Crook County has an area of 2,991 square miles, or 1.9 million acres.
Ninety-six percent of the county is within the Deschutes River Basin. Over 50
percent of the county is publicly owned. The private land is 900 thousand acres
and made up of 71% rangeland, 4% forest, 7% irrigated and 8% dryland crop. The
NRCS office, located in Redmond, offers voluntary technical and financial
assistance to private landowners interested in natural resource conservation
improvements. Historically the NRCS has focused on rangeland and irrigation
improvements on private land. The economy is based on livestock, agriculture,
forest products, recreation, manufacturing and wholesale trade.
NRCS Local Conservation Activities and Strategies
The major resource concerns identified by the local conservation partnership
- Degraded Plant Condition,
- Threatened and Endangered Fish and Wildlife Species,
- Degraded Rangeland Hydrologic Cycle
Seventy percent of the privately owned land within Crook County is rangeland.
Water quantity and plant health and vigor are major attributes of healthy
rangeland and critical to maintaining a healthy hydrologic cycle. Crook County
is experiencing declining levels of rangeland health with a major cause being
invasion of western juniper trees. This invasion of trees into non-historic
areas degrades water quantity and plant health. Crook County has about 350,000
acres of privately owned rangeland that have been invaded with Juniper trees.
There are springs, creeks and rivers throughout these juniper dominated
rangeland areas. In many cases these water sources have been greatly reduced by
the change in plant community and the associated downward shift in the
hydrologic cycle. It has been scientifically proven that juniper encroachment
can degrade the hydrologic function of rangeland and it is known that juniper
control in sagebrush/steppe habitats can immediately improve sage grouse habitat.
NRCS Programs Available
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP):
- Financial and technical assistance for juniper removal and sage
grouse habitat improvements within prioritized Sage Grouse Initiative
- Financial and technical assistance for juniper removal and upland
habitat improvements within the Conant Creek Watershed priority area.
- Seasonal High Tunnel
- Financial and technical assistance for installing high tunnels to extend
effective growing season.
- EQIP Organic Initiative
- Financial and technical assistance for conversion to organic farming or
improving exiting organic operations.
- Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP):
- Financial and technical assistance for conservation stewardship and
Additional Conservation Resources Available
Conservation agencies in the region are very cooperative and routinely work
together with private landowners to accomplish resource enhancement projects.
The following agencies provide assistance in planning, funding or implementing
conservation and restoration projects:
- Crook Soil and Water Conservation District – upland and riparian
- Crooked River Watershed Council – riparian and upland projects
- Oregon Department of Forestry – forest related projects
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife – mule deer and other wildlife
Local Work Group Updates
The Crook County Local Work Group meets to discuss natural resource priorities
and provide input to NRCS on conservation programs. If you are interested in
participating, please contact the NRCS District Conservationist listed below.
For meeting information, please
Paulina, Ore. – One hundred million years ago during the earth’s
cretaceous period, Gary Bedortha’s ranchland was a shallow ocean
supporting a rich community of sea life. Today, that same land rises
5,000 feet above sea level, and supports a different kind of ecosystem –
one rich with sagebrush, bitter brush, juniper, elk, deer, snakes,
bobcats, coyotes, cougars, eagles, hawks and the sage-grouse.
printable copy (PDF 4.04MB)
EQIP, SGI, John Day Umatilla Basin
Clickable Map of SNOTEL Sites
For Additional Assistance Contact
Redmond Service Center
625 SE Salmon Avenue, Suite 4
Redmond, Oregon 97756-9580
NRCS District Conservationist: Chris Mundy, (541) 923-4358 ext. 112
Crook County SWCD, (541) 447-3548
Invasive juniper were removed from this sagebrush steppe community to restore
sage grouse habitat in Crook County Oregon