Tag Archives | rural

How to Collect Water Samples for Nitrate Screening

Glass_Jar_svg_hiIt’s easy to properly collect water samples for nitrate screening:

  • Collect about a cup of water in a clean container. A glass jar is preferred but other containers will work fine, too.
  • The water sample should be collected before any treatment devices (such as water softeners, disinfection units, or faucet filters) change the water.
  • Run the water for 3 to 5 minutes before collecting the sample to flush out all the water in the plumbing. This ensures the water sample collected is representative of water in the well.

Nitrate screening is intended for testing water from private wells that provide domestic water to your household. Even though our screening is less accurate than a lab test, it will still give you a good idea of the nitrate level in your water. For most households, this result is all you need.

If you receive your drinking water from a public water system and want to know the nitrate levels in your water, contact your water provider. (The name of your water provider can be found on your most recent water bill.) Public water systems are required to sample and test for contamination on a regular basis, and they must report the results to their consumers. Get the most recent “Consumer Confidence Report” for your water system from your water provider.

Local Landowner Selected as Oregon Cooperator of the Year

Toops Family – Oregon Cooperators of the Year

Molalla-area landowners Jim and Mary Toops were recognized by the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) as their statewide Cooperator of the Year in the less-than-50-acres category. The award recognizes individuals for their exemplary support of the conservation goal of the organization, to promote the conservation and wise use of Oregon’s natural resources.

Jim and Mary accepted their honor this week in Eugene at the OACD annual meeting and conference.

The Toops purchased their property along the Molalla River and Woodcock Creek in 2004, with a lofty vision for the fifteen acres of pasture that was then almost entirely dominated by blackberries and scotch broom. Their goal was to raise a few head of cattle and bring the property back to it’s natural beauty.

Along the way, Jim and Mary received assistance from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District. These organizations assisted in riparian restoration, habitat development, rotational grazing, invasive weed control, fencing and mud management.

Follow-up visits to evaluate the riparian buffer plantings have revealed proof of the hard work and extra care this couple give to their projects. Almost all of the trees they planted survived, and wildlife habitat boxes — including those for birds, mason bees, and bats — were all in use.

“Whatever Jim and Mary set their mind to, they achieve,” remarked Jenne Reische, riparian planner for the Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District. “They seem to have conservation in their blood and any ideas that we discuss get quickly implemented with enthusiasm and care for the land.”

Our planners have enjoyed working with these cooperators, and we are very proud their hard work was recognized by the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts for their caring stewardship of natural resources.

Our warm congratulations go to Jim and Mary Toops!

Small Farm School Registration is Open!

Registration is open for the first annual Small Farm School on September 8, 2012 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at Clackamas Community College in Oregon City.

Small Farm School is an all-day event for beginning farmers and small acreage landowners. Field and classroom workshops will address small farm topics such as crop and livestock production, direct marketing, small-scale equipment, and soil and water conservation. This promises to be a great opportunity to learn, network and have fun!

OSU has information available online, including the complete program and workshop descriptions and the registration form. Registration includes lunch.

Attendance is limited, so secure your space today!

Hosted by

This event is hosted by OSU Extension, Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, and Clackamas Community College.

We hope to see you there, please pass the word along.

Help spread the word

Download the flyer and share our Facebook post to help spread the word!


Board of Directors tour, February 28, 2012

Last Tuesday we brought our Board of Directors to two project sites, one on Milk Creek (a tributary to the Molalla River) and the other an area of mixed commercial and urban uses that drains to the Willamette River.

Milk Creek is eroding the banks at our project site, and fish habitat is impaired. Historically, splash dams were used on Milk Creek to transport logs downstream. This practice probably scoured the creek to bedrock many years ago, flushing gravel and woody material out of the system. Our goals at Milk Creek are to move the thalweg away from the eroding bank and add a substantial amount of dead and growing wood to the system. This will reduce bank erosion and restore vital habitat for salmonids.

The mixed use area is near the Prairie View development between Aurora and Wilsonville. This area used to be farmed, and now has some industrial properties, commercial nurseries, a golf course, and housing developments. If you picture a watershed as a bathtub, the housing development sits at the bathtub drain when excess water runs off land located uphill. The Clackamas County SWCD is collaborating with landowners to find solutions to erosion and runoff issues.

Get started on your own!

This information comes directly from the Oregon office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. We’ve copied it here for your convenience, but feel free to go to the source. STEPS for Healthy & Sustainable Rural Living on […]