Working Farms, Forests & Gardens

Conservation Priorities

What are working lands?

Farms, forests, and gardens provide food, wood, fiber, and other materials for our daily lives. When we nurture healthy working lands, in return they also provide clean water and air, rich productive soil, and wildlife habitat.

Our goal is to enhance the long-term health, productivity, and resilience of farms, forests, woodlands, and gardens in our service area.

On this page:


    Sauvie Island offers fertile soil and easy irrigation making it an ideal location for farming. The island has more than 12,000 acres zoned for agriculture, with orchards, nurseries, and vegetable farms producing crops, native and ornamental plants, and trees for local, regional, and national markets.

    On Sauvie Island and all across our district, we work with farmers and livestock owners to conserve and protect water, build healthy soil, and provide habitat for pollinators and other wildlife.

    • Improve soil quality and production
    • Manage your mud to improve animal and pasture health
    • Improve irrigation
    • Reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides
    • Reduce erosion

    Resources for farms:


    Western Multnomah County offers a bounty of lush native forest land. These forests support a wide array of wildlife and plants, keep our streams flowing clear and cool, support our economy with locally-sourced forest products, improve air quality, and offset climate change by storing carbon and cooling the air.

    Maintaining a healthy forest is an important and ongoing responsibility and privilege for forestland owners. A healthy forest is a resilient forest, one that is better able to sustain itself in the face of disease, insect damage, and fire.

    • Forest stewardship planning
    • Tree thinningTree thinning Also called “selective harvest,” this is the practice of removing some but not all trees in a forested area. & health
    • Wildfire risk reduction
    • Forest conservation easements

    Resources for maintaining healthy forested lands:


    To find out more about installing a new garden, restoring a neglected garden, or financial assistance for gardens.


    Gardening is a great way to connect to nature in your own backyard or at a local school or community space. Nearly any outdoor area, from a large yard to a patio container garden, can help attract beneficial insects and provide food for people, pollinators and other wildlife.

    We provide information to empower people to discover the joy of gardening, growing food, and naturescaping. For yards one acre or larger, we can recommend which native plants will do best in your yard. We can also identify invasive weeds, and provide stormwater management information and suggestions for improving soil health.

    Learn about native plants in our area. Choose the “right plant for the right place.”

    Resources for Edible Gardens:


    Community and demonstration gardens

    Community gardens are a wonderful part of any neighborhood:

    • Help families grow healthy, nutritious, and culturally important foods.
    • Create beautiful productive spaces.

    Demonstration gardens inspire people to plant their own gardens:

    • Bring neighbors together.
    • Create beautiful vibrant community spaces.
    • Discover creative plant combinations and clever garden methods.
    • Provide habitat for pollinators.

    School gardens

    School gardens provide dynamic outdoor classrooms where students gain fun, hands-on experience with a wide range of subjects from science and math to project planning, creative writing, and art.

    These gardens also bring the school community together and provide wildlife habitat to birds and pollinators.

    We can connect schools to resources, help with planning for a new garden, and provide funding to partners to help with some onsite farm or garden education. Our goal is to support school gardens to thrive long-term.

    We also connect teachers with curriculum and professional development training opportunities so that outdoor classrooms can be fully integrated into lesson plans, while meeting the Next Generation Science Standards, the goals of Oregon’s Environmental Literacy Plan, and more.

    Resources for school gardens:

    Related services

    Find out if you're in our service area.

    Staff contact

    Scott Gall

    Farm & Soil Conservationist

    Contact me about:

    Soil health; Farms and livestock; Equity and inclusion
    x 105

    Laura Taylor

    Forest Conservationist

    Contact me about:

    Forest and woodland health; Wildfire risk in rural forests; Plants; Pollinators.
    x 112