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Soil and water district snags pair of grants

Nearly $1 million in funding will fight invasive weeds, add stream buffers

Two recent funding awards to the Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District have brought nearly $1 million to Washington County to “improve and protect watershed health,” according to SWCD Outreach Program Manager Jennifer Nelson.

“The resulting work will bolster the

local economy, improve public well-being, and strengthen our community while

protecting natural resources,” Nelson


On Feb. 12, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an award of $936,000 to the Tualatin SWCD and its partners for conservation work in the Dairy Creek and McKay Creek watersheds. The funding is part of USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program and is one of just 84 awards nationwide, including seven in Oregon. The program helps communities improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

SWCD goals are to plant streamside buffers along 20 miles of stream along agricultural lands where they are needed; im-

prove irrigation efficiency on 170 acres of high priority sites; decrease manure runoff from five livestock operations; and re-

store 20 acres of wetland in floodplain


In addition, the Oregon State Weed Board announced 2016 grant awards Feb. 17, fully funding a SWCD request for $49,334 to combat the spread of invasive weeds such as garlic mustard, knotweed and giant hogweed, which “are expensive to control, interfere with agriculture, disrupt natural areas, reduce wildlife habit and in some cases pose a direct threat to human health,” said Nelson, who added those species cost the state of Oregon $83.5 million annually to combat.

Along with the Tualatin Watershed Weed Watchers — which comprises Clean Water Services, the Tualatin River Watershed Council and the Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Department — the SWCD works to fight invasive weeds.