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Marion SWCD Fall Newsletter

Amy Boyd joined our team in August as our
new District Manager.
Amy has worked primarily in small communities in southwest Washington before joining the District and is excited to meet and work with the small and large communities of Marion County.  Her previous work has included planning, salmon recovery, public works, and forest and development policy. Amy has completed her project management professional certification and is completing a master’s degree in environmental law.

Amy’s family is moving from their small farm in Washington into Salem. They have Scottish Highland cattle and a couple of horses, and look forward to getting chickens and turkeys back on the farm after they relocate. Amy has been a longtime Grange member at Grays River Grange in Washington and is looking forward to joining MacLeay Grange this fall. Her family enjoys traveling the desert Southwest.
Amy with her youngest daughter near Fields, OR.
Focus Area: Headwaters Pudding River
by Mark Akimoff
Part of the SWCD’s ongoing partnership with the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) involves working to solve natural resource concerns within Agricultural Water Quality Management Areas (AWQMA). The Marion SWCD works within the AWQMA known as the Molalla-Pudding-French Prairie-North Santiam Area Plan. The area encompasses a lot of the district where we put conservation measures on the ground. To better gauge the effectiveness of the work going on in management areas, we will break down the larger area into smaller watershed units called Focus Areas. For the next several years, our focus area will be the headwaters of the Pudding River.
Irrigation Efficiency
by Mark Akimoff
After this long, hot summer, the first of the fall rains has finally come to green things up again. It was a historically hot summer, perhaps the hottest ever seen on record. It brought a lot of concerns from local farmers about how to keep crop production up in the face of worsening drought conditions. Irrigated agriculture consumes the largest portion of the United States’ water resources. It is estimated that globally over 2 quadrillion gallons of water are used in agricultural production annually. That is a really, really big number — so big in fact It’s hard even to wrap your head around it. A quadrillion is a million billion. Imagine a billion and then multiply it by a million, and that’s the amount we are talking about here. Of that 2 quadrillion gallons that is used every year around the globe, about 40% is lost to the environment through inefficient irrigation systems, evaporation, or poor water management.
Conservation Podcasts
by Jenny Ammon

Starting back in February 2021 with featured guest board chair Terry Hsu, Marion SWCD ventured into the world of podcasting with the willing and talented partner KMUZ Willamette Wake Up. On the third Wednesday of every month, Marion SWCD shares a half-hour segment titled “Conservation Spotlight” on the Willamette Wake Up program. The podcast method is not a “normal” mode of outreach for Soil and Water Conservation Districts, so this opportunity was a welcome answer to the question of how to reach our Marion County residents during a pandemic.
Salmon Watch - LIVE!
by Jenny Ammon
It was with some tribulation, excitement, anxiety, and hope that Marion SWCD decided to host Salmon Watch 2021. There are constantly changing rules, guidelines, and stipulations while working with schools, school districts, teachers, and students. It was this landscape of unknowns that made the need for connection to nature paramount for Salmon Watch 2021 to happen live and in person. 

Safety and following the guidelines are important to Marion SWCD, and communicating these is a priority between the SWCD and the schools/teachers. We held a volunteer training to discuss the masking, distancing, and sanitizing protocols prior to our first field trip on September 14.
First Friday Update
by Jenny Ammon

I would like to invite you to close your eyes and imagine a room filled with people who are excited to learn about regional programs that can increase knowledge and implementation of conservation on the land. Now, open your senses to the smell the fresh coffee brewing and the sweet hint of cinnamon from the warm, freshly baked apple cider donuts, compliments of EZ Orchards. Finally, feel the energy in the room fill with hope and enthusiasm for the guest speaker brought to you by the Marion Soil and Water Conservation District.  This dream was made possible by the original First Friday programs in 2018. 

We have shifted our methods from cozy coffee and yummy donuts at the office to convenient home- brewed coffee and house slippers in your location of choice.  First Fridays have become a mainstay in our adult learner programs, and we feel the safest choice is to continue to offer this program online as we enter fall/winter 2021/2022.

Pick up at Bauman Farms March 11  & 12 by appointment
Wildfire Revegetation and Native Plants
by Jenny Meisel
  • Why native plants? Native plants have several benefits:
  • Native plants provide food and shelter for wildlife and pollinators, and they are usually easy to grow.
  • Native plants are adapted to the local climate and soils, and can tolerate the cool, wet winters and warm dry summers we have in the Willamette Valley.
  • They do not require added fertilizers, and once established after a year or two of summer watering (if possible), they rarely need supplemental water.
  • Native plants are beautiful and are naturally resistant to many diseases and pest problems.

Here is a short list of native trees, shrubs and ground-cover/flowering plants for areas burned in the Beachie Creek Fire.  The lists are separated into plants for upland areas (away from water) and stream side areas (near a water source).

Beachie Creek Fire Update

by Jenny Meisel

Amid all the devastation and destruction caused by the Beachie Creek Fire in 2020, the land is slowly beginning to heal and recover. Almost everywhere you go there are signs of native plants coming back.  Seeing so many native plants beginning to re-sprout and re-generate is proof that these plants are resilient, and we will see a thriving native plant community once again in the Santiam Canyon.  Within 1 month after the fire, native plants were already beginning to show signs of recovery, and today some plants have put on almost 10 feet of growth! 

Native Bramble Identification
by Sarah Hamilton

Brambles are the tangled, prickly shrubs and canes commonly found in the Rubus genus. Oregon has a number of native, agricultural, and invasive Rubus, of which Armenian (Himalayan) blackberry (R. bifrons) is just one.

Our native Rubus provide flowers for pollinators, food and refuge for birds, bears, and other wildlife (and people), and stabilize soils along streams and on steep hillsides. They can be found in a wide range of environments: from open disturbed lands to old growth understories; full-shade to full-sun; and moist to droughty areas.
Invasive blackberries, on the other hand, are incredibly aggressive and form impenetrable thickets. While invasive Rubus does provide food for pollinators and birds, larger wildlife are impeded by the strong prickly canes, the aggressive growth decreases biodiversity in invaded ecosystems, and the dense thickets can even contribute to erosion.

It’s important to know how to tell invasive blackberries from native Rubus when you’re controlling blackberries on your property.  Contact the Marion SWCD at 503-391-9927 for assistance.
That’s why Marion SWCD developed this easy guide to identifying some of the common Rubus of the Willamette Valley.
Find it on our website here!
Copyright © 2021 Marion Soil and Water Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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