Back to School for Collaboration
Back to School for Collaboration

People Who Collaborate

Sam Artaiz is in a unique position in Harney County. He's in two roles, one with Harney Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and one with Harney District Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). In these roles Sam works closely with landowners to help determine how through either Harney SWCD or NRCS programs, private ranching wild flood irrigation infrastructure can be updated to improve water management across the land for the benefit of the ranches' business as well as for wildlife habitat. "The SWCD duties from a day to day perspective include site visits with landowners to discuss issues and solutions around wet meadow, riparian and stream habitats, scoping project with maps, cost estimates and timeframe. Next steps are working with a partner organization on how a project can be achieved, applying for grants, securing funding and managing contracts with engineer designs, scoping permitting process, and builders for projects. My NRCS duties are similar but funding, project scoping, engineering and contracting is all internal as it's a federal organization which provides services to its contracts. Once projects are contracted I help the landowner with aspects of the project with construction, certification and payments."  READ MORE.

Cote and Rose Dams Receive Much Needed Replacement

Two dams in Harney County are currently being replaced with structures that will allow landowners to divert water more efficiently and safely to benefit ranching and haying operations as well as benefit migratory birds and wildlife that use the region’s historic wet meadows.
The Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative, identified the Cote and Rose dams as structures in need of updating. Working in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited, which helped obtain funding, perform engineering, and hire contractors for the projects, the collaborative is in the final stages of completing the water diversion projects. Construction on both projects began in September and is scheduled for completion in November. This will ensure that the new structures will be in place and ready to work for the spring freshet. READ MORE.
Pictured above left to right, the Cote dam and Rose dam under construction. Photos by Brandon McMullen.

Southeast Oregon Wildfire Resiliency Project Earns More Funding

The Southeast Oregon Wildfire Resiliency Project will continue with round 2. Thanks to additional funding of $3.8 million from the Oregon Department of Forestry through the Landscape Resiliency Program, wildfire resiliency treatments, implemented by the Harney County Wildfire Collaborative, of more than 22,000 acres in southeast Oregon will take place in 2024-25. This expands the acreage treated for the Southeast Oregon Wildfire Resiliency Project to more than 100,000 acres in Harney and Malheur Counties.

Photo by Brandon McMullen.

Funding from Business Oregon

Frontier businesses in 5 counties in southeast Oregon have recently been awarded $350,000 from Business Oregon. High Desert Partnership and the Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative are partnering with EUVALCREE, the Burns Paiute Tribe, Northeast Oregon Economic Development District, Oregon Frontier Chamber of Commerce and Launch Pad Baker to provide technical assistance to their respective communities in an effort to help small businesses in these rural counties develop, grow and thrive. 

High School Students Find Ample Work Experience in Harney County

When Harney County patrons walk into any one of the many different businesses in Burns, there’s a good chance they’ll be assisted by a local high school student. It could be at a local restaurant, the hospital, a real estate office, the District Attorney’s office, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, or any number of businesses or agencies in Harney County. For many students, these internships provide opportunities to gain valuable experience in careers they may want to pursue after they graduate. READ MORE.
Photo courtesy of HARNEY COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE From L-R: Deputy Robby Tiller, Intern Merissa Medley, Deputy Cody Rusow, and Deputy Tanner Bennett. On May 18, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office presented Burns High School senior Merissa Medley with a certificate of completion of the Harney County Sheriff’s Office Justice Services Internship. 

Thank You Oregon Lottery

The Oregon Lottery team produced a beautiful, informative web page and video about the work of the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative.
One of this collaborative's funders is the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, who is funded through Lottery dollars. The Oregon Lottery makes it a practice to put a spotlight on projects and programs around the state that benefit from Lottery funding and the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative is one of those organizations currently spotlighted.
Thank you Oregon Lottery for producing this content and sharing with your audiences the remarkable collaborative work that is taking place in the Harney Basin.

Back to School for Collaboration

In mid-October we had the great privilege to host the latest cohort of The Executive Seminar in Natural Resources Leadership organized by Portland State University’s Hatfield School of Government. These leaders in natural resource management immersed themselves in the intricacies of High Desert Partnership collaboration and the complex natural resource issues and opportunities the collaboratives are actively addressing in Southeast Oregon. Sharing our world with this curious and perceptive group was immensely gratifying, the High Desert Partnership community has grown as a result of this experience.

We would also like to extend a special thanks to the partners and board members who took the time to share their perspectives and experiences with this group.

Land Water Sky Soul | Harney County

 2023 Upcoming Events 
Tuesday, November 14 Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Meeting
Tuesday, November 14 High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Wednesday, November 15 Harney County Forest Restoration Collabortive Meeting
Tuesday, November 28 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting
Tuesday, November 28 Youth Changing the Community Collaborative Meeting
Tuesday, December 19 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, December 20 High Desert Partnership Board Meeting

Six Collaboratives Supported By

High Desert Partnership

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