Do you have native oak on your property?

We have funding for oak habitat!

And the deadline to apply has been extended. Contact us by April 10, 2019 to find out if you are eligible for funding.

If you have native Oregon oaks on your property, you have something special. Oak woodlands and mature trees are increasingly rare in the Willamette Valley – less than 10% remains of what we had in 1850.

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District seeks rural landowners with native oak woodlands who wish to restore or create healthy oak habitat on their land.

If you have 10 or more acres that can support Oregon white oaks, we have funding to help create or enhance oak habitat. If your oak trees are being overtaken by conifers like Douglas fir, your land is highest priority for funding. Average funding for 2- to 5-year projects is $500 to $1,500 per acre per year. Projects may include weed control, and planting more oaks along with native shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers.

We can assess your property’s potential, identify possible funding, and create a plan for your oak. Contact us for more information and to schedule a site visit: Kammy Kern-Korot, Senior Conservationist, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District , (503) 238-4775 ext. 108 or kammy@wmswcd.org

Learn more about oak habitat.


Got turtles?

If you have turtles in your pond, wetland or other slow-moving water on your property, lucky you!

Both species of Oregon’s native turtles are uncommon, and it’s hard for them to find suitable habitat. You’ll want to make sure the conditions you provide for them stay suitable or even improve.

The Oregon Native Turtle Working Group has resources to help you!

What kind of turtles do you have?

In Oregon, we have two species of native turtles, the western painted turtle and the western pond turtle, and several species of non-native invasive turtles. Visit the Oregon Native Turtle Working Group website for turtle identification information.

Don’t have turtles, but want them?

It’s illegal to capture/relocate or buy turtles and turn them loose in your pond. Focus instead on providing suitable habitat – the “build it and they will come” approach. Turtles are very capable of and are known to make long-distance treks to newly created and enhanced habitats. In any case, improving habitat in and around your pond will make it more attractive to songbirds, dragonflies, frogs and other awesome creatures. You can’t lose!

See turtles? Report them.

Biologists are tracking locations of turtles (both native and non-native) in Oregon. Let us know if you spot turtles, whether they are on your property or somewhere else. You can report your turtle sighting at www.oregonturtles.com/report.html or www.inaturalist.org/projects/western-pond-turtles-in-oregon. The first step in making sure turtle populations remain stable is knowing where they are.

Get more information.

An abundance of information on how to help Oregon’s native turtles can be found in a free, downloadable publication by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: Guidance for Conserving Oregon’s Native Turtles including Best Management Practices.

Ask for help.

If you have turtles on your property and want help improving conditions for them, email oregonturtles@gmail.com and someone will get in touch with you.

Western Painted Turtle on a log in the water

Western Painted Turtle, Photo by Port of Portland

Learn more about creating turtle habitat.  

Turtles have fairly simple needs, which you can help provide:

  • Basking areas

After spending the winter hibernating, turtles need to haul out of the water in spring and early summer to warm up in the sunshine. They often select downed trees or large tree branches that have fallen into the water. If there is no natural downed wood in your pond or wetland, consider adding some. Turtles like to bask on wood as they can quickly drop into the water to avoid predators.

  • Nesting areas

When it’s time to lay eggs, female turtles look for sparsely-vegetated areas that get plenty of afternoon sun, since the sun’s rays incubate the eggs. Suitable turtle nesting habitat has compact soils, usually with a high clay content to help the nest keep its shape and make it harder for predators to dig up the eggs. You can enhance nesting areas by providing patches of sparsely vegetated or bare ground in sunny areas close to your pond.

  • Food and hiding cover

Young turtles conceal themselves from predators in rushes, sedges, duck weed and other vegetation at the shallow edges of the pond. Turtles eat worms, aquatic bugs, fish and other high protein items that help them grow. All turtles snack on aquatic vegetation, so it’s important to have a healthy plant community in your pond. Native plants attract a variety of invertebrates which in turn become food for turtles. Some shrubby/forested habitat nearby is ideal as some turtles over-winter on land.

  • Minimal disturbance

Turtles, turtle nests and hatchlings, and even hibernating turtles, are sensitive to disturbances like pet dogs swimming in ponds occupied by turtles, kayakers getting too close to basking turtles, or mowing equipment coming too close to nesting turtles. Turtles will be more likely to use your pond if basking and nesting areas are a little more private and away from areas of regular disturbance.

This information was provided by the Oregon Native Turtle Working Group and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Download a fact sheet. 


2019 OSWB Grant Funding for Garlic Mustard Control

We are pleased to share that our 2019 Portland Garlic Mustard Control – Oregon State Weed Board grant application was funded in full! This award will provide $34,368 in funding to the District and our partners for garlic mustard control.

We extend huge thanks to the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and Oregon Department of Agriculture for supporting our work through the Oregon State Weed Board grant. Actively treating Garlic mustard is critical to maintaining the health of our local ecosystems, and this work would not be possible without this state funding.

If you have Garlic mustard on your property, we can treat it for you at no cost to you. Contact Michelle Delepine, Invasive Species Program Coordinator, with questions or to grant access your property: michelle@wmswcd.org or 503-238-4775, ext.115.

Learn more about treating Garlic mustard in this fact sheet in English, and en Español.


You can help eradicate Garlic mustard

Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to start thinking about the weeds that might be popping up in your yard this year. While some kinds of weeds might be an unsightly nuisance, there are others that need special and urgent attention as they pose a huge risk to ecosystem health.

Garlic mustard is one of those high priority invasive weed species. It is an aggressive herb that displaces other plants by monopolizing light, moisture, nutrients, soil, and space. It also releases chemicals into the soil that are toxic to other plants and are particularly harmful to soil fungus which is vital to native plants. This noxious weed impacts sensitive natural areas as well as suburban landscapes, and all known populations in our district are targeted for removal.

Garlic mustard has few known locations in the Pacific Northwest and urgent action is needed to prevent it from gaining a foothold. Without immediate attention, this noxious weed will become a very serious threat to our native ecosystems.

West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District is working with landowners to identify and manage infestations. We are asking for assistance from local landowners and residents – important stewards of the land – to help us locate and manage this invasive plant by allowing us to come to your property to remove or kill all known infestations.

We offer FREE landowner assistance to manage this invasive plant before it becomes established and too difficult to contain. It is critical that infestations be treated each year before seedset to prevent it from flourishing and spreading. Seed pods will form quickly so your timely attention is appreciated!

If you have Garlic mustard on your property, we can treat it for you at no cost to you. Contact Michelle Delepine, Invasive Species Program Coordinator, with questions or to grant us access your property: michelle@wmswcd.org or 503-238-4775, ext.115. West Multnomah staff greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with you!

Learn more about treating Garlic mustard in this fact sheet in English, and en Español.

Special thanks to the Oregon State Weed Board for providing funding for this important program.


Get the Real Dirt ~ Become a Master Gardener!

2018 OSU Master Gardener™ Training Registration NOW OPEN!

Register now for the 2018 OSU Extension Service Master Gardener Training! The training includes all aspects of sustainable gardening in a fun and friendly environment.  Science-based curriculum is offered in a combination of in-person, online classes and hands-on workshops that run February through March.  This unique training is followed by volunteer educational outreach.  Classes start soon so register now!

Become a garden educator and help your community to grow from the ground up!  For details go to: www.metromastergardeners.org


As a city grows, its impact on rivers doesn’t have to

Now, researchers have undertaken the first comprehensive study of how the infrastructure of U.S. cities alters rivers and their biodiversity. The effects are extensive, they reported yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, extending both upstream and downstream for tens or even thousands of kilometers like the branches of a nerve cell.

The researchers used data on river hydrology from the U.S. Geological Survey in a computer model to determine the effects of urban land transformation, electric power, and municipal water supplies on rivers nationwide. They also pulled information from a fine-grained database of species occurrence to assess the biodiversity of freshwater fish, mussels, and crayfish in urban-affected stream reaches.

The largest impacts are from urban land cover and electricity production, the researchers found. These aspects of infrastructure have altered at least 7% of the entire length of streams and rivers in the contiguous United States. “Although these estimates may not seem extensive, they result in very large biodiversity impacts,” the researchers write.

Urban infrastructure impacts 60% of all freshwater fish, mussel, and crayfish species in North America, over 1,200 species altogether. It has contributed to local extinctions of 260 species, sometimes in stream reaches distant from city boundaries themselves. It also influences 970 existing native species, 27% of which are threatened or endangered.

“Cities can impact far reaching areas due to the sheer intensity of resource demands,” the researchers write. For example, the energy and water infrastructure of Atlanta, Georgia stretches across four major river basins.

Moreover, the stresses from urban infrastructure are often compounded because multiple cities may be located on the course of the same river. Twenty-one cities lie along rivers downstream of Atlanta.

Surprisingly, however, the researchers found little connection between a city’s size and the severity of its effects on rivers. Atlanta’s infrastructure impacts 12,500 stream kilometers, and has contributed to 100 local extinctions of freshwater species. Las Vegas, Nevada has a similar population size, but impacts less than 1,000 stream kilometers and has contributed to only seven local extinctions.

Some of these differences have to do with differences in the layout of stream networks and the number of species found in the eastern compared to the western United States. But the findings also suggest that as a city grows, its area of hydrologic impact doesn’t necessarily have to expand along with it. For example, cities could check their impact on rivers by managing storm flows better, or choosing sources of electric power that minimize water use.

There are surely tradeoffs involved in such strategies (choices that take less of a toll on rivers may come with greater impacts on some other habitat). Still, the idea that city governments can not only cause ecological harm but also contribute to ecological integrity far beyond the city limits sounds like good news in an urbanizing world.

by  | Aug 22, 2017

Source: McManamay R. et al. “US cities can manage national hydrology and biodiversity using local infrastructure policy.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2017.