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A Little Money Goes Far in Oregon's Conservation ProjectsA Little Money Goes Far in Oregon's Conservation Projects

Dollars available for landowners lead to important improvements.

October 9, 2007

2 Min Read

It usually takes money, but good work is being done by Oregon landowners across the state in managing natural resources, proclaims the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Large and small projects under guidance of the state's 45 soil and water conservation districts are making a difference in such areas as water quality and habitat restoration, notes ODA.

A recent round of funding by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board includes 38 grants to 18 SWCDs for more than $2.2 million. Combined with various other funding sources, these grants allow Oregon farmers, ranchers and other landowners to move forward in natural resource protection.

"There is money and assistance available for landowners to do the types of projects Oregonians want to see in terms of protecting the environment, protecting wate4r quality, and promoting good watershed management," says Larry Ojua, ODA SWCD program manager.

ODA oversees the districts while funneling $5 million in technical assistance funds provided by the Oregon Lottery, just one source of the overall funding for the districts.

For 10 of the 45 districts, voter-approved permanent tax rates have been established, and will provide an estimated $5.4 million this fiscal year for technical assistance, on-the-ground projects and other support for SWCDs.

Another important funding source is from the OWEB grants. While SWCDs are not the sole recipients of this money, each has an opportunity to apply for grants that go specifically for worthy projects.

"OWEB funds are a significant state investment in watershed health, which includes fish and wildlife habitat as well as ODA's Water Quality Program," says Ojua.

SWCDs have been identified as local management agencies for implementation of Oregon Senate Bill 1010, a law that led to establishment of Agricultural Water Quality Management Plans for watersheds throughout the state. Those plans identify goals to be attained in specific geological areas, and encourage landowners to adopt practices or complete projects that will help achieve those goals.

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