This posting of Outreach Insight is the monthly report of the Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District’s Outreach and Education Program.
Scholarship promotion continues
In just over a month, scholarship applications for the 2018-2019 school year will be due. We have worked hard to promote this scholarship throughout the county and to those from Clackamas County who may be attending out of county schools.
We have had a number of successes in getting the word out in publications including the Beavercreek Bulletin, Special Districts of Association of Oregon News, Capital Press, West Linn Tidings, Molalla Pioneer, Estacada News, Wilsonville Spokesman, and many school scholarship databases.
Just in case you haven’t heard, here are the pertinent details about the scholarship:
- Two $3,000 scholarships are available for students studying some form of agriculture, a natural resource science, or related field
- Must be a full-time student, second year or higher, and have graduated from a Clackamas County school or living in Clackamas County
- Applications must be received by April 6, 2018, by 4:30 p.m.
- You may download the application and checklist from our website
Pudding River Watershed Council Annual Meeting
We are planning to be present with a display at the Pudding River Watershed Council Annual Meeting on March 15, 2018, at Seven Brides Brewing in Silverton. The District is working with the watershed council to promote conservation practices that help reduce erosion in the Pudding River Watershed.
Erosion is often caused by soil particles that are knocked loose by raindrops and carried into streams. This increase in stream sediment smothers fish eggs and other aquatic insects that are necessary for healthy stream systems. In addition, the soil particles often have pesticides attached to them that also end up in streams, further degrading stream health.
A simple technique to reduce erosion and improve soil health is to keep the soil covered. Here are some practices that help:
- Grass field borders help filter soil from runoff water
- Cover crops that protect fallow fields
- Vegetation between crop rows
- Vegetated mid-slope buffer strips
All of these practices help to keep soil in the fields. We are helping growers hold their soil. It is precious!
New publication from Oregon Department of Agriculture
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has shared with us their new publication, “Guidelines for Stream and Ditch Maintenance”. This publication may clear up questions you may have on how to maintain ditches and not get into trouble with ODA! You may download this publication from our website.
Regional event highlights on-farm habitat
We are very excited to be assisting with the planning of an event that highlights biodiversity for better agricultural production. In June, a Yamhill County grass seed grower will open his farm for a field day featuring a number of different projects.
This grower has installed a beetle bank that is nearly 0.3 miles long. This raised area in the field is planted with bunch-forming grasses and perennial plants that will provide food for pollinators and other beneficial insects.
The bunch-grass is a great overwintering place for ground beetles. Ground beetles are predators to many crop pests and because they are generalist feeders, they will take on whatever is in their area to attack.
Also featured at the event is this grower’s participation in the Oregon Bee Project. This is a joint project between growers, the Oregon Department of Agriculture, and Oregon State University, all of whom are dedicated to finding solutions to the problems facing pollinators that work for Oregon.
And finally, the host, who is a very busy man, also works with OSU researcher Rory McDonnell to measure how far snakes (garter and some other species of non-venomous snake) travel into the grass seed field. These snakes are incredible predators of slugs! Who knew!
Slugs are a problem when growing grass seed crops. Some of Rory’s graduate students will also be on hand to talk about this project.
Events in the Queue
Here are a few events that we are in the midst of planning:
A Workshop for Horse Owners – This year we are again featuring Alayne Blickle from Horses for Clean Water in a one day workshop. This year the topics will be pasture management, horse health, and Firewise property management. The workshop will take place on May 5, 2018. Look for registration information in the near future.
GardenPalooza – Plans are coming together for our display at the 2018 GardenPalooza held at Fir Point Farms. Our display will feature soil health in your home garden. The event will take place on April 7, 2018. Here is our booth advertisement for the GardenPalooza booth map and webpage.
Spring Septic System Workshop – This year we will once again partner with Clackamas River Water Providers, Clackamas County, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to present a workshop on septic systems. The topics include:
- how septic systems work
- operation and maintenance
- signs of failure, codes, and permits
- financial and technical assistance*
*This financial assistance portion of this workshop is focused on the Clackamas River Watershed, as that is where the grant and loan funds are designated to be spent.
The date of the event is yet to be determined, but we are hoping for mid-May.
Presentations Around the County
Oswego Lake Watershed Council State of the Watershed event
WeedWise program specialist, Jeff Lesh, participated in the event with a display and a short presentation on invasive weeds that infest the local watershed. This was the premier event for our newest WeedWise display. From conversations at this event, Jeff returned to the office and penned a well-received article on Lesser Celandine that was published in a number of local newspapers as well as on our website.
Where else might you see us?
We do our best to find outlets for conservation information we think will be helpful. The information may be found in a variety of formats in any number of locations. You never know where we will show up! This month you will find something from the District the following publications:
Beavercreek Bulletin– Look for information from our General Manager’s presentation regarding the District’s plans for building a conservation resource center at our farm property in Beavercreek. Also, find information on our upcoming scholarship opportunity, Save the Date for Small Farm School, and an advertisement for our weed wrench tool library.
The District has tools available to lend for removal of invasive plants. Read for yourself in the February edition of the Beavercreek bulletin.
- Forestry Leader– Keep an eye out for the Forestry Leader newsletter from the Clackamas County Farm Forestry Association. This newsletter keeps folks that manage woodlots, forests, or Christmas trees farms updated on events and issues. You will find our article on considering oak for areas that are not suitable for traditional forest species.
- Lake Oswego Review– This local newspaper published our article on Lesser Celandine, written by WeedWise specialist Jeff Lesh.
- Oregon Live: My Oregon City– On this site, you will also find the Lesser Celandine article and an article about the Clackamas River Invasive Species Partnership.
Pudding River Watershed Council Annual Meeting Thursday, March 15th 6 – 8 p.m. Seven Brides Brewing at 990 N. 1st St Silverton OR. Free and open to the public.
Celebrating Water Festival Tuesday, March 20th Fourth and fifth graders from across the County will be learning about water and ways to keep it clean! This event is coordinated by the Clackamas County Water Education Team of which we are a member. The event will be held at Clackamas Community College.
Tree School Saturday, March 24th Clackamas Community College Registration is open!
GardenPalooza Saturday, April 7th 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Fir Point Farms Garden & Farm Festival 14601 Arndt Road Aurora, Oregon 97002 Free and open to the public.
Wildlife-Friendly Gardening: Creating Habitat at Home Saturday, April 14th; 8:30 am – 12:30 p.m. at the Environmental Learning Center, Clackamas Community College. Class fee $20. Registration is open.
Workshop for Horse Owners Saturday, May 5th 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Molalla Adult Community Center $10 registration– Speaker: Alayne Blickle of Horses for Clean Water Registration not yet open.
New Web Posts this Month:
• The Undesirable Beauty of Lesser Celandine
• District Hosts Council of Councils
• February Invasive Weed of the Month: Scotch Broom
• Local Partners Join to Fight Invasive Weeds
• Conditional Use Approved for Conservation Resource Center
• The Prickly Thistle: A February 2018 WeedWise update