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Dave Stadelman - Chair
Richard Leitz - Vice-Chair
Dan Roseburg - Auditor
Glenn Burkholder - Member
John Preston - Member


F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K

A GCCD Update

Fall 2018 - Edition 16

      Watch your TV scheduling in January!  Grant County Conservation District (GCCD) hosted the Washington Grown Film Crew along with Washington State Soil Health Committee to film the exciting work being done with Cover Crops on the Gies Farm south of Moses Lake.  Dale Gies and Sons, Joe and Mike, have been doing cutting edge research on the use of cover crops for biological control of soil born diseases and pests that are the plague of potato growers in the Columbia Basin.
     Washington Grown moderator Tomas Guzman does a great job interviewing Dale Gies and Harold Crose, associate supervisor with GCCD, along with member of the Washington State Soil Health committee, Lynn Bahrych, on this cutting edge work.   It’s always exciting to highlight the great work being done by farmers in the Columbia Basin and your Conservation District.  Set your calendars, you don’t want to miss this show.  For more info Contact GCCD. 
     Located in one of the largest agricultural areas in Washington, the Grant County Conservation District is used to providing technical service to farmers and ranchers who manage and grow crops on a large scale.
     That outlet for providing technical assistance changed slightly in a positive way during 2018 as the GCCD was awarded one of 19 national Urban Ag Grants funded by the NACD (National Association of Conservation Districts).
     The grant proposal was to provide urban agriculture opportunities to underserved seniors who couldn’t access local grocery stores for all of their food needs. 
     Various types of garden plots were set up at 8 different locations. Composted manure from 2 local dairies and 1 heifer feedlot was delivered to the retirement facilities.  The idea of sharing organics and residual nutrients with residents at retirement homes was a perfect partnership for assuring sustainable food production.
     Some of the garden beds were built at ground level. Raised beds and vertical garden boxes were also provided for seniors with minimal flexibility. Additionally, large containers were provided for those confined to wheelchairs.
     Irrigation, materials, and trucking was entirely provided by the grant.  Materials included, garden creepers, planting and cultivation tools, watering cans, hoses, nozzles, and replacement plants.
     The $50,000.00 grant was specifically for food production. Flowers and other ornamentals were not eligible. Indirect benefits of the project included healthier diets, and the fact that maintaining gardens is therapeutic, relaxing, and fulfilling.      
     All livestock operations that were approached liked the concept and agreed to participate. Several yards of compost were made available from the following farms:
  1. Royal Dairy in Royal City
  2. C&G Cattle Company in Othello
  3. Youngren Dairy in Quincy 
     Extra compost was also available and delivered to community gardens in Moses Lake and in Othello. A vertical garden set up with irrigation was set up and planted at an Alzheimer care facility in Moses Lake.  Local facilities participating in the project included:
  1. Coventry House in Othello
  2. Pioneer Village in Moses Lake
  3. Brooksdale care facility in Moses Lake
  4. The Cambridge house in Quincy
  5. Monroe/Genesis assisted living in Moses Lake
  6. Columbia Crest Center in Moses Lake
  7. McKay Healthcare/rehab in Soap Lake
  8. Soap Lake Community Gardens
  9. Summerwood Alzheimer Special Care Center
  10. Moses Lake Community Garden
  11. Othello Community Garden
     Volunteers helped with distributing the compost and planting the gardens.  The local walleye club located in Moses Lake provided many volunteer hours building, and delivering the raised gardens and vertical gardens.
     The gardening season has now passed and the gardens are idle until spring. All in all, it was a successful and beneficial project. Healthy produce was grown for the residents. Of course a lot was to be learned from a large project like this. Obstacles like dealing with “hot” compost, infrequent watering, and seed washout slowed the gardening down a bit. Some of the sites had closed courtyards for security reasons and the compost had to brought in through hallways.  Heavy plastic was laid down beforehand so that carpeting stayed clean and cleanup could be taken care of easily.
     The gardening materials supplied to each site are to stay with the facilities so that they may be used for several years to assure the sustainability of the project.
     The seasons changing, and as the temperature drops, leaves are also falling.  It’s tempting to bust out the rake and get to work cleaning up your lawn from the mess the trees have created.  Maybe you want to make a leaf pile to jump in or just want one final look at your green lawn.  Something you may not be aware of when you are raking up and disposing of your leaves is that the leaf litter can be put to beneficial use.  Left alone, leaves provide a safe habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects to over-winter, leaving a healthy population for next spring to emerge and get to work pollinating your garden and devouring pesky pest insects.  Putting leaves to work as compost is great way of adding organic material to your garden and around trees and shrubs in your landscape. Composting can also provide habitat for insects that are often a crucial component of the food chain and ecosystem, and recent reports have shown that their populations are in decline.  They need all the help they can get to support healthy, sustainable populations to continue to provide the thankless tasks of pollination and pest control.  This fall I invite you to not think of your leaves as a mess or trash, but as an asset to be put to use in your garden and landscape.
    The Conservation Planners at the Grant County Conservation District applied for the Department of Ecology’s Water Quality Combined Financial Assistance funding program in order to develop a watershed plan for Sand Hollow Creek and plan water quality improvement Best Management Practices (BMPs) with landowners adjacent to the channels flowing into Sand Hollow Creek. The proposed Sand Hollow Watershed Management Project will also have a large education and outreach component. The Grant County Conservation District will develop partnerships in watershed protection by educating stakeholders on the issues, and encouraging them to participate in planning and implementing best management practices.
     The proposed project also provides the opportunity for comprehensive watershed planning that could be scaled to fit projects with larger scopes. It is also the opportune project to bring different stakeholders together to educate and provide technical assistance to landowners and agricultural producers in the BMPs for addressing water quality issues. The BMPs include livestock exclusion fencing, livestock off-stream watering facilities, irrigation water management, soil testing, ground and surface water protection through nutrient management, etc.
     Although the Sand Hollow watershed is not the largest impaired water body in Grant County, it is one of the largest water bodies that does not have a watershed plan under development. Portions of Sand Hollow Creek also provide habitat and spawning potential for anadromous fish species. Adult steelhead and spawning Chinook are prevalent species in Sand Hollow, and sockeye salmon are rare but have been known to use the creek for habitat. Anadromous fish species are negatively impacted by irregularities in temperature and pH, both of which are issues that impair Sand Hollow Creek. The proposed project will also act as a benchmark for water quality issues that have not been formally assessed. Stakeholders have communicated concerns with soil erosion and increased sediment delivery to Sand Hollow Creek.
    Washington State Conservation Commission director, Mark Clark, presented GCCD as the District of the Year at the annual North Central Washington Area Association meeting in Wenatchee.   The award is given to the Conservation District that exhibits excellence in leadership and performance in carrying out conservation work in their District. 
     Great job to all the staff and supervisors working hard to accomplish the goals set by the district leading to this award.  
Who is this cowboy?  
John Preston, GCCD Supervisor, at the National Association of Conservation Districts conference held in mid-September in Kennewick.  
Grant County Conservation District
Annual Meeting
December 12th, 8:30-1:00
Grant County Public Works, 124 Enterprise, Ephrata, WA 98823
Featured speaker:  Representative Tom Dent.
Free Lunch and Credits available.  Check our website for updated information.

You should have received a flyer in the mail about protecting critical areas in Grant County.  We are seeking producer participation to sign-up for a confidential, tailored to your operation, inventory plan.  We need to track the Best Management Practices being applied to your land.  Some examples of those practices include:  Irrigation water management, pest management, nutrient management, soil testing, reduced tillage, cover crops, wildlife habitat. 

Contact Tom English by EMAIL or phone (509) 765-9618 or visit our office 1107 S Juniper Dr., Moses Lake, WA 98837 or electronically on our website at
Copyright © 2014. The Conservation Connection, Grant County Conservation District. All rights reserved.

(509) 765-9618

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Grant County Conservation District · 1107 S Juniper Dr. · Moses Lake, WA 98837 · USA

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