Council of Councils Supports Clackamas Watershed Councils

The Clackamas River provides drinking water to nearly 300,000 people.

The Clackamas River provides drinking water to nearly 300,000 people.

Clackamas County is home to nine different watershed councils. These councils exists wholly or partially within the Clackamas SWCD service area and they are highly valued partners. Directors and coordinators representing all nine watershed councils in Clackamas County attended a Council of Councils meeting on November 14, 2023 at the Conservation Resource Center.

District staff member Cathy McQueeney represented the Clackamas SWCD. The event was organized and facilitated by Asako Yamamuro with Molalla River Watch and Tom Gaskill of the Greater Oregon City Watershed Council.

What is the purpose of the Council of Councils?

The Council of Councils provides the group with an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues who represent watersheds in all areas of the District. Additionally, participants have the chance to get acquainted with new leaders and discuss creative opportunities to partner together to achieve shared goals.

Molalla River near Canby

What was discussed at the meeting?

Brian Wolcott was a guest presenter at the November meeting. Wolcott is the Water Acquisitions and Capacity Coordinator for the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB). He also coordinates OWEB’s SWCD and Watershed Council Capacity grant offerings. Wolcott was brought in to discuss ways to increase retention at a small non-profit. He also had advice for how to advocate for staff, including themselves as directors or coordinators, and shared methods to increase funding.

Daniel Newberry, with the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, noted that retention can be strongly influenced by three things:

  • Compensation – is often limited in non-profits.
  • Organizational culture – What can we offer people in terms of a career path? We can offer a variety of experiences to help keep staff growing and engaged. We can create an environment where they want to stay, especially after their first year. Take time to express appreciation and recognition publicly. Offer opportunities to attend conferences and trainings and to allow staff to pursue project and interests that they personally value.
  • Benefits – Where possible, offer flexibility in the position with flexible hours or schedule. Explore growing capacity and funding for special interests of staff.

Watershed Councils Are Valued Partners with the District

McQueeney, with Clackamas SWCD, shared that the District’s annual Watershed Council Support Grants Applications had been sent out and that the application deadline is December 1, 2023. Awarded funds can be used for staffing, training, education and outreach, and other needs the councils might have. These are items that are not typically covered by grant funding for specific projects that the councils receive from other sources.
Council leaders also shared other ways in which they have developed or strengthened partnerships with one another, including:
  • joining forces to apply for grants
  • sharing staff
  • serving together on regional projects like the Clackamas Partnership
  • collaborating on Watershed Wide events like plantings, clean-ups, and weed pulls
  • providing education and outreach resources
There were many examples shared over the course of the meeting that proved the old adage “Together We’re Better!”
2019 OWEB Map for Clackamas County

OWEB Map for Clackamas County

Our Watershed Council Partners Include:

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Clackamas SWCD