April 30, 2012. Salem, Oregon – The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association participated in a tour of ranch/small woodlands operations organized by and for the Mid-Coast TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) Advisory Committee on Friday April 27th at 9 am. This tour focused on streamside fencing and vegetation and offered tangible examples of work being done to promote desired vegetation growth and stream protection by ranchers and woodland owners.

A variety of state agency officials, landowners, county and federal officials made the visit to Lincoln City. A goal of this tour was to educate the advisory committee on the work being done on the ground in the area of water stewardship, protection of riparian areas and careful management of land to prevent undue water pollution. Often, ranchers and landowners do this conservation work without assistance from outside organizations. However, these projects are making a direct and positive impact to the environmental integrity of the land.

Don Kessi, a property owner and cattleman from Big Elk Creek in the Yaquina-Alsea area commented, “I have been asked, are environmental things being planned for and accomplished? And yes, all around the state… I see that this is happening in my industry.”

Ray Jaindl, with the Department of Agriculture, shared, “Every agriculture site is different and every water shed is different. With the flexibility in the land based condition rules, agriculture has continued to provide improvements in water quality.” Stacy Polkowske, with the Lincoln County Soil & Water Conservation District, added, “The Soil and Water Conservation District helps landowners connect with the government entities to decide what they can do on their land and we have been very active in this area.”

Of particular note was the amount of work being done by ranchers to enhance watersheds and riparian environments without any financial assistance or support. These efforts increase the overall business costs for the rancher but are being undertaken because it’s the right thing to do. The tour demonstrated that there are many projects in place that are a ‘win-win’ for the landowner and the environment and should be supported – without instead defaulting to greater regulation. Richard Huff, a landowner, was able to provide examples of this to the group.

The tour was a success with a hands-on view offered of conservation efforts being made by landowners to improve water quality and condition.

Photos from the tour are attached.

To learn more about the presentation, speakers and landowners, please contact Kay Teisl, Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, at 503-361-8941 or via email at kayteisl@orcattle.com”> kayteisl@orcattle.com.