Salmon-Safe Applegate Field Day on March 10, 2007, focused on sustainable energy on the farm, including on-farm solar energy systems and biofuel alternatives. Salmon-Safe farmer Chris Jagger demonstrates the Allis Chalmers G cultivating tractor he converted from gas to electric power.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.
Salmon-Safe Applegate is the expansion of an innovative free market conservation initiative engaging southern Oregon's agricultural sector in protecting water quality and imperiled wild salmon. With the support of the Walker Foundation, the project expanded into adjacent Rogue River tributaries with the goal of building high value local markets for the region's agricultural products
Salmon-Safe Applegate is a collaborative effort with farmers, Applegate River Watershed Council, Oregon Water Trust, and other local stakeholders to protect an ecologically important tributary to southern Oregon's Rogue River. The project expands an emerging "Salmon-Safe Applegate" certification inititiative into a regional marketing identity, providing new retail, wholesale, and direct marketing opportunities for growers. The project also includes ongoing technical assistance and restoration planning for growers regarding enhancement of native biodiversity, riparian enhancement, water conservation, and other fish-friendly best management practices.
Key project outcomes included:
• Salmon-Safe and Applegate River Watershed Council (ARWC) held our third annual Salmon-Safe Applegate Field Day in March 2007, with representatives from 15 certified farms. The theme of this year’s field day was sustainable energy on the farm including on-farm soar energy systems and biofuel alternatives. Growers also toured stream restoration sites at Salmon-Safe certified Herb Pharm.
• Salmon-Safe growers and ARWC continued water quality and habitat monitoring programs at five pilot sites on Salmon-Safe farms in one of the nation’s first efforts by an eco-label to demonstrate the ecological impacts of a certification program. Monitoring work is focusing on tracking implementation & effectiveness of restoration projects and stream friendly farming practices. This monitoring framework is now being used as a template for water quality monitoring at Salmon-Safe vineyards in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
• Salmon-Safe and ARWC partnered Southern Oregon University to develop and implement market and grower surveys to identify and optimize program benefits to participating growers while demonstrating the marketplace benefits of Salmon-Safe participation. Results from 2007 surveys will be available by year-end.
• A new Salmon-Safe education program, "Cultivating Healthy Watersheds," began in three Applegate Valley schools this year. Approximately 200 students are learning about watershed management and sustainable agriculture in the classroom, then engaging in hands-on experience at local, Salmon Safe-certified farms.
• Salmon-Safe Applegate led numerous restoration projects at certified farms during 2007. For example, Blue Fox Farm completed a stream bioengineering project designed to enhance stream habitat and restore riparian areas. Full Circle Bison Ranch installed a salmon and stream friendly irrigation diversion in the place of a gravel "push-up" dam, which blocks fish passage in Williams Creek. Pacific Botanicals worked with Salmon-Safe and the Applegate River Watershed Council on an intensive effort to control invasive blackberries and restore native riparian vegetation communities along Cheney Creek, containing critical coho and Chinook salmon habitat. Riparian plantings were completed on several participating farms during January, February, and March. Herb Pharm placed wood and boulders in two seasonal streams to control erosion and planted trees and shrubs in adjacent riparian areas.
• Salmon-Safe Applegate is providing ongoing outreach and technical assistance to start similar market-based agricultural projects throughout southwestern Oregon, including Oregon’s southern coast watersheds. Salmon-Safe Applegate also was featured at a February 2007 conference entitled “New Market Opportunities for South Coast Agriculture,” sponsored by Oregon Environmental Council.
Farmers in southwestern Oregon face intensifying regulatory scrunity with the collapse of native salmon populations and long-term water shortages in the region. Salmon-Safe Applegate provides market incentives for Rogue Valley farmers to assist in the implementation of fish-friendly farming practices. During this expansion phase of the project, Salmon-Safe and our local partners are focused on building consumer demand for Salmon-Safe certified farm products and delivering marketplace benefits to participating landowners.
The place-based project template that Salmon-Safe has developed with our local partners in the Applegate is being transported to other Pacific Coast, Puget Sound, and interior Columbia Basin watersheds where landowners are seeking non-regulatory solutions to water quality and endangered species issues.
Salmon-Safe Applegate results and findings were shared with partnering conservation organizations and watershed councils at a July 2007 "Salmon-Safe Summit" in Portland, as well as though meetings and presentations at conferences throughout the year.
Project Link www.salmonsafe.org
(Check sent: 11/29/2006)