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Marion SWCD Fall 2020 Newsletter

Preparing homes for wildfire

Fire resistant landscape plants for the Willamette Valley: 
There’s even an app for this publication!!

Fire Resistance Plants for Home Landscapes:
Not sure what creek runs through your property?

We can help you figure it out and we want to help keep your waterway clean.   We have technical and grant assistance for landowners who want to install cover crop, conservation cover, field borders, filter strips and grass waterways to keep soil in its place.

If you live near Sublimity, Stayton, Aumsville, or Turner by a waterway you may be on the north fork, south fork or the main stem of Mill Creek, Salem ditch, Beaver Creek, McKinney Creek, Porter Creek, Shelton Ditch, Highberger Ditch, or the Perrin Lateral drain?
All these waterways are in the Mill Creek Watershed,
where we are working right now.

September, October and even November are great months to plant cover crop, or a conservation cover.  If you would like to learn the name of your creek, learn about conservation planning, want technical or financial assistance to keep your waterway clean, give us a call at Marion SWCD at (503) 391.9927.
Marion SWCD: 503-391-9927 or
Keep on Truckin’
Jenny Ammon, Marion SWCD Natural Resource Educator

Time has taken on a different feeling during the pandemic.  It feels like days morph into one another since there is no marked day of the week.  Since families, employers and educators are all in this ‘adaptive management approach’ for the foreseeable future we want to share some of the exciting things we have done during this long strange trip called Corona Summer 2020.  

Marion Soil and Water Conservation District was prepared to offer summer programming for youth and families, native plant walks, and Saturday education at the Salem Farmers Market.  No new news here, our plans changed. Nonetheless, we are pushing forward with educational online events and programming for comprehensive distance learning and continue to offer our program bin educational efforts in person following all current guidelines for safety.
Conservation Stewards:  The Jorgensons
Conservation Stewards are people just like you and me. People who work the land, live in Marion county, and in the Mill Creek watershed--that’s all the land that drains down into Mill creek. What makes them conservation stewards is this; they are saving soil and water, right now, for the next generation.

John and Vicki worked to improve soil health and create wildlife and pollinator habitat on their 2 acres just outside of Salem.  They added 40 cubic yards of organic matter a year for 10+ years to build their soil! They now have an over-abundance of native plants that they give away and sell, and “our bird list went from 50 to over 90, pollinators abound, and deer come every day and eat all they want, and we barely notice.  The process also taught us a bit about weeds as well.  Words of wisdom -   IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SOIL!”

Thank you John and Vicki! You  too can be a conservation steward, just contact the Marion SWCD at 503-391-9927.

Soil Carbon & Cover Crops

Brandon Bishop, carbon life form

Why is Carbon so important to Soil and how do cover crops play and role?

Carbon is a very common element found in many living and non-living things throughout our world. It also provides amazing positive effects to your soil. Soil with high carbon levels are more resilient to weather extremes. When soil has structure (aggregate stability), it can better retain water and nutrients as well as hold and move water in less than favorable conditions.

How do we protect the carbon in our soils?
You guessed it cover crops!!

Of all the elements that make up soil, carbon represents about half. Carbon is returned into the soil through plants. They play a key role in this process by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and converting it in cellulose and carbohydrates. They also provide organic matter in residue and roots.

Put plants to work for your soils and
keep them protected with cover crops.


Fall is time to reflect and plan ahead for your native plant garden
Jenny Meisel: Native and Invasive Plant Specialist

As we prepare to leave summer behind and head into fall and winter, it’s time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work in your native plant garden this growing season and make notes for next season. 
How did your native plants fare this season? With the wet spring we had lush growth, but the hot sun and dry weather have been taking a toll on the plants in my yard.  I don’t water very often, so it is “survival of the fittest” in my yard.  Things seem to be holding on, but there are a lot of brown and crispy looking plants out there right now!  Luckily, many of our native plants are adapted to our warm, dry summers and mild, wet, winters, so most of the plants will bounce back as soon as we get some regular moisture.

The Marion SWCD is an equal opportunity employer, providing services to the public without regard to race, religion, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, mental or physical disability, marital status, age or other protected status or activity in accordance with applicable law. Call 48 hours in advance to request assistance.
Copyright © 2020 Marion Soil and Water Conservation District, All rights reserved.

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