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Strategic Direction

Mission Statement

To maximize economic and environmental watershed values for Wheeler County residents by developing, conserving, and protecting water, soil, plant structures, and other natural resources.

The vision of Wheeler Soil and Water Conservation District is to be an organization that:

Improves the health of the watersheds through holistic measures that enhance water quality and quantity, soil health, and conservation for beneficial uses.

  • Promote implementation of the Mid-John Day Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plan
  • Promote and implement USDA Programs
  • Assist and promote watershed council activity
  • Seek funding for projects
  • Provide technical assistance to the public
  • Set strategic priority work areas
  • Implement district projects
  • Initiate a major offensive against invasive species
  • Form or maintain partnerships with federal, state, and local agencies and tribes
  • Promote relevant research and monitoring
  • Conduct watershed assessments/action plans/conservation planning

Provides education and outreach to the public.

  • Produce newsletters and annual reports
  • Organize tours and workshops for students, landowners, and land managers
  • Participate in community activities
  • Partner with local schools to further natural resource educational opportunities
  • Develop funding source(s) for public education activities
  • Provide AgWQMAP fact sheets and information for distribution

Manage the business of the district in an efficient and effective manner.

  • Encourage staff and director development by attending workshops, conventions, and training sessions
  • Meet state filing requirements for budget, audit, and reports
  • Hold monthly board meetings and an annual meeting
  • Seek secure funding by exploring creative and productive ways to finance district operations and fund employee positions
  • Develop operational policies & procedures
Core Values 

The values the District strives to meet are:

  • A voluntary, collaborative, local, non-regulatory approach to solving problems
  • The importance of a healthy environment to the economy of our area
  • Open space and other environmental benefits provided by agriculture and forest landowners
  • Respect for the property rights, confidentiality, decisions, and experience of all landowners/clients
  • Community partnerships and the resources/expertise made available through these collaborative relationships
  • Education as a means to promote environmental stewardship
  • Helpful, courteous, prompt customer service
  • Communication with the public and within the office
  • Well-trained staff that is committed to leadership and professionalism
  • Conservation as a part of our daily operation
  • Fiscal responsibility with public funds
  • Innovative solutions to natural resource issues
  • Identifying potential long term local risks to our communities
Guiding Principles 

Principles that guide the District’s services, programs, and administrative operations are:

  • Private landowners will solve their conservation and environment problems voluntarily if given incentives, technical assistance, and education.
  • Private landowners have a right to maximize the economic profitability of their land. They also have a responsibility to use natural resources in a wise and responsible manner.
  • Resource management is best achieved with a voluntary, locally-led, and holistic approach dealing with watersheds.
  • Natural resource conservation efforts can be planned and implemented to sustain long-term healthy, economically viable, productive land uses.
  • We have independent responsibilities, but we recognize our dependence on others to deliver programs successfully.
  • We form partnerships dedicated to common principles, goals, and objectives. These partnerships ideally include communications, coordination, joint decision making when possible, mutual support, and shared leadership in collaborative efforts.
  • We value the relationships with our partners who have common goals, while respecting the differences in mission, cultures, and targets.
  • We recognize the need for appropriate regulation and that the best results will occur when an industry regulates and polices itself.
  • We believe enduring conservation is achieved only by the cooperative efforts of individuals, agencies, and organizations working together.
  • We believe a locally led, watershed-based approach to resource management on private lands is key to conserving natural resources.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement 

At Wheeler Soil and Water Conservation District, we understand that conservation and social justice are interconnected, and that more inclusive conservation efforts are necessary to ensure lasting and equitable outcomes. We cannot authentically and effectively advance our mission to help people care for land and water without also caring about the people. Everyone deserves a healthy environment and should have a voice in shaping what that means for their communities. We are committed to engaging and listening to all residents of Wheeler County as full and equal partners with respect for the history, culture, and traditions of each community. We commit to acting in solidarity and with purposeful mutual support of all partners engaging in natural resources conservation. We pledge to make Wheeler SWCD an accessible and inclusive organization where each person we engage feels valued, supported, and safe to be their authentic self.