People Who Collaborate

Working as a Southern Oregon/North Eastern California (SONEC) Partner Biologist, Carlton Strough is an affiliate with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and a new resident to Harney County having been in the area since late 2017. When Carlton isn’t fly fishing, hunting and traveling across the country to watch a big game he spends his days helping landowners increase their water control and water-use efficiency. Read this Q&A to learn about his work in Harney County with the NRCS and his participation with the Harney Basin Wetland Initiative.
Also, following this profile about Carlton learn about the water management and fencing projects at LY Ranch that Carlton has been managing through NRCS with a ranching family for the past couple years.

What A Difference A Headgate Can Make

When a rancher or farmer thinks about a succession plan it’s usually thought of in terms of business structure and setting up the business for the next generation. Jennifer Williams and her husband Mike who own and ranch the LY Ranch in Harney County, Oregon with their son Arly, have these plans in place but there was another type of succession plan to consider, their water succession plan. Thinking about their son and his wife and their future at LY Ranch, Jennifer and Mike wanted to leave them with a sound infrastructure that would benefit their business, help to bring back birds and also benefit the many ranches that are downstream from them. “[Some may perceive that ranchers] don’t care about the animals that live here, that we just care about the cows and that’s not how it goes. It’s a balance, if you don’t take care of what you have it’s going to go away, it’s going to break that cycle.” Please read more . . . 
The photo above is a new head gate that is making it possible for water to reach this rancher's property where there was previously no water.

*The LY Ranch is participating in a community science project, Project IBIS, running April - June. People are asked to drive by their place on HWY 78 in Harney County and stop every ½ mile while tracking the birds they see through the eBird app. You can learn more about Project IBIS by contacting Portland Audubon's Eastern Oregon Field Coordinator, Teresa Wicks at

What You See In The Three Photos Above

Left: A head gate in the distance with a new concrete diversion structure to more effectively move the water to this gate. This gate can be opened as needed to flood the meadow beyond with water.

Middle: A concrete water diversion structure that enables water flow to be managed in different directions as to where water is needed.

Right: This newly cleared and defined irrigation ditch will more efficiently convey water to the LY Ranch.
Photos provided by Jeremy Hill.

Harney County Migratory Bird Festival

April 11-14 | Register Now
Photo of a Western Grebe taken in 1908. Source: Oregon Encyclopedia
LOCALS ONLY TOUR, Thursday, April 11, 1-5pm
"This tour is just for our local Harney County residents! Join High Desert Partnership's Ecological Coordinator Ben Cate and Ducks Unlimited Biologist Chris Colson as they take you around the basin for an afternoon of birding and learning about the restoration work being done. Come along for a fun ride and learn what is happening in your backyard!" FULL

RESTORATION BIRDING, Saturday, April 13, 8am-3pm
"Go bird watching with Ben Cate, High Desert Partnership's Ecological Coordinator and Chris Colson, Ducks Unlimited Biologist. Cate and Colson will help you gain a better understanding of the role the Harney Basin plays in the Pacific Flyway and the wetland/floodplain restoration efforts in the area, aimed at improving habitat for migratory birds. FULL
CATTLEWOMEN'S WORKING RANCH TOUR, Saturday, April 13, 7:30am-2:30pm
"Travel to a working cattle ranch with members of the Harney County Cattlewomen as your hosts. Meet the ranch owners – multi-generational, family ranchers – who will explain ranch management techniques that are sustainable and support wildlife, especially migratory birds, in the Harney Basin. Local range scientists from the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center will provide a presentation on the work they do and the benefits to wildlife as well. Family friendly." ONE SPOT AVAILABLE

Bird Fest For Kids

For the third year in a row High Desert Partnership will host Fair-in-the-Field, a fun and exciting bird festival event especially for kids. This year it's Thursday, April 11, 9am-2pm at the Eastern Oregon Agriculture Research Center.
Thanks to several partners this event will showcase projects being conducted in the Harney Basin's wetlands, giving students hands-on activities and glimpses in to land management careers.

True Neighbor

Harney County is known for "full contact citizenship" and we want to recognize those giving to this community and making us stronger every day.

To do this we're kicking off the TRUE NEIGHBOR program this month. 

We're excited to announce that Kate Marsh is the first recipient, for her dedication to the arts. Kate is always ready to help with anything that will expand arts in our community. A few examples: involvement in cultural development by participating on the board of the county’s Oregon Cultural Trust-funded Cultural Coalition which awards grants to support cultural awareness, education, and access; she gathered artist friends together and opened Gallery 15 downtown to give local artists a venue to share and market their work; was the instigator of the Frontier Art Center in which art and crafts classes and skill development take place for youth and adults; leads and supports youth and adult writing development through a 4-H Creative Writing club and the Writers Guild of Harney County; and serves on the board of the Community Support Foundation which assists several local projects and organizations, including the community garden and the Arts and Crafts Association.

Phew! We don't know when Kate sleeps but we do know, Kate doesn’t take herself too seriously, you can always count on her for an easy laugh and that's another great reason she's our first TRUE NEIGHBOR.
Photo by Jeremy Hill of Kate Marsh with High Desert Partnership Executive Director, Brenda Smith.

Upcoming Events  

Thursday-Sunday, April 11-14  | Harney County Migratory Bird Festival
Wednesday, April 17 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Sunday, May 5 | Malheur Symphony
Tuesday, May 7 | Harney County Restoration Collaborative Meeting 
Wednesday, May 15 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Thursday, May 23 | Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, June 12 | Harney County Restoration Collaborative Meeting 
Wednesday, June 19 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Thursday, June 20 | Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative Collaborative Meeting

The Harney County Way

Reflections from The Harney County Way May 2018 Collaborative Summit.
You can be the difference!
Donate today and help us strengthen Harney County through collaboration. 
Make An Impact
Twitter Facebook Instagram

Sagebrush Collaboration

A heavily researched story by professor and author Peter Walker of the strength and resilience of Harney County as the community faced a challenge it could have never anticipated.
Thanks to The Ford Family Foundation for adding Sagebrush Collaboration to their Select Books program. Select Books is an amazing program providing resources to educate and help us make a difference in our communities. If you live in Oregon or Siskiyou County, CA "you may order one copy of this book at NO CHARGE if you provide feedback about it."
Also, books can be purchased through Oregon State University PressThe Duck Store and Amazon

Subscribe to our email list.