The Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District (District) is led by a locally elected board of directors whose responsibility is to plan and oversee the delivery of services and programs that help conserve and protect water and soil resources, wildlife habitat, and other natural resources in Yamhill County.  The District is a unit of local government, and implements its programs and services in partnership with volunteers, non-profits, state and federal agencies, school districts and universities, watershed councils, landowners, and many others. 

2015 Annual Dinner Recap

The Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District hosted over 150 guests at the 63rd Annual Dinner Meeting held on October 28 at the McMinnville Community Center. Over $1800 was raised from the silent auction and we would like to thank the businesses and organizations that donated items to the auction. These funds benefit the Stan R. Christensen Fund, established to memorialize Stan and promote conservation education and outreach. Matthew Mattioda, Miller Timber Services, Inc., was the guest speaker and he shared the fascinating new technology being used in the forestry industry to maintain healthy forests.  And the Rogue Gourmet Catering Co. provided a delicious buffet dinner to the guests.

The winners of the 2015 Conservation Awards were announced:

  • Hyla Woods, Peter and Pam Hayes,  received the Conservation Landowner Award
  • Theresa Crain and Neyssa Hays received the Conservation Educators Award and
  • Chehalem Park and Recreation District received the Urban Conservationist Award

Click to see photos of the award winners, a list of the generous auction donors and volunteers and photos of the evening!

Drought Preparedness Class Packs the Room

The Yamhill Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Service organized a Drought Preparedness Workshop on November 3rd.  Irrigators from Yamhill, Marion and Polk counties gathered at the Chemeketa campus in McMinnville to hear about more effective methods for irrigation and how to use water more efficiently. Troy Peters, Washington State University Extension Irrigation Specialist, came down from Prosser, WA to speak about the science of irrigation and best practices for scheduling. He highlighted their Irrigation Scheduler Mobile which ties in real time weather data, crop coefficients and other variables to assist irrigators in making better scheduling decisions. Chad Higgins, the head of the Nexus of Energy, Water and Agriculture Laboratory at OSU, shared research he is conducting, field testing variable rate irrigation on center pivots.  Specifically, he is looking at how precise this technology can be and what challenges might exist in creating a precise irrigation prescription for fields. You can read more about this research here.

Jon Unger, Water Resource Department, Travis Godeaux, Natural Resources Conservation Service,  and Ulrike Mengelberg, Energy Trust, all discussed incentives, grants, and cost opportunities that exist for irrigation efficiency upgrades, water conservation and increasing water storage capacity.

The Yamhill SWCD and OSU would like to THANK the participants and speakers along with a special THANK YOU to sponsors, Crop Production Services and Ernst Irrigation.

McMinnville 4th Graders Enjoyed their Field Trip to Miller Woods

McMinnville 4th Graders Enjoyed their Field Trip to Miller Woods, where students received “hands on” education in the beautiful outdoor setting.

We want to thank Tom Brewster, a volunteer at Miller Woods, for creating the bird box kits for the students to assemble and take home. This is always a popular station and volunteer Jeanie Taylor shared some of the comments the kids made to her:

"I'm going to take this home and tell my mom I made it myself!"

"I forgot we were in school, I was just thinking about building the bird house."

"Can I put my stuff here? I have something in my shoe."

(Jeanie)) "That's no fun."

"No, but THIS was really fun, the bird box building!"

"Yeah, I was going to say looking at birds was my favorite activity, but I think building the boxes was the best. "

This station requires adult assistance to assemble the bird boxes and we want to THANK the following dedicated volunteers for giving up their time to help Tom at the Bird Box station: Brian Kotch; Connie Hutchison; Dave Riedman; Brad Smith; Dave Parker; Gloria Lutz; Jennie Sue Dunn-Dixon; Jeanie Taylor and Tom Lenon.  We couldn’t have done this without your helping hands!

Check out more pictures from the trip!


Volunteers Help Rebuild Bridge at Miller Woods

Volunteers gathered at Miller Woods on September 14, 2015 to lend a helping hand to rebuild a bridge on one of the trails.  James Riedman, Miller Woods property manager, was very grateful for the help and sends a big thank you to Paul Spencer, Brad Smith, Jim Culbert, Dave Riedman and Dave Parker. Our volunteers are key partners at Miller Woods and we appreciate ALL the time and hard work they dedicate to keeping this property beautiful and environmentally pristine.

Miller Woods Will Be Opening Soon! Message from Larry Ojua

The Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District (District) has completed its forest management project at Miller Woods, and is making final preparations for opening Miller Woods on Wednesday, September 2nd.   District staff members have been working closely with several dedicated volunteers to clear trails and prepare Miller Woods so it is safe and ready to accommodate hikers, runners, students, and other property visitors.

What Work Was Completed at Miller Woods?

The forest management project is part of the District’s long-range plan to create a mature and diverse forest at Miller Woods.  The District contracted with Miller Timber Services of Philomath, Oregon, to remove lower quality trees and thin the overstocked tree stands to create proper spacing that will promote healthy tree growth.  The work was completed using harvesting equipment and techniques that minimize soil compaction and disturbance to the forest floor, and protect wildlife habitat and water resources.

Thank You Linfield Students for Volunteering at Miller Woods

Eighteen Linfield students spent this morning up at Miller Woods clearing the trails and helping prepare the property for the re-opening at the end of the month. Linfield’s Serve Day sends students out to volunteer throughout McMinnville and we appreciate them choosing Miller Woods as one their choices. If you have a group that would enjoy volunteering at Miller Woods, we would love to have them. Send us an email to yamhillswcd@frontier.com or call 503-472-6403 and let’s set something up!