Our goal is to reduce the amount of sediment that gets into irrigation ditches and Oregon waterways. What kinds of projects are we doing? We have installed or are installing these different practices.
Practices for livestock producers:
- Roof Runoff. Rain is routed via pvc pipe into two livestock watering tanks, and the overflow goes directly into a drywell and moves excess water away from the building and a heavy use area.
- Cross Fencing. This project was the installation of fencing to create paddocks and exclude livestock and horses from wet areas.
- Paddocks can be rotationally grazed moving animals when forage levels are reduced. Paddocks have gates for livestock and equipment mobility and stock tanks strategically located. Smaller paddocks allow for better brush management as well.
- Heavy Use Areas provide a winter confinement area, this limits horse and livestock access to the pasture, which stops trampling and grazing pressure when soils are wet. It also eliminates manure deposition in fields when there is insufficient biotic activity to incorporate manure into soil. Vegetative cover can increase while erosion and compaction decreases as well as delivery of sediment, nutrients, and bacteria into the irrigation ditch.
- Animal trails and walkways. These are installed to reduce soil erosion and improve water quality in Mill Creek. The surfaces are crowned or out sloped as needed. Sensitivity of the animal’s feet, with respect to the intended purpose of the trail or walkway, is included as a design parameter in selecting the surface material for the trail.
- Gate openings and lane layouts allow for efficient flow of animals with the least amount of stress.
Practices for crop producers
- Pipeline. This pipeline project was the second one completed on this farm in the Mill Creek Watershed. Aged and damaged pipes were leaking, causing saturated areas in the crop fields. This higher efficiency sealed mainline system was installed to integrate with an existing system for over 50 acres of rotational row crop ground.
- Micro Irrigation. Two projects were completed on this farm including a mainline, with sub-mainlines and later lines over 75 rows, and a disc filter system and reducing valves. The second phase of the project installed the drip irrigation in four zones to supply a grape vineyard and cherry and peach orchards.
- Cover Crop and Conservation Cover. These two highly effective practices save soil and help keep sediment out of waterways. Staff promoted a highly successful cover crop program in Mill Creek and the district for the fiscal year 2019-2020.
- Brush Management
- Herbaceous Weed Control
The Mill Creek success story is that the district has had our most successful year and biennium ever. Local farmers who are dedicated to saving soil and water, combined with a strong technical staff whose goal is to get conservation projects on the ground have made it possible to do almost four times the number projects that the district we had in the last 6 years combined!