We’re looking for our new District Manager

District Manager – POSITION OPENING

We are the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, a publicly funded special district conservation organization located in Portland, Oregon. Our mission is to provide resources, information, and expertise to inspire people to actively improve air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and soil health. We do this by providing conservation planning services and technical and financial assistance to landowners and land managers in our District.

We are pleased to announce our search for a District Manager. Our District Manager position is key to our organization and is responsible for representation of the District, conservation program and work plan development, organizational, personnel, and fiscal management, and board development and support. This might be the right position for you if you are passionate about natural resource conservation, agriculture, urban and rural land use, and our environment, and you have the skills to inspire, motivate, and align the staff and board toward common goals and strategies in fulfillment of the District’s mission.

The position reports directly to the Board Chair and supervises our staff. Our ideal District Manager will help us create a workplace where we can all thrive while serving our communities!

We require:

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent transferable skills in public administration, non-profit management, environmental policy and management, business administration, or related discipline. Transferable skills are any skills gained through education, work experience (including the military) or life experiences that are relevant for this position.
  • Skills in budget development, preparation, and maintenance.
  • Seven years minimum experience in organizational, financial, and personnel management, including direct supervision of staff.

We are looking for an experienced leader with demonstrated ability to interpret and implement statutes, regulations, policies, and laws relevant to the District, and the ability to make decisions with sound judgment and integrity. This position will require you to exercise leadership and critical thinking skills and to work with diverse groups and individuals to continue our current diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and ongoing initiatives.

Download a complete job description here.

The District Manager position is full-time and exempt with a salary range from $105,000 to $155,000. This can be a hybrid position (in-office work combined with telework). We offer a generous benefit package which includes medical, dental, and vision coverage, short and long-term disability, life insurance, Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) participation, optional employee-contribution retirement plan, health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) plan, cell phone stipend, wellness program, employee assistance program, ten paid holidays, alternative/flexible work schedules, personal time, sick leave, and paid vacation leave.

If you are interested in joining us, we encourage you to apply! For confidential consideration, please submit a cover letter and resume to: recruitment@cascadeemployers.com with the subject line “WMSWCD District Manager.” Your cover letter and resume should include details adequate to evaluate how you meet the required and, as relevant, preferred qualifications. Initial screening will begin August 1, 2022; position is open until filled.

Applicants are eligible for Veterans’ Preference when applying with West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District. For more information on required materials to submit, please see our Veterans’ Preference Policy.

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome and encourage applications from Black, Indigenous, and people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals. We look forward to hearing from you!

Download this position opening announcement.

Seeking community members to join our Budget Committee

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is a local government public service district that provides resources, education, and expertise to inspire people to actively improve air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and soil health. Our service territory includes Multnomah County west of the Willamette River, all of Sauvie Island including the Columbia County portion of the Island, and a portion of the Bonny Slope region of the north Tualatin Mountains in Washington County (see District map). The District’s operating budget is $2.7 million.

We are looking for people who reside and are registered to vote within the District to become citizen members of the District’s Budget Committee. Meeting twice during the month of April, the Budget Committee annually reviews the District’s proposed budget – as developed by staff – for the coming fiscal year (beginning July 1st). The Committee has the authority to make any changes it feels are necessary to fulfill the District’s mission before it approves a recommended budget. As such, Budget Committee members influence how to best allocate the District’s cash and revenues during the upcoming fiscal year based on the unique perspectives they bring to the Committee. Service on the Budget Committee is voluntary and Oregon Budget Law prohibits the District from offering a stipend or other form of financial compensation for service.

We value and seek the perspectives of those with diversity in age, ability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and/or veteran status. We are especially seeking the point of view of those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or other people of color, or are from organizations that represent or who otherwise identify as members of underserved, marginalized, or oppressed communities.

The Budget Committee has 14 members. Seven members are the District’s elected Board of Directors, and seven are citizen members appointed by the Board of Directors. Currently one of the citizen member positions is vacant.

For 2023, the first Budget Committee meeting is scheduled for April 18th, from 6 to 8 PM. The second meeting, if necessary, is tentatively scheduled for April 25, 2023. Both meetings will be held virtually.

Appointed citizen Budget Committee members must meet the following requirements:

  • Reside and are registered voters within the District’s service territory.
  • Willing to serve a three-year term beginning in 2023.
  • Demonstrate an interest in the District’s conservation work and the planning and budget process that supports this work.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to working on a team.

An employee or anyone directly benefiting financially from the District is not eligible to serve as an appointed citizen on the Budget Committee.

If you are interested in serving on our Budget Committee, please complete the Citizen Budget Committee Member Interest Form. You may also download and mail your form to: West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, attn: Budget Committee, 3236 S Kelly Ave, Suite 200, Portland Oregon 97239. Forms submitted by Monday, February 6, 2023 will be reviewed first. Following the deadline, forms will be reviewed on a rolling basis, as needed.

View the FY 2023-2024 Budget Calendar, and the FY 2022-2023 Adopted Budget.

Citizen Budget Committee Member Interest Form

  • Only PDF files will be accepted. Please contact admin@wmswcd.org for other options if you are unable to upload a PDF.
    Accepted file types: pdf, Max. file size: 50 MB.
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Welcome our new District Manager, Lynn Barlow

We are very pleased to share that Lynn Barlow has joined us as our new District Manager.

Lynn joins our team with over 24 years of experience in the conservation field. Her career includes 19 years acquiring, managing, and restoring public natural areas with City of Portland, and most recently, nearly four years with the state Department of Environmental Quality where she managed a federal loan program that funds water quality improvement projects throughout Oregon. Lynn began her conservation career as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer working with food crop farmers to conserve topsoil in a mountainous region of west Africa. She values public and private landowner engagement in sustainable stewardship of natural and working lands. Lynn is committed to the District’s work in culturally inclusive outreach to communities for the purpose of enhancing livability through healthy soil, clean water, and diverse habitats.

Lynn shares, “I look forward to working with the dedicated and knowledgeable staff and board of the WMSWCD to extend science-based technical expertise, information, and resources toward the stewardship of private lands. At the same time, I look forward to learning directly from the people of the district what their soil and water conservation issues are and how the District can be of service.”

Welcome our 2023 Climate Change Intern

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is incredibly fortunate to be hosting Araon Sierras as our second Portland State University (PSU) Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Climate Change Intern.

During this internship, Araon will be building off the “climate lens” work completed by last year’s intern, in addition to working on other projects related to climate change. He will be helping us deepen our understanding of urban heat islands and develop new partnerships with groups working on this issue. Our goal is to learn how we can best support communities impacted by heat island effect in the Portland Harbor and Central Downtown areas. Araon will also be working with our technical staff to learn and test tools that will help with our conservation planning efforts. Araon will also support our Forest and Urban Conservationists in their work with Oregon State University Extension, Oregon Department of Forestry, Forest Park Conservancy, and Portland Fire & Rescue to deliver education and outreach about wildfire risk reduction to neighborhoods that are at high risk of catastrophic fire near large natural areas.

“Leaving things better than how you found them” is Araon’s motto and reflects the work he plans to pursue with us. Araon is a mechanical engineering student at Portland State University. Through his coursework, he’s picked up on many concepts that help explain the nature of the world. Mathematics helps him understand trends over time, ways to model the natural world, and how people can think exponentially. Engineering has given him the tools needed to take a complicated problem and break it down into smaller solvable pieces. His studies have also helped shed light on new questions to research and have helped provide the methods to test those questions. Araon looks forward to applying his curiosity and problem solving skills to help create a healthier environment. Araon’s studies, and his previous experience leading and working alongside others as a chef, provide him with valuable lessons about teamwork that he brings to our organization, such as how a how a group can solve a problem with speed. In addition, Araon’s four years serving with the U.S. Army as a network administrator showcased his ability to skillfully communicate across diverse communities and manage projects that met deadlines under ever-changing conditions.

About the LSAMP internship program

The ISS is partnering with the LSAMP program to provide funding for climate change and climate/disaster resilience related internships for the 2022-2023 academic year for historically excluded students underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The LSAMP Program, a program of the National Science Foundation, has worked since 2009 to increase retention, graduation, and post-graduation success among historically excluded students majoring in STEM.


WMSWCD Budget & Fiscal Manager Hiring Announcement-2022

Who We Are

The West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is a publicly funded local government (special district) conservation organization located in Portland, Oregon. Our mission is to provide resources, information, and expertise to inspire people to actively improve air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and soil health. We do this by providing conservation planning services and technical and financial assistance to landowners and land managers in our District.

We are pleased to announce our search for a Budget & Fiscal Manager. This position is responsible for planning, organizing, managing, and directing accounting, disbursements, purchasing, financial reporting, auditing, budget development and compliance, payroll administration, and other financial functions for the District.

What You Will Do 

Duties include preparing monthly and annual financial reports, ensuring that District accounting practices and financial reports are compliant with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), state and federal law, and the District’s policies, procedures, and other guidelines. In addition, this position is responsible for gathering and consolidating detailed support for the annual budget and ensuring compliance with Oregon Budget Law. Other responsibilities include evaluating, developing, implementing, and managing District internal controls, financial policies, and procedures; reviewing financial transactions to ensure alignment with the adopted budget, and accounting and reporting requirements; and managing efficient and effective month-end and year-end closing processes.

In addition, this position oversees administrative contractors (e.g., information technology service provider, health insurance agency, bookkeeper, and payroll service provider) and works closely with the District Manager and Board Treasurer in reviewing the District’s monthly financial statements and communicating budgetary, financial, and audited information to the Board. The Budget & Fiscal Manager also works closely with the Tax Supervising & Conservation Commission (TSCC), the external auditor, and financial and administrative personnel of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board on grant-related issues. The Budget & Fiscal Manager reports directly to the District Manager and serves on the District’s Leadership Team.


For this position, we require:

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, economics, statistics, business administration, public administration, or related field.
  • Five (5) years of progressively responsible budgeting, financial management, business or related experience or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Commitment to the District’s work on diversity, equity, and inclusion, including utilizing tools such as an equity lens in decision making.

The following qualifications are helpful in this role:

  • Experience with and knowledge of Oregon Local Budget Law or a demonstrated willingness and ability to learn Local Budget Law.
  • Experience with and knowledge of Oregon public contracting rules and law or a demonstrated willingness and ability to learn Oregon public contracting rules and law.
  • Advanced Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams) skills or a demonstrated willingness and ability to become an advanced user.
  • Advanced information and records management skills or a demonstrated willingness and ability to develop skills for organizing and managing records in compliance with state retention requirements.
  • Experience developing and managing an annual work plan and administrating a program budget for a financial or administrative program.
  • Certified Public Accountant or Certified Public Finance Officer.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license.

Specific responsibilities can be found in the detailed position description linked below.

Compensation and Benefits

The Budget & Fiscal Manager position is full-time (exempt) with a salary range from $6,282- $9,718 per month. This can be a hybrid position based in Oregon (in-office work from our office in Portland combined with remote work).

We offer a generous benefits package which includes medical, dental, and vision coverage, short and long-term disability, life insurance, Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) participation, optional employee-contribution retirement plan, health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) plan, cell phone stipend, wellness program, employee assistance program, ten paid holidays, alternative/flexible work schedules, personal time, sick leave, and paid vacation leave.

To Apply

If you are interested in joining us, we encourage you to apply! For confidential consideration, please submit a cover letter and resume to: recruitment@cascadeemployers.com with the subject line “WMSWCD Budget & Fiscal Manager.” Your cover letter and resume should include details adequate to evaluate how you meet the required and, as relevant, preferred qualifications. Complete applications must be received by January 4, 2023. Cascade Employers Association is assisting with this recruitment.

Applicants are eligible for Veterans’ Preference when applying with West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District. For more information on required materials to submit, please see our Veterans’ Preference Policy.

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate based on any class or identity including age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status.

See more details about this position. 

2023 Conservation Internships

Two positions: 1) Field Conservation Intern, and 2) GIS & Field Conservation Intern
Location: 3236 S. Kelly Ave., Suite 200, Portland, Oregon 97239
Period of Employment: Approximately 6 months, April 3rd – mid October, 2023 (dates somewhat flexible)
Pay: $18.67/ hour
Work hours: Average of 20 hours per week, two to three 8-hour days per week, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (times somewhat flexible), Monday through Friday, with occasional optional evening and weekend hours.
Application deadline: Friday, January 20, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time. The application form will no longer be available after that time.

General Summary

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District (“District”) is hiring two adult (18+ years old) temporary, part-time Conservation Interns for spring through fall of 2023. Work is both in the field, within our district service area, and in our office in S. Portland. Conservation Interns will receive mentorship, gain experience, and have opportunities to learn more about the field of natural resource conservation through caring for and giving to the land as practiced on non-public properties. We are looking for people with a passion to actively improve air and water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, and soil health and a desire to work as part of a dynamic team of professionals.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our organization: in those we serve, in our workforce composition, through the contractors we hire, and in those that benefit from our work. Interns will be provided with equity training, are expected to help co-create an inclusive work environment with fellow staff, and are invited to participate more deeply through the District’s diversity, equity, and inclusion committee or other opportunities.

The District does not discriminate based on any class or identity including age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status. The District is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. The District makes reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and special needs so as to provide access to District events, materials and services. If you have requests for accommodations or complaints about discrimination, harassment, inequitable treatment, lack of access to District events, materials or services, or for any questions at all, please contact us at info@wmswcd.org or call (503) 238-4775 and leave a message with a return phone number at extension 100.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Survey, collect field data, and treat priority invasive weeds (including use of herbicides)
  • Monitor native and invasive plants on the landscape and assist with other field site visits
  • Perform data entry and analysis, make graphs, and write reports
  • Create maps with ArcGIS (for the GIS & Field Conservation Intern only)
  • Communicate effectively and work directly with staff, the public, property owners, and contractors through face-to-face contact, telephone, written, or email correspondence
  • Routinely communicate progress, seek help when needed and balance multiple tasks
  • Meet regularly with Internship Program Supervisor to check in on work activity for mentorship, professional development and support

Secondary Duties and Responsibilities

  • Collect additional field data, such as water quality and forestry parameters (includes using GPS, mobile devices, and other specialized field equipment)
  • Assist with outreach and educational activities to inform the public on natural resource conservation issues and support collaborations with local partners
  • Work closely with individual staff for mentorship on special projects (Opportunities may include projects such as drafting and implementing conservation plans, exploring how GIS is used in conservation, involvement in DEI initiatives and strategies, etc.)
  • Other duties as assigned, with personalized opportunities based on professional interests and goals (including independent trainings, special projects and post-internship preparation)

Minimum Qualifications for BOTH positions (required to be eligible for either internship position; experience level in 1&2 used in evaluating and ranking applicants)

  1. Experienced with plant identification: Proficient in recognizing and naming common plants of the Pacific Northwest, trained in the use of plant identification resources, knowledgeable of plant anatomy and/or traditional ecological knowledge of plants and first foods
  2. Skilled in the use of Microsoft Excel and Word software (or similar): Ability to enter data, create graphs and compose written documents incorporating text, pictures, and tables
  3. Ability to work outdoors under a range of conditions and terrain with reasonable accommodations
  4. Willingness to work with and apply herbicides (using hand-operated sprayers) alongside licensed District staff members after provided training and obtaining trainee license

Additional Minimum Qualification for the GIS & Field Conservation Intern position ONLY

  1. Proficient in ArcGIS mapping software: Ability to import, create, and edit both spatial and attribute data in ArcGIS (ArcMap, ArcPro or QGIS) and to create readable maps that incorporate clear symbology and basic cartography elements such as labels, keys and scale references.

Desired Experience, Abilities, and Attributes

  • Previous participation in an environmental workforce development program (such as, but not limited to: Green Jobs Internship and Training Program, Verde, Wisdom Workforce, Blueprint Foundation, Greenspaces Restoration and Urban Naturalist Team/TNT, TALON, or Northwest Youth Corps)
  • Active pursuit of a vocational or associates degree with a demonstrated interest in natural sciences, natural resource management, environmental education, or another related field
  • Personal and professional commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, including exploration of power and privilege, a willingness to self-reflect, and experience engaging with marginalized communities and individuals in a welcoming and respectful manner
  • Experience collecting field data and maintaining field notes
  • Proven ability to maintain positive, cooperative relationships with others, and conducts work in a professional manner

Job Conditions

  • Both positions will work in the field approximately 60% of the time, and in an office setting approximately 40% of the time.
  • The fieldwork may include working in and around such locations as urban areas, farms, and working forests; streams and ponds; properties with dense, thorny vegetation; steep slopes, and other hazardous terrain, and applying herbicides. Occasional interactions with farm animals and pets may occur.
  • Physical exertion is commonly required for field tasks, such as walking outdoors and carrying equipment and tools.
  • Interns may need to transport themselves and field equipment throughout the day in an efficient and timely manner to and from and/or between conservation project sites. Sites in the rural West Hills and on Sauvie Island can be 20 miles or more from our office in S. Portland. Possession of a valid driver’s license is very helpful and strongly preferred, and a District vehicle may be provided when available (once the results of a motor vehicle report are determined to be satisfactory). Miles driven for work in a personal vehicle can be reimbursed if a District vehicle is unavailable.
  • Interns must abide District safety policies, including COVID-19 mitigation requirements, which currently mirror Multnomah County guidance found here: https://www.multco.us/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/face-coverings-masks-and-covid-19


Base pay is $18.67 per hour. Pro-rated holiday pay and sick leave is provided (but not health, retirement, or other benefits available to permanent employees). The employee or the District can withdraw employment without cause. The District will pay for trainings and licenses required to fulfill the job duties, such as a trainee pesticide applicator license. Use of a personal vehicle, phone, computer, or internet is not required, but if such use becomes necessary or beneficial, certain expenses may be eligible for reimbursement.

How to Apply

Interested applicants may apply for one or both positions. Past WMSWCD interns are not eligible for re-hire for this internship, though Green Jobs Workforce Program interns are eligible. Applications must be submitted by the application deadline, 5:00 pm, January 20th, 2023.

  • Fill out a brief eligibility checklist through our online form
  • If you meet all the requirements, you will be prompted to upload a cover letter (maximum length of ONE page) and resume (maximum length of TWO pages).
  • In your cover letter and resume, discuss or give examples of how your personal, professional and/or school experiences have provided you with the Minimum Qualifications and Desired Experience, Abilities, and Attributes; and prepared you for the Primary and Secondary Duties and Responsibilities, as described above.
  • Applicants are eligible for Veterans’ Preference when applying for a position with West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District. For details on required materials to submit, see our Veterans’ Preference Policy.

District Redaction of Your Application Materials

In pursuit of our equity goals and to reduce the potential for unconscious bias during application review, the District has elected to redact some personal information from submitted materials before evaluation by the review team. Redacted information includes name, contact information, links to social media accounts and personal websites/webpages, photographs, graduation dates and names of schools. Degrees obtained and number of years attended will be retained for review.


For questions about the application process, or to request an accommodation to access and participate in this recruitment, email hiring@wmswcd.org or call (503) 238-4775, ext. 100 and leave a voicemail message with your name, phone number and inquiry.

For questions about the internship positions, email internship@wmswcd.org or call (503) 238-4775 ext. 109 and leave a voicemail message with your name, phone number, and mention of the position.


Download a pdf of this 2023 Conservation Internship job announcement.

2022 Annual Meeting


Join us for our 2022 Annual Meeting!

Date & Time: Tuesday, November 15, 2022 beginning at 6:00 pm

Location: Lucky Lab, 1945 NW Quimby St, Portland, OR 97209


Present annual report

Present annual awards:

  • Dr. Ivan Law – Rural Cooperator Award
  • Dick Williams & Diane Field – Green Award
  • Confluence – Non-profit Award
  • Forest Park Conservancy – Special Recognition
  • Jim Cathcart – Lifetime Achievement Award

Following the Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors will hold the November board meeting beginning at 7:15 pm.

Questions? Contact renee@wmswcd.org or 503-238-4775 x101


On the lookout for emerald ash borer in western Multnomah County

(Emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire. Photograph by Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – Forestry, Bugwood.org; Image link)

The emerald ash borer was found in Forest Grove (Washington County, Oregon) and state officials are asking the public to learn what it looks like and to report any sightings online at the Oregon Invasive Species Council hotline. This insect is now considered the most destructive forest pest in North America and will decimate native ash stands.  If you have unhealthy looking ash trees, look for D-shaped bore holes. The Oregon Department of Agriculture states that the infested ash trees in Forest Grove were cut down and chipped within 48 hours of discovery to prevent further spread.

Emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) (EAB) is a small, brilliant metallic green beetle about half an inch long and native to north-east Asia that was unintentionally introduced to the U.S. around 2002, likely in ash wood used in cargo shipping. The insect has since had a devastating effect on all species of ash trees in North America, in both natural woodlands and cities. It is currently detected in 35 other states, mainly in the Midwest and northeast, and 5 Canadian provinces. EAB has spread from people moving firewood, logs, or ash trees from nurseries, as well as by the natural movement of the insect. Prior to being discovered in Oregon, there was great concern that this damaging insect could jump all the way from Colorado to Oregon via firewood, which possibly could have happened.  This is why firewood should only be purchased locally. EAB could cause immense harm to our forested wetlands since Oregon ash (Fraxinus latifolia) is the primary tree species that occupies such habitats and it is highly vulnerable to attack by Emerald ash borer.

U.S. map with states colored in and red dots marking location of EAB detections

Midwestern and eastern U.S. states have been most impacted by EAB.

Due to the level of concern, a local partnership effort – initially coordinated by Oregon Department of Agriculture, and now by the Portland office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – is in place to respond to the insect in our region. Because of our familiarity with the local landscape and connections to local landowners, WMSWCD was asked to get involved in the partnership. WMSWCD is contributing to the effort by deploying and checking traps in our district and then identifying collected insect samples, following established guidelines. These guidelines inform where traps should be set and how and when to check them.

smart phone with view of map and data point app

Staff conservationists use a data collection app to track projects and the location of EAB traps

WMSWCD technical staff has set traps in Oregon ash trees in 6 varied and dispersed locations that could be potential pathways of transmission to new sites. Trap locations include a rural pastureland that might catch insects coming from the east side of the Tualatin Mountains; a forested spot on the east side of Tryon Creek State Natural Area; two in the Northwest Industrial area of Portland, to capture insects that might be traveling in wood shipping pallets on trucks; one on Sauvie Island; and one near the Smith & Bybee wetlands.

two photos (left: EAB trap with green cups stacked vertically hanging in tree; person removing bottom cup attached to green trap

(left) EAB trap hangs in an ash tree; (right) WMSWCD staff conservationist removes the collection cup from the bottom of an EAB trap to inspect its contents

We put traps out during the time of year that adult EABs would be actively flying around – between June and late September. Our team checks the traps every 3 weeks and sends data to APHIS, including information on where the traps were placed, when they were checked, and if any target insects were found. The traps tend to collect a small number of other flying insects, but so far in these locations we have, thankfully, not found any EAB.

two photos: on left, pouring pink liquid with dead insects into a filter; on right, filter folded up inside a clear plastic bag with labeling information

(left) Emptying contents of an EAB trap into a filter; (right) Filtered contents of EAB trap in labeled plastic bag for later identification and data collection

What happens if we find emerald ash borer in our district?

Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), in coordination with Oregon Department of Agriculture, City of Portland Parks & Recreation, City of Corvallis Parks & Recreation, OSU Extension, and USDA APHIS, and the U.S. Forest Service, has a robust response plan that they will follow now that EAB is in Oregon.

Researchers in Michigan have explored the effectiveness of injecting some ash trees with a prophylactic insecticide to make individual trees resistant to an EAB infestation. This is most realistic as a management strategy in the landscape context. Other ways to mitigate the effects of EAB in the future may include potential biocontrols and selective tree removal, or collecting and preserving seeds of ash trees now to save for re-introduction later.

Conservationists in our area are raising an important question: Should we still be planting Oregon ash on restoration sites if the trees will likely be killed by EAB when it arrives in Oregon? Many believe arrival of EAB is an unavoidable outcome. In some locations, especially poorly drained bottomland areas, including forested wetlands and along some streams, there isn’t a great substitute for our native ash, however. Native alder and black cottonwood are also found in riparian areas, but these trees are not as common in our poorly drained wetlands. One option is to continue planting ash trees along with as many other adapted native woody plant species as we can in wetland restoration projects. Among these planted ash trees may be some individual trees that survive an EAB infestation, and those trees could prove vital to restoring the species in the future. There is not much to replace the pure ash stands that grow in certain wetlands of the Willamette Valley and their disappearance would be a huge ecological loss.

And while it is good to be prepared for the worst, we recognize that there are many unknowns when it comes to a new species being introduced to a new location. By preventing the establishment of EAB in Oregon for as long as possible, we give researchers more time to develop mitigation strategies.

What can you do to help this effort?

  • Become a pest detector! Oregon State University Extension offers the Oregon Forest Pest Detector Program with online trainings about pest insects. Find more information about the program and the pest detector course
  • If you see an insect that you think could be Emerald Ash Borer, report it immediately to the Oregon Invasive Species online hotline or call 1-866-INVADER
  • You can also call the USDA Emerald Ash Borer Hotline at 1-866-322-4512

Learn more about the Emerald ash borer:

Our new Forest Conservationist

After a very competitive hiring process, Laura Taylor was selected as the District’s new Forest Conservationist, replacing Michael Ahr who now serves with Benton Soil and Water Conservation District in Corvallis. Taylor was formerly the District’s Conservationist & Education Coordinator and has been on staff since 2014.

In her previous role, Taylor provided monitoring, project implementation, and conservation planning support for the forestry, healthy streams, and healthy habitats programs, and managed the District’s education program which provides technical and financial assistance to school and community gardens and local environmental education partners. She worked on forest-related projects with Ahr since the beginning of her time on staff at the District. Together they piloted a two-year forest understory seeding study to look at the effectiveness of different methods of establishing native understory plants from seed.

Taylor is continuing the District’s work of helping woodland owners grow healthy resilient forests by developing forest stewardship plans, providing technical assistance, and managing forest health projects for their properties. She also provides expertise on monitoring and data collection, plants and pollinators. Taylor has been a member of the District’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee since 2018 and currently serves as co-chair.

Taylor has worked for public, non-profit, and private organizations where she provided botanical and ecological technical support. She earned her B.S. in botany and forest ecology from Evergreen State College and M.S. in invasive plant ecology from Portland State University. Taylor is an active volunteer for Friends of Trees and the Citizen Rare Plant Watch. If you need help with your forest property, contact Laura Taylor at 503-238-4775, ext. 112 or laura@wmswcd.org.

Have you heard about Stormwater Stars?

Guest post by Stormwater Programs Specialist, Rachel Dvorsky

Stormwater Stars are properties that have improved their landscaping to help manage rain in our city. By making improvements at many small sites we are creating a larger constellation of stars that together make a big impact.Stormwater Stars logo

Do you have an area of your yard that is damp or soggy that you do not know what to do with? Do you have a lawn space that you would like to replace with native plantings? Perhaps you have seen the Stormwater Stars signs at a past workshop location and are curious about who we are?

We help build skills and confidence for people to work on their own landscapes. Eligible projects improve watershed health, enhance habitat and reduce the need for harmful lawn and garden chemicals. The basic landscaping practices include lawn replacement, depaving, amending soil, porous pathways, contained planters and planting native plants. We host free hands-on installation workshops in the Fall and Spring to demonstrate these practices on residential properties, at businesses, or in community spaces. We also provide free site visits to homeowners and property representatives to help provide guidance for landscape improvements for watershed health.

people planting plants in soil


So how does this all work?

Sign-ups for our free workshops happen through the website. At the workshops we spend a little time introducing what we will be doing that day, and the bulk of the time is spent with our gloves on making the improvements to the site. Every workshop is different and throughout the season we do our best to provide opportunities to learn a variety of different landscaping practices on different size projects. .

Where are our workshops located?

Our workshops are open to everyone located within the West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District service area. Most of our projects have been in SW Portland and we have since expanded the area that we serve and are now actively looking to hold more workshops in NW Multnomah County!

Will you come look at my yard?

Site visits are a great way to talk through your specific challenges and goals. We will walk the space and address any questions or concerns you might have, and afterwards we will send you a summary of what we discussed. We do our best to provide you with the resources you need to reach your goals for your yard.

What if I want to host a workshop?

If you are interested in hosting a workshop, we will come look at spaces in your yard that might be a good fit and what practices could be demonstrated. Our workshop areas are typically about 600 square feet in area, but can vary depending on what the site needs. Workshop projects must be visible to the public, typically in front or side yards. Together we will decide if your space would be a good location to bring in volunteers where we can create and learn together. If your site is selected for a workshop we will work together to make a plan. Each site varies in terms of what is needed, and we provide assistance with design, plant selection, compost and native plants.

Interested in learning more?

Please contact the Stormwater Programs Specialist Rachel Dvorsky with questions or to set up a site visit at hello@stormwaterstars.org. You can also find more information about our program, practices, and past projects on our website at www.stormwaterstars.org

We look forward to seeing you at a future workshop!

Stormwater Stars is a program delivered by Neighbors West Northwest and the Westside Watershed Resource Center, in partnership with and funded by generous contributions from West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District and City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.