FY 2016-17
February 13, 2018: 5:30 - 8:30 PM
Macleay Conference and Retreat Center
2887 74th Ave SE, Salem, OR 97317

Come join us to celebrate our accomplishments
 of the last year, and look ahead to the future!
$10/Person for dinner
 RSVP by January 30, 2018 for dinner:
or Call: 503-391-9927
or Visit:
2017 Mural Contest
The 2017 K-5 Grade Mural Art Contest was a huge success!  - and brought the Marion Soil and Water Conservation District 150 more student participants than did 2016. 

Each year the District takes conservation education to the K-5 Graders in Marion County through its annual Mural Art Contest.  This contest is open to all K-5 Graders across Marion County Oregon, who reside within the District’s boundaries and are attending local schools (public, private or home based), or are part of a local children’s group or organization like: Brownies, Cub Scouts, a Boys & Girls Club, an After-School-Program, Child Care Center or Church Group. It is required that there be at least one adult Team Leader that oversees the team of children ranging in size from 5 to 30 members. Teams may all be of the same grade/ages or a combination.  

The District provides all participant teams the supplies and materials they will need for the contest, like fun activity worksheets, informational study materials, mural sized paper and crayons.

The conservation theme for 2017 was “Forests for People, more than You Can Imagine!”  And as you can easily ascertain, the kids learned all they could about Forests!  How a forest is a large group of trees and can be composed of the same types/species of trees as is found in orchards (like: Apples, Pears, Hazel Nuts) or be composed of a mixed variety/species (like Cedar, Fir, Hemlock, Cottonwood) as is often found in local natural forest areas.  How the roots of trees combined with those of shrubs and grasses (which live together in a forest’s understory/aka beneath the trees’ canopy) work together to hold soil in place, and prevent soil erosion.  Those roots, combined with the fallen leaves, needles and other decomposing vegetation upon the forest floor - work together to create a wonderful and most efficient natural filtration system for water - thereby keeping groundwaters, and surface waters clean.

20 Teams, comprised of 429 student participants, from 12 different Elementary Schools across Marion County, competed in the 2017 contest.  Each team worked hard to study the materials they were provided, and to design a mural that they hoped would be selected as the winning entry.  Though each participant would receive a complimentary “Thank You” gift, they knew the winners would receive extra gifts as well, which included a Winner’s Certificate and a cash award of $100.00 to the school, group or organization for equipment or supplies for their kids.

Our panel of Judges: Glenn R. Ahrens, OSU Extension Service – Forester; Rebecca McCoun, N. Santiam Watershed Council Coordinator; Neil Bell, OSU Ext. Horticulturist/Master Gardener Program Director; Kenneth Hetsel, Marion SWCD Director; Laurie Buswell, Salem Audubon Society’s Office Administrator and Deborah Topp, City of Salem’s Natural Resources Outreach Specialist – all had the difficult job of selecting only one winning entry from within each of the three grade division entries received. 

We feel they did their jobs well and the winners were: Tracy McLaughlin’s classroom at Bush Elementary for the Beginning Division (K-1); Ryan Ellis’s class at OLE’ Charter School (Intermediate Division/2 -3 Grades); and Ruth Wood’s class at Salem Academy Christian (Advanced Division/ 4-5 Grades).

We hope you will stay tuned for the 2018 Contest “Where Does Your Watershed?” which is being rolled out shortly.  The registration deadline date is January 31st, with registration being conducted through the District’s website:  Interested Team Leaders may also contact Janice Calkins directly at the office of the Marion SWCD (503) 391-9927, or by email:
Conservation Grant
Program Statistics for FY 2016-17
  • ​The Landowner Assistance Program (LAP) is a core conservation program for Marion SWCD.
  • The Special Projects Grant (SPG) program provides financial assistance to demonstrate innovative and sustainable conservation projects, and speed the development and availability of new and effective conservation practices in the District
  • Marion SWCD is a participant in the Mid-Willamette East OWEB Small Grant Program which supports implementation of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds by funding projects designed to improve water quality, water quantity, and fish and wildlife habitat.

    Landowner Assistance Program (LAP)
    The Landowner Assistance Program (LAP) is a core conservation program for Marion SWCD. The program allows for the installation of conservation practices on properties throughout the county. The LAP enables landowners to implement conservation projects via a 50% cost share in which Marion SWCD pays half of the project cost, up to $7,500, and landowners are required to provide remaining project funds using labor (i.e., sweat equity), materials, and/or cash.  Projects must address a specific natural resource issue based on defined natural resource concerns that are synchronized with the state-wide priorities defined by the Department of Environmental Quality, the Oregon Water Resources Department, and the Agricultural Water Quality Management Plan (AgWQMP).
    There were 29 applications for funding received in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, with funding approved for 22 projects in the total amount of $125,000.  The completed practices, to date, have resulted in $90,359 in grant assistance provided from District funds; this amount is matched by $128,457 in landowner contributions.
    Special Projects Grant (SPG)
    The Special Projects Grant (SPG) program provides financial assistance to demonstrate innovative and sustainable conservation projects, and speed the development and availability of new and effective conservation practices in the District.  There was one project approved for funding in 2016-2017, the installation of a geotextile streambank repair in an urban environment; the completed project resulted in $7,500 in grant assistance from District funds which was matched by $40,265 in landowner contributions. Previous projects have included an integrated rainwater catchment system, an urban rain garden, hydroponic fodder feeder, and a precision GPS guided planter.
    Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) Small Grants
    Every two years the Mid-Willamette East OWEB Small Grant Team has $100,000 available for landowner projects that enhance the function of local watersheds. Marion SWCD is a participant in the Mid-Willamette East OWEB small grant program which supports implementation of the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds by funding projects designed to improve water quality, water quantity, and fish and wildlife habitat. This program funds on-the-ground watershed restoration and enhancement projects on forest, agricultural, range, urban, and rural residential lands. During the 2015-2017 biennium, eleven projects were awarded funding totaling $100,000; six of the projects are for Marion SWCD Cooperators with awards totaling $52,600, not including match funding. Projects include erosion control, manure storage facilities, irrigation improvements, and wetland habitat improvement.
2015-2017 Joint Watersheds - Focus Area Wrap Up
The District completed the joint Upper and Lower Mill Creek Focus Area project in June, which is managed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.  The district served as the “on the ground” contact for projects.  It allowed the District to evaluate agricultural management practices on rural land and assist landowners in soil and water conservation efforts.

 The total acreage for the combined watersheds was 31,461 acres, with about 14,998 acres zoned Exclusive Farm Use and Special Agriculture County Zones.  Besides the main stem of Mill Creek, other tributaries and ditches included the North Fork of Mill Creek, South Fork of Mill Creek, Porter Creek, Beaver Creek, McKinney Creek, Salem Ditch, Shelton Ditch, Highberger Ditch and the Perrin Lateral.
Farmers and land owners in the combined watershed are good stewards who work toward reducing the effects of farming on water quality.  Project conclusions paint a bright picture for agriculture and farming practices, as well as noting areas for water quantity and quality improvement that can occur with further conservation practices. 
Most of the concerns from agricultural activities along Mill Creek can be mitigated with changes including riparian restoration, filter strips and field borders. Opportunities for conservation exist for upland areas as well, including: livestock grazing in tributaries, bare ground in irrigation ditches, soil loss from surface runoff, inefficient irrigation systems and lack of cover crop in berries and orchards.  In the two years that the district worked in the joint watersheds, a total of 450 landowners were contacted and three workshops were done with 55 people attending.  About 826 fact sheets and brochures were distributed, along with 1646 newsletters. 
Technical assistance included 13 on-site evaluations with 15 landowners.  51 acres implemented agricultural water quality plans for micro-irrigation.  Additionally, Brush Management, Herbaceous Weed Control, and Riparian Forest Buffer projects were completed as well as a Streambank and Shoreline Protection Project in Salem. These projects were done as Landowner Assistance Program Grants and a Special Projects Grant.​
Red Osier Dogwood

Native Plants Program
 Our 15th Annual Native Plant Sale was another overwhelming success!  For the first time we counted the number of customers—564 of you visited our plant sale this past year!  Thank you for your continued support of Marion SWCD and for purchasing native plants that provide habitat for all critters great and small, protect our stream banks, and look beautiful when they bloom.  We would also like to extend another great big thank you to all of the volunteers who helped at this year’s plant sale. We couldn’t do it without you!

Other activities related to native plants that we’ve been working on include partnering with the Marion County Master Gardeners to host a series of workshops on backyard habitat and native plants, providing recommendations to landowners on which natives will be best for their space, and leading educational field trips and nature walks for students.  The workshops planned with the Master Gardeners began in the fall of 2017 and run through spring/summer of 2018. 

We also created two great handouts this past year that you can find on our website:
Low Water Use Native Plants for the Willamette Valley
and a
Blooming Time Table for Native Plants  in the Middle Willamette Valley.

Invasive Plants Program
 The invasive plants program has been busy working with our local partners on setting up invasive plant treatment and survey projects for next fiscal year.  We worked with the City of Salem on an agreement to conduct knotweed treatments on Clark and Pringle Creeks in Salem.  This involved contacting landowners and obtaining permission to treat the knotweed and hiring a contractor to conduct the treatments.  Treatments started in the fall of 2017 and we plan to continue with follow up treatments for at least 3 years.

We worked with the Marion County Weed Control District and the North Santiam Watershed Council to apply for funding from the Oregon State Weed Board to conduct invasive plant surveys and treatments in the Upper Mill Creek Watershed around Stayton and Aumsville. The Upper Mill Creek Watershed is the District’s ODA Focus Area for the 2017-2019 biennium.  The landowner outreach, along with the invasive treatments and surveys, will complement the activities for the ODA Focus Area and allow us to provide additional information to landowners on best practices to care for and improve riparian health. This project, if funded, will help rejuvenate the Marion County Weed Control District by providing needed invasive weed ID training to county staff and funding for invasive plant surveys. 
We continued to provide technical assistance as needed for plant identification and treatment information, along with responding to Invasive Species Hotline Reports for Marion County.  We were active in the local Mid-Willamette Cooperative Weed Management Area and the Willamette Aquatic Invasives Network.

The Marion SWCD is an equal opportunity employer, providing services to the public without regard to race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, mental or physical disability, marital status, age, or other protected status or activity in accordance with applicable law.

Copyright © 2017 - Marion SWCD - All rights reserved.

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Marion Soil and Water Conservation District · 338 Hawthorne Ave NE · Salem, OR 97301 · USA

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