Snowpack in the Harney Basin Looks Promising
Snowpack in the Harney Basin Looks Promising

People Who Collaborate

As coordinator for the Harney County Watershed Council Karen Moon keeps a full slate of work in front of her as the Council "works to improve watershed health for the benefit of our communities and the environment." As Karen describes it, "Council members have worked since the early 2000’s to bring to light the groundwater declines that were happening in portions of the basin. This resulted in the Oregon Water Resources Department calling a halt to groundwater permits in 2015/16 and conducting the Harney Basin Groundwater Study with USGS.  READ MORE.

How Does a HDP Collaborative Form?

Here at HDP we're often asked what makes HDP collaboration distinct. We've written a simple guide about it, the National Policy Consensus Center studied our work and in 2019 published Strengthening Your Community by Tackling Challenges Together: Lessons Learned from High Desert Partnership and now, each month through this newsletter we'll attempt to break down the critical elements of HDP collaboration. 

So, how does a HDP collaborative form? What is the impetus for forming a collaborative and how does one function? This month we'll start with why a collaborative forms.

It begins with the need to address a complex issue or take advantage of an opportunity. Here in Harney County a need will arise from the community and HDP either identifies the need or a community member brings it to HDP. When this happens, the HDP board has conversations about the need. Is there energy within the community to work together on the issue or opportunity? Are there a range of viewpoints? Can HDP provide the support needed to help the possible collaborative succeed? 

Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative is a great example of this model. The small business community of Harney County needs support and the community wants to work together to provide support and opportunities to Harney frontier small businesses. As a result, Biz Harney was born in 2017 and monthly convenes a diverse group of people from within and outside of Harney County all driven to help Harney small businesses thrive.

Current Snowpack Numbers are Promising in the Harney Basin

 As of Jan. 23, the Harney Basin snowpack was at 114 percent of normal, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service interactive snow water equivalent map website, which can be found here. The map is based on about 30 years of data and provides detailed information on sites throughout the western United States and into British Columbia.

Last year at this time, the snowpack in the Harney Basin was a very robust 176 percent of normal. While ranchers and researchers have noted that we haven’t had the early snowstorms in November and December as we did last year, this year’s numbers still give reason for locals to be optimistic about the water year. READ MORE.

Screenshots below taken Jan 29 from the NRCS National Weather and Climate Center show snowpack for Silvies and Fish Creek.

Harney County Migratory Bird Festival

Spend an amazing weekend witnessing the spectacular spring migration in the Harney Basin of Southeast Oregon. View thousands of migratory birds as they rest and feed in the wide-open spaces of Oregon's high desert. The festival offers non-stop birding activities as well as historical and cultural information.  
Register for tours and events HERE.
Photo by Brandon McMullen
*The Harney Basin, a critical migratory bird rest stop along the Pacific Flyway, is a landscape where private ranch lands and wildlife habitat coexist. Check out this short film and web page from The Oregon Lottery, who funds the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, a long-standing supporter of the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative.

Oregon Producers Feed Oregon

Thanks to the Oregon Food Bank, nine farmers and ranchers in Harney County are set to receive $25,000 collectively to support their efforts in supplying locally grown and raised food to the community food bank.
This funding, facilitated by the Harney Food Systems group, an initiative of the Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative, is made available through the Oregon Producers Feed Oregon Communities program. Gratitude goes out once more to the Oregon Food Bank for their support.
Photo by rancher and photographer Susan Doverspike.
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 2024 Upcoming Events 
Tuesday, February 13Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, February 14 Harney County Forest Restoration Collaborative Meeting
Tuesday, February 20 Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, February 21High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Tuesday, February 27 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting 
Wednesday, March 20High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Tuesday, March 26 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting 
Tuesday, March 26 Youth Changing the Community Collaborative Meeting 
Wednesday, April 10Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative Meeting
Thursday, April 11 - Sunday, April 14 | Harney County Migratory Bird Festival

Six Collaboratives Supported By

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