Urban Conservation
Wasco County Soil and Water Conservation District
Copyright (C) 2015 Wasco Co. SWCD All Rights Reserved
Our Mission: To work cooperatively with others to promote and encourage conservation and wise use of natural resources.
Originally, Urban Conservation was a term used to denote the conservation of historical landmarks and other important features of the urban landscape. However, over time the term has become multifaceted and has come to include the conservation of greenways, other natural features, and even agricultural gardening practices in the urban setting.

Part of the Urban Conservation movement is the inclusion of sustainable practices such as pervious pavement, natural areas devoted to beneficial insects and wildlife, rooftop gardens, community gardens, home gardening, and practices to handle water runoff in beneficial ways to avoid polluting nearby open waterways are just a few examples.

Urban Conservation
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Wasco Co. SWCD
USDA Service Center
2325 River Rd. Ste. 3
The Dalles, OR 97058
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Rain Gardens - NRCS Publication
Vegetable Garden Planning Guide - NRCS Publication
OSU Extension Master Gardeners - Gardening Resources
A rain garden is a shallow depression used to capture rainwater runoff from roofs, lawns, and other surfaces in order to allow it to perk safely into the ground rather than running off the property. Rain gardens can be planted with a variety of attractive plant species for beneficial insects. Depending on the soil, the area in the rain garden may stay wetter than the surrounding soils. However, the rain garden isn't designed to hold water longer than a few hours or a day at the most.

Bioswales - NRCS Publication
Bioswales and rain gardens are based on the same principles. However, bioswales are designed to withstand greater inputs of water like the amount that may run off a roadway. Here, in the arid climate of eastern Oregon, I've seen bioswales designed like dry, meandering streambeds with strategically located rocks to slow runoff from roofs. Drought tolerant native plant species and grasses are typically planted along the edges.
Pervious Pavement
There are a number of paving products specifically designed to be pervious to water and allow for water to soak through rather than run off. Though specialized products aren't always necessary. Regular paving stones with spaces inbetween also allows for water perculation. I've also seen broken concrete used as paving stones with low growing "steppable" mosses growing inbetween the cracks to capture water.
Edible Landscaping
Being able to grow your own food is a good step towards self-sufficiency. While you may not have room to grow acres of corn, you can learn to grow and preserve the basics. Lawns are the biggest wasters of water as well as a major urban source of nitrogen runoff into nearby creeks and streams. Reducing lawns and planting with food crops, herb gardens and beneficial insect habitat is an excellent way to practice a sustainable lifestyle.

Conservation Practices
Urban Agriculature
Vegetative Buffers along open waterways
If you live next to a creek or stream, planting a vegetative buffer between your yard and the water can help reduce residential runoff. A vegetative buffer can filter excess nitrogen, capture and filter runoff before it enters the waterway. These vegetative buffers can be an ideal place to install beneficial insect habitat for bees and butterflies.
Gardening Resources
Edible Landscaping Ideas
Create an Edible Landscape
Edible Landscape