projects
- $48,804 for four conservation loans to landowners
- $189,331 for 25 conservation grants to partner organizations
- $173,669 for abatement of invasive weeds
Financial summary and conservation investments
This year our program responded to the ever changing needs in our community. $625,745 from the Conservation Fund was applied to on-the-ground conservation projects and to support conservation partners in Clackamas County! View our budget documents online at https://conservationdistrict.org/tag/budget
Recognizing two board members
District Board director reaches 10 years of service
Director Joan Zuber was honored in May 2016 for serving as a District Board Director since May 2006.
She represents the citizens of Zone 4 (southern Clackamas County) and was most recently re-elected to her position in 2014.
In her tenure with the District, she has seen the development of farmers market and watershed council partnership support grants, greatly expanded staff service, and many meaningful on-the-ground projects around the County that have contributed significantly to conservation preservation and restoration.
She credits strong leadership from the District’s general manager and a solid tax base for the District’s growth and success.
Thank you Director Zuber!
District Welcomes New Board Chair
Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District welcomes Jeff Becker, Director from Zone 3, as the District’s new board Chair.
Becker was elected by the board at the June 16, 2016 meeting to serve as board Chair during the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Chair Becker follows Ron Oberg, Director from Zone 2, who led the board of directors since June 2012.
Chair Becker joined the Clackamas Soil and Water District Board of Directors in February 2014 after serving as both an associate board member and budget committee member. He is a local farmer in Carus and property manager of the President’s residence at Lewis & Clark College.
A graduate of University of Oregon with a degree in business, as well as an accomplished guitarist and song-writer, Becker has long been interested in local food and conservation issues.
Welcome Chair Becker!
New associate director appointed
This year the Board of Directors made an addition to their group of advisors. Associate Director Mark Sytsma is a Professor of Environmental Sciences, Associate Vice President for Research at PSU, the director of the Center for Lakes and Reservoirs, and co-director of the Aquatic Bioinvasion Research and Policy Institute.
He brings to the District board deep expertise on aquatic invasive species and lake management.
New staff and a promotion
We are happy to announce that we added two conservation specialists and an administrative assistant to the District team this year. We also promoted an employee. These changes were all made with a focus on improving our service to constituents.
Scott Eden, Conservation Specialist
Scott Eden has spent over 20 years in the conservation field. He is an experienced biologist with an undergraduate degree in biology from Oregon State University.
His twelve years at Marion SWCD as a Resource Conservationist provided him with ongoing opportunities to refine his skills in a variety of disciplines including soils and hydrology. His expertise is a welcome and valued asset to our organization and to the citizens we serve.
Nicole Ahr, Conservation Specialist
Nicole Ahr is another valuable addition to the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District team.
Nicole is an experienced biologist with a bachelors degree in biology from University of Oregon and a masters degree in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University.
Much of Nicole’s professional focus has been on wildlife habitat, including on-the-ground projects as well as data analysis and statistical modeling.
Tami Guttridge, Administrative Assistant
Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District is pleased to welcome Tami Guttridge to our conservation support staff.
Tami capably handles the behind-the-scenes details that help make the District so successful.
She brings over 30 years of administrative experience to our office, keeping us moving in the right direction. Since joining the District, Tami has helped improve the organization in the workplace, and that helps us be more effective when serving customers.
Jason Faucera, Conservation Planning Program Manager
As the District continues to expand our service to customers we found a need for better coordination. We solved this by promoting Jason Faucera to Conservation Planning Program Manager.
Jason has been with the District since 2009 as a conservation planner.
The focus of Jason’s new position is two fold. He will coordinate the District’s conservation planners for the more effective delivery of service to our customers. He will also continue to improve our Conservation Activity Tracking System (CATS) to help streamline our service to customers.
Board of Directors: FY 2015-2016
The lists of board members below present their positions at the end of fiscal year 2015-2016. View the current composition of the Board at: https://conservationdistrict.org/about/directors.
- Jesse Nelson – Zone 1 – Treasurer
- Ron Oberg – Zone 2 – Member
- Jeff Becker – Zone 3 – Chair
- Joan Zuber – Zone 4 – Vice Chair
- Don Guttridge – Zone 5 – Secretary
- Jan Lee – At Large – Member
- Roger Fantz – At Large – Member
- Lowell Hanna
- Jim Johnson
- PK Melethil
- Mark Sytsma
- Jim Toops
Director Emeritus: FY 2015-2016
- Michael Weinberg
Staff: FY 2015-2016
Find the current list of staff and contact information for them at: https://conservationdistrict.org/about/district-staff.
- Nicole Ahr -Conservation Specialist
- Jeremy Baker – Conservation Specialist
- Scott Eden – Conservation Specialist
- Jason Faucera – Conservation Planning Program Manager
- Doug Fenwick – Adjunct Engineering Technician
- Tami Guttridge – Administrative Assistant
- Sarah Hamilton – WeedWise Specialist
- Lisa Kilders – Education and Outreach Program Mgr, Asst Mgr
- Clair Klock – Senior Resource Conservationist
- Sam Leininger – WeedWise Program Manager
- Jeff Lesh – WeedWise Specialist
- Cathy McQueeney – Education and Outreach Specialist
- Eann Rains – Conservation Investments Program Coordinator
- Jenne Reische – Riparian Specialist
- Tom Salzer – General Manager