Page 1

a guide to country living

Your New Home A rich and rewarding rural life is worth taking the time to learn about


Section 1 Managing Your Land 20 From gardening to farming: you are in charge of what comes from your own land

Section 2 Resource Guide 53 County, state and federal contact information

Section 3

Section One


elcome home

It is easy to understand why people discover Crook County and make it a place to call home. The beautiful Ochoco Mountains, popular recreational reservoirs and diverse terrain of forests, rangeland and irrigated agricultural fields generate a lifestyle that many people dream of living.

Your New Home Welcome Home About Crook County Being a Good Neighbor Playing in Crook County Government Services Don’t Fence Me In Special Tax Assessments Rural Utilities & Amenities

3 4 6 9 10 12 14 16

If you have found your way to Crook County, welcome to a county rich in history and founded on a rural lifestyle. This Rural Living Handbook is your guide to learn about the community and gain an understanding for the way of life in a land where the major industries include livestock and crop production, forest products, manufacturing and tourism.

Location / Demographics

Section One


History Crook County was established in 1882. It was created from the southern part of Wasco County and named after U.S. Army Major General George Crook, a hero of the Snake Indian Wars. Originally 8,600 square miles in size, Crook County was reduced to 2,986 square miles with the formation of Jefferson County in 1914 and Deschutes County in 1916.

At first referred to as the Ochoco Country, fur trappers from the Hudson’s Bay Company are believed to be the first Europeans to visit the region. Peter Skene Ogden led an expedition of trappers and others through the area several times from 1825 through 1827. A range of mountains, a national forest, a reservoir, a creek and several other geographic features in the county are named Ochoco. Prineville, founded in 1868, is Central Oregon’s oldest city and Crook County’s only incorporated town. Prineville is the county seat and named in honor of Barney Prine, the town’s first merchant. The picturesque stone courthouse, located in the middle of Prineville, was completed in 1909 and still serves as the Crook County Courthouse.

Other communities established in the county include Paulina, Post, Powell Butte and Lone Pine. Paulina, 50 miles east of Prineville, was named for a Paiute Indian chief and is home to some of the best cattle country in Oregon. Post, a general store and post office, is known as the “center of the state.” The official geologic marker noting this spot is located near the store. Powell Butte was established in 1909 when a post office was built. The butte was named for John and Emily Powell, settlers who came from Linn County to raise livestock in the 1880s. Cattle, sheep and horse ranching were the region’s first industries. In the mid-1890s logging and wood products became important. Small mills dotted the forest, producing lumber mostly for local needs. The citizens of Prineville voted to build their own railroad in 1918. Larger mills were built in the late 1930s and Prineville became known as “the largest ponderosa pine shipping center in the world.” Today, Prineville’s sawmills are gone, but the wood products industry continues to be a major employer. From window casings to unfinished furniture, Prineville’s wood manufacturers ship their products world-wide.

Irrigation turned the desert green. Homesteaders diverted water from the region’s streams in the mid-1800s to produce hay for livestock. Ochoco Irrigation District and Central Oregon Irrigation District organized landowners in the early 1900s to complete projects resulting in reservoirs for water use with canals and ditches to distribute the water over thousands of acres. Ochoco Irrigation District built Ochoco Reservoir in 1918. Prineville Reservoir was authorized as a Bureau of Reclamation project in 1958 and construction was completed in 1961. Today these projects store water for the region’s agricultural fields, provide flood control, boating and fishing recreation, and in the future, perhaps hydro-power. Today, Crook County’s economy centers around manufacturing, trade and government, irrigated crops, livestock production and recreation/tourism services. Crook County’s natural resources have been enjoyed by many generations. These natural resources have provided jobs and a good place to raise kids, an abundance of wildlife and fish, and unique habitats for rare or endangered plant and animal species.

Geographically, Crook County is located in the center of Oregon. It is bordered by Jefferson and Wheeler counties to the north, Grant and Harney counties to the east and Deschutes County to the south and west. It sits on the northern edge of the Great Basin, a large geographic area covering parts of Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. It sits on the southwestern edge of the Blue Mountains and the northeastern edge of the volcanic influence of Mt. Mazama (Crater Lake) and Newberry Volcano. This unique geographic position supports diverse forests, deserts, sagebrush plant communities and broad valley bottoms. Crook County is 1,907,200 acres in size, ranking 12th largest among Oregon’s 36 counties. Most of


Prineville’s elevation is 2,868 feet and it averages 10.5 inches of precipitation per year. Annual variation in precipitation ranges from less than eight inches per year in the southwest corner of the county to more than 30 inches in the higher elevations of the Ochoco Mountains.

Average temperatures range from 31.5° F in January to 64.5° F in July and August. Temperature extremes range from –35° F to +119° F. Nights are generally cool with moderate daytime temperatures. Generally,

the county (96 percent) is part of the Deschutes River Basin. The Crooked River, the major river system, merges into the Deschutes River at Lake Billy Chinook. Major tributaries to the Crooked River include McKay Creek, Ochoco Creek, North Fork Crooked River, Beaver Creek, Camp Creek and Bear Creek.

Of the county’s approximately two million acres, 52 percent is public with the remaining 48 percent private land. Public lands are largely managed by the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management. Other parcels of public land are under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Reclamation, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Division of State

the growing season will last 90 to 110 days but a review of historical temperature data shows that killing frosts (–29° F) can occur any time during the summer months. Crook County is semi-arid with 60 to 80 percent of the annual precipitation occurring during the winter and early spring months (October – April). Most precipitation comes as snow with spring precipitation occurring as rain. Sporadic summer thunderstorms can cause considerable damage to property and natural resources.

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Lands, Oregon Department of Transportation and Crook County.

Rangelands (non-irrigated, non-forested lands) make up most of the county’s private lands (705,000 acres). Irrigated cropland (78,359 acres) and private woodlands (77,671 acres) are the other primary uses of private land in the county. Irrigated pasture (39,000 acres), miscellaneous uses (28,600 acres) and non-irrigated cropland (5,731 acres) round out the balance of land uses. Native Americans were the first to travel and live in the area. European settlers began to establish permanent residence in the mid-1800s. In 2008 Crook County’s population was in excess of 25,000 people.

The Oregon Climate Service ( provides a place to look for historical weather data. Long term (30 – 100 years) weather stations reporting daily temperature and precipitation for Crook County are Barnes Station (southeast part of the county since 1961), Paulina (east end of the county since 1962), Ochoco Ranger Station (north end of the county since 1936) and Prineville (since 1910). Other station locations include Brothers (east Deschutes County), Bend, Redmond and Grizzly.


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communitiEs aRE maDE up oF FRiEnDs,

Family anD nEighboRs whERE EvERyboDy knows youR namE. as mEmbERs oF thE cRook county community, wE unDERstanD how to bE gooD nEighboRs to onE anothER anD hopE that you also will Fit Right in.



with thE Existing Daily anD sEasonal RoutinEs oF RuRal EntERpRisEs along with thE vaRious chaRactERistics (e.g. oDoR, noisE anD activitiEs) that go along with thE RuRal tasks oF youR nEighboRs. it is impoRtant to unDERstanD youR REsponsibilitiEs ovER anD abovE youR Rights as a lanDownER in oRDER to avoiD unnEcEssaRy conFlicts within youR community.

EtiquEttE People in rural areas value their privacy. They also depend on their neighbors for help, advice, or for a missing ingredient needed for a recipe. Respect one another’s privacy but share a cup of coffee once in a while. If you abide by these principles, your neighbors will always be glad you came.

pRivatE pRopERty anD pRivacy

Family Dog Dogs must be under control and on your property at all times. Free-roaming dogs can be a threat to livestock and wildlife. Livestock owners have the right to protect their livestock and in some cases will destroy animals that harass their herds. A dog may also be destroyed if wildlife is harassed. You are financially responsible for the injury or death of livestock which your dog caused and consequently the dog may be euthanized.

Private property is not always well defined. It is your responsibility to know whose property you are on at all times, regardless of whether or not it is fenced. To alleviate unwanted trespass, obtain a good county map that clearly shows public lands and public roads. Always ask permission to be on private land and roads prior to entering. If permission is given, always leave the gates as you found them. Adhere to posted signs (e.g. No Trespassing/Private Property/Private Drive). Fences often imply private property; however private property is not required to be fenced.

FEncEs The most likely sources of conflict between neighbors are fence lines and property lines. Before purchasing property, find the property lines and confirm whether the existing fences follow the property lines. Understand existing agreements between landowners and decide whether or not you are willing to abide by the same agreements. Should you have an objection, it is wise to visit with your future neighbor about resolution prior to the sale. Fence construction, maintenance and repair costs are usually shared equally between the landowners. Fences are important for the protection of livestock and property. Recognize that some portions of the county are open range (see page 12 for more information). In open range, if you do not want the neighbor’s livestock on your property, it is your responsibility to fence the livestock out. However, livestock occasionally escape due to a breakage in a fence or a gate mistakenly left open. Expect at some point that livestock will escape, both yours and the neighbors’. See page 43 for more information on responsibilities of livestock owners.

raising crops. These may be applied by low-flying aircraft, most likely in early morning hours. In order to get eggs, there must be chickens. Likewise, in order for the grocery store to sell hamburger, there must be cows. Livestock enterprises may have distinct odors and cause an increase in fly and rodent populations. When you encounter livestock, remember that they are not pets and can be dangerous. Children must know that it is not safe to enter areas where unfamiliar animals are kept. Livestock in your area may travel on public roads to move from one grazing area to another. If you meet a herd of animals on the road, slow down or stop until the rancher waves you through. If you do not wait for instruction you may cause livestock to flee resulting in injury to the animal, a person, private property and/or yourself.

RuRal tRavEl

RuRal EntERpRisEs Farms and ranches preserve the open space and “feel” that attracted you to a rural community. Farmers and ranchers often work from before sunrise to after sunset during planting and harvest, spring through fall. Agricultural practices may unintentionally disturb your peace and quiet. Be prepared to encounter slow-moving vehicles in rural communities. Large equipment may travel public roads to move from one field to another. Be patient, slow down and move over. Farming operations may cause dust that is unavoidable. Be aware that pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers are commonly used in

Rural travel has dangers. Roads are often populated with deer or elk. They may also be populated with livestock in Open Range areas (refer to page 12 for more information). If you hit livestock in this area, you are responsible for the damage to your car and for the injury or death of the animal you hit. Pay attention to animals near the road as they may cross unexpectedly. Speed limits are not always posted but must always be abided by. It is your responsibility to know speed limits in the area. Gravel roads hold particular dangers. Pot holes, heavy gravel or “washboards” may cause you to lose control of your car if you travel too fast. Traveling at speeds greater than 35 miles per hour can damage gravel driveways and cause excess dust. Be courteous to your neighbors by slowing down around residential areas regardless of whether or not there is a posted speed limit. Remember that rural residences often have livestock, pets and small children on or near the roadside.

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People enjoy living in Crook County because of its simple lifestyle and its closeness to the outdoors. Located in the heart of Central Oregon, Crook County is minutes away from several natural attractions. Whether you live in Crook County or you have friends or family visiting, there is always a place or activity that will keep everyone intrigued.

Crook County has a right to Farm PoliCy agriCultural PraCtiCes are allowed, enCouraged and Promoted. Neighbors iN rural commuNities uNderstaNd the followiNg priNciples:

There are outdoor recreation activities for all interests. Fly-fishing for trout is popular on the majestic Crooked River, which runs through the city of Prineville. If you are looking for other fish species or enjoy water sports, Prineville and Ochoco reservoirs, Antelope and Allen Creek reservoirs and Walton Lake are less than an hour’s drive from Prineville. The river and reservoirs are popular among locals,

and several small creeks also flow through the county. For those looking for other outdoor entertainment, more than 50 percent of the county is public land, including the Ochoco National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Prineville District. Within these public lands one can sight-see, rock hound, bird watch, camp and hike. There are trails for mountain biking and horseback riding. Steins Pillar and the Crooked River Scenic Area are two of many popular places to visit.

antelope (pronghorn), black bear, cougar, bobcat and coyote. Bird hunters will find several duck species, Canada geese, grouse, pheasants, quail and chukars. There is one very important reminder when participating in outdoor activity in Crook County: NO TRESPASSING! Obtain a current map for areas where you might hike, sight-see, hunt or participate in any outdoor recreation. Showing courtesy to private landowners is something residents take pride in. For those interested in more than just the “great outdoors,” Prineville has several parks and an outdoor pool. The parks offer picnic areas, playgrounds, foot and bike paths, a skate park and tennis courts. Golf is available year-round.

The public and private lands also offer opportunities for hunting big game, waterfowl and upland game birds. Crook County is home to several wild game species including Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer,

respect your Neighbor’s eNdeavors coNtrol your family pet iN aN emergeNcy, your Neighbor may be your greatest resource No trespassiNg uNderstaNd that bouNdary feNces usually have shared expeNses aNd maiNteNaNce

coNtrol weeds be a courteous driver agriculture coNserves opeN space eggs come from chickeNs; hamburger comes from cows coffee aNd spare sugar are always appreciated

Visit these local organizations for area maps and answers to your questions:

r r r r r r

Ochoco National Forest BLM, Prineville District Oregon Department of Forestry, Prineville Unit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Prineville Prineville Chamber of Commerce Crook County Parks and Recreation District

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Fire Protection

Crook County includes one incorporated town, Prineville, and the rural communities of Powell Butte, Post, Lone Pine and Paulina. Be aware of the public services and restrictions in the area in which you live.

School Districts

Public schools are governed by the Crook County School District. There are five elementary schools. Powell Butte school offers kindergarten through sixth grade and Paulina school K-8. Prineville elementary schools educate children from kindergarten through fifth grade (Ochoco, Crooked River and Cecil Sly Elementary schools). The Crook County Middle School in Prineville houses grades six through eight. High school youth have the choice

of Crook County High School, the alternative school Pioneer High School or an online high school program. One private school, the Crook County Christian School, holds classes for students K-12.

Postal System

The United States Postal Service has offices in Paulina, Post, Powell Butte and Prineville. All of these have post office boxes; however, many rural residents choose to have mail delivered to private mailboxes located close to home. Some areas have limited USPS courier services and delivery of these services may have non-traditional delivery protocols. Visit with the local postmaster for options.

The structure and wildland fire protection you may receive in Crook County will depend on where your property is located. If you are within Crook County Fire and Rescue’s service area you most likely will be within city limits or within 10-15 miles of Prineville. Fire protection is paid for by property taxes and is billed annually through the county. If your land resides within Oregon Department of Forestry’s boundary (land with marketable timber or within 1/8 mile of such area) then you will also pay for wildland fire protection. This rate is dependent on the amount of acreage within ODF protection. If your land is outside of Crook County Fire and Rescue’s jurisdiction or is not protected by Oregon Department of Forestry, your land is considered “unprotected” and has no fire protection. In the unprotected lands of Crook County, you do have the option to join a Rangeland Fire Protection Association. There are two Rangeland Fire Protection Associations in Crook County, one in the Post/Paulina area and one in the Brothers/Hampton area. Membership in these organizations is strictly voluntary, and they help provide wildland fire protection to members of the association. Contact the OSU Crook County Extension office or the Oregon Department of Forestry for more information.

Road Maintenance and Construction

There are many rural road systems, both public and private. Responsibility for maintenance and construction of these roads can be confusing. The county has a list of county maintained roads at Departments/RoadDepartment/ tabid/104/Default.aspx. The Crook County Road Department provides and supervises engineering, repair, maintenance and snow plowing services to the Crook County road network. Any roads not falling within the county road system or outside the city limits are considered public ways or private roads and will not be maintained by the county. Many rural communities and subdivisions

have legal agreements addressing responsibility of road maintenance. However, there are many communities and properties in which there are no formal agreements as to road maintenance responsibilities. Rural road districts have the ability to levy property taxes or collect fees from homeowners for the purpose of road maintenance. It is common that a board of directors exists for each of these road associations,

and information about them can be found at the Crook County Clerk’s office located in the Crook County Courthouse. You may need a permit from the road department to perform work within the county road right-of-way. Whether in the road, along the sidewalk, on the shoulder or in the ditch, an individual right-of-way permit is required. Examples of work frequently performed in the right-of-way and requiring a permit include utility installations such as phone, electricity, cable, gas and water, and for road cuts, road boring, driveway repairs, mail boxes, signs and private water line installations including irrigation. The purpose of the permit is to ensure that work conducted in the right-of-way does not constitute a danger to the traveling public or the individuals performing the work and that the completed work does not degrade the right-of-way and result in increased maintenance cost.

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If you own or run livestock in Crook County, know the rules governing the control of livestock in various parts of the county. Oregon state law clearly defines the responsibilities of livestock operators regarding livestock control. Some counties in Oregon are controlled entirely by livestock districts, some counties are completely controlled by open range laws, and other counties


have places where one or the other applies. In Crook County, both livestock district and open range laws apply, depending on where the livestock are located. State law defines livestock to mean bovine species (cattle), equidae (horses, donkeys, mules, asses), sheep and goats. Nowhere in Oregon are swine allowed to run at large. Any animal not listed is

also not allowed to run at large (e.g. buffalo, llamas) anywhere in the state. A livestock district (also known as a closed range district) is a legally defined area wherein it is unlawful for livestock to run at large. In open range, livestock may lawfully be permitted to run at large. To answer the question of what to do if “someone else’s livestock is grazing

on my property” depends on where you live. If you are in an open range area and don’t want other people’s livestock on your property, you must build adequate fences or have natural barriers to keep livestock out. If you are in a livestock district, the animal owner is required to keep the animals on his or her property.

If you are in a livestock district and livestock are on your property, what should you do? If you know who the owner is, contact the owner directly. If this is a frequent problem, Oregon law provides both a civil remedy (ORS 607.303) and a criminal remedy (ORS 607.045). If you don’t know who the owner is, Oregon Department of Agriculture can help you pen the livestock. Report found livestock to the ODA in Salem or call your nearest brand inspector. Phone 503-986-4681 for the name and phone number of your brand inspector. Oregon law provides a process for creating or abandoning livestock districts or expanding existing district boundaries. For an up-to-date map and legal description, contact the Crook County Clerk’s office or the Crook County GIS Department.

Map of ‘open range’ in Crook County

Shaded area represents ‘closed range’

disclaimer: crook couNty makes No warraNty of aNy kiNd, expressed or implied, iNcludiNg aNy warraNty of merchaNtability, fitNess for a particular purpose, or aNy other matter. the couNty is Not respoNsible for possible errors, omissioNs, misuse, or misiNterpretatioN. couNty digital iNformatioN is prepared for refereNce purposes oNly aNd should Not be used, aNd is Not iNteNded for, survey or eNgiNeeriNg purposes or the authoritative aNd/or precise locatioN of bouNdaries, fixed humaN works, aNd/or the shape aNd coNtour of the earth. No represeNtatioN is made coNcerNiNg the legal status of aNy appareNt route of access ideNtified iN digital or hardcopy mappiNg of geospatial iNformatioN or data. data from the crook couNty assessor’s office may Not be curreNt. data is updated as schedules aNd resources permit. please Notify crook couNty gis of aNy errors (541) 416-3930.

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Farm Deferral

Many rural properties are eligible for a special assessment or deferral of some or all of their property tax if it is “used for a qualifying farm use.” This special assessment of the land reflects the value for agricultural productivity and not of alternative uses that might justify a higher assessment. These programs have a potential tax payback if the farm production requirements are not met.

Forestland Deferral

Many rural properties are eligible for a special assessment or deferral if the property is “used for the predominant purpose of growing and harvesting trees of a marketable species.” The purpose of this program is to provide a financial incentive to property owners for keeping their land in timber production. The assessed value is based on the productivity of the land for growing marketable trees. This program has a potential tax payback if the requirements are not met. Many small farms are located in areas that are not zoned exclusively for farming. These properties are subject to higher property taxes if they are not kept in farm use. The agricultural property tax deferral lowers the property tax burden of farms that are not located in exclusive farm use areas but are producing income from farming. So what is “farm use?” Farm use means the current employment of land for the primary purpose of obtaining a profit in money by: r raising, harvesting and selling crops. r feeding, breeding, management and sale of, or the production of, livestock, poultry, fur-bearing animals or honeybees. r dairying and selling of dairy products. r stabling and training equines. r breeding, raising, kenneling or training greyhounds. r propagation, cultivation, maintenance and harvesting of aquatic, bird and animal species allowed by rules adopted by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission.


r r r

preparation, storage and disposal by marketing or otherwise, of the products or by-products raised on such land for human or animal use. any other agricultural or horticultural use, animal husbandry, or any combination thereof. growing cultured Christmas trees and hybrid hardwoods (cottonwoods) on cropland under intensive cultivation.

Farm use activities do not include: r pleasure horses. r dogs. r storage of any farm product which is not raised on the property or within the farm unit, straw excepted. r unused land that is economically feasible to farm or ranch. r fallow land that has not been prepared. To receive and maintain the deferral for farm land located in areas that are not zoned exclusively for farming, these lands must meet certain income tests. For some property owners, this requirement results in the ag deferral dilemma. In this situation, people sometimes spend $2,000 to save $1,000 on their taxes. How do people get into this bind? Either they misunderstand how the system works or they don’t get good numbers. Here is a hypothetical situation: No deferral With deferral Value of house: $125,000 $125,000 Value of homesite: $ 70,000 $ 70,000 Value of 10 acres: $100,000 $ 5,000 Total: $295,000 $200,000 Difference: + $95,000 in assessed or taxable value. Let’s assume the tax rate is $18/$1,000 (your assessor can tell you your specific tax rate). What you actually would pay each year in additional property taxes without the ag deferral is $18 x 95 = $1,710. Note that the homesite, house and any buildings are not affected by the ag deferral.

To qualify for the agricultural property tax deferral, you must show the following annual income: r 0-6 acres: $650 minimum r 6.1-29.9 acres: $100/acre r 30 or more acres: $3,000 minimum. You must demonstrate the minimum income three out of five years. The assessor can request a copy of the “Farm Schedule F” from your federal income tax filing to evaluate your claim for deferral. If your land is leased for farming to someone else, check with the County Assessor for requirements. It’s important to find out from your assessor what the assessed value of your land would be with and without the deferral. Then do the above calculation on your own property and decide where you come out. If your farmland loses its special assessment, it will be assessed at either its market value or assessed value, whichever is less. You may be required to pay an additional tax which is the difference between what you paid under the special assessment and what you would have paid without the assessment. This additional tax may be due on the previous five to 10 years depending on where your residence is located (zoned EFU, Rural Residential or some other zoning designation but used for farming). There are essentially two separate farm use assessment programs, one for properties that are zoned Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) and another for properties that are zoned something other than EFU. The Oregon Department of Revenue has information about both of these programs on its web site. The income tests for the agricultural deferral are not connected to the separate (and usually steeper) income test that a county might require before a dwelling can be built on agricultural land. Timberland deferral has a similar impact on property taxes but doesn’t require annual income proof after the stand is planted. Growing trees for timber is a possibility for all or a portion of your rural acreage.

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a treatment plant; part of a rural on-site sewage treatment system. The most common waste water treatment system used in rural areas is the septic tank-soil absorption system.

watER REsouRcEs well: an artificial opening or artificially altered natural opening by which ground water is sought or through which groundwater flows under natural pressure or is artificially withdrawn. Most rural landowners in Crook County depend on a domestic well (for human consumption) for both quantity and quality drinking water. Some rural developments now provide community water sources. When purchasing property with an existing well, Oregon law (ORS 448.271) requires testing of domestic well water for a real estate transaction. Effective since 1989, the law states in part: “(1) In any transaction for the sale or exchange of real estate that includes a well that supplies groundwater for domestic purposes, the seller of the real estate shall, upon accepting an offer to purchase that real estate, have the well tested for nitrate and total coliform bacteria. The Health Services also may require additional tests for specific contaminants in an area of groundwater concern or groundwater management area. The seller shall submit the results of the test required under this section to the Health Services.”

The minimum water production for a rural well should be at least five to six gallons per minute continuous flow for a family with a three-bedroom, two-bath home. Ten gallons per minute is preferred. A well producing only five gallons per minute may require water storage. Well flows may drop with the seasons, and in some cases water storage tanks (cisterns) can be installed to overcome water supply deficiencies.

Water yield from a spring varies depending on the time of year, rainfall and ground water conditions.

To drill a new well, the property owner must hire a licensed, bonded and insured well driller. The driller will then apply for a “Start Card” before beginning construction (Bend Watermaster, 541-388-6669).

Properties with springs that are used for domestic purposes are exempt from Oregon law (ORS 448.271) requiring testing of domestic water for real estate transactions (it is still a good idea to have your drinking water tested).

The well (new or existing) should be located at least 100 feet upslope from any sewage disposal area; 100 feet from any septic tank, and at least 50 feet from barnyards, corrals, feeding operations or manure storage.

Springs can be used as a domestic water source if: local health regulations permit; the flow rate is adequate; the spring can be properly developed and water guided to a single collection point; and sanitary protection can be and is provided.

oregon department of human services drinking water Program 971-673-0405 shtml

Remember, poor quality water or too little water can take the joy out of rural living.

pRivatE sEwagE & wastE watER systEms

spring: a point where water emerges naturally from the earth as a result of gravity flow or artesian pressure.

septic tank: a tank used to hold domestic wastes when a sewer line is not available to carry them to

In Oregon, a 1,000-gallon septic tank is commonly installed for a four-bedroom home. Depending on household size and year installed, a tank size can range from 500 to 2,500 gallons. Septic tank pumping frequency depends on the number of people in the household. “The septic tank must be at least five feet from the foundation line of the house or any other building. The drain field must be at least 10 feet from the foundation line of the house or any other building, 100 feet from any well, and 10 feet from any property line; five feet from the septic tank to the drop/distribution box. A 100 foot setback must be maintained from rivers, streams and lakes. Also, setbacks of 25 to 50 feet will be required from any irrigation/flood canal or man-made cuts or escarpment greater than 30 feet. Other setbacks are assessed at the time of the evaluation.” (Source: On-Site Sewage Systems, A Guide To Help You Understand The Process, Crook County Environmental Health, Page 3). After site evaluation by the Crook County Environmental Health Department, new or repaired individual sewage systems must be approved and then permitted by the Crook County Environmental Health Department before construction.

holding tank: a water-tight tank that holds all the wastewater generated in the home; the wastewater is removed regularly and taken to another site for treatment.

City hall water-sewer department 400 E 3rd Street, Prineville 541-447-5627

Oregon requires at least a 1,500- gallon holding tank for residential use. Due to the high cost of operation, proper pumping and disposal of the waste, using a holding tank should be considered only for temporary or emergency use. All holding tank systems must be approved by the Crook County Environmental Health Department before construction.

Call Before you dig 800-332-2344

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housEholD hazaRDs lead in the home: a highly toxic metal found in small amounts in the earth’s crust.

Lead was used in household paint until 1978; homes built before 1950 are more likely to contain Crook County environmental paint with high amounts of lead. health department It was discovered that the lead in 300 NE 3rd Street, Prineville paints posed a safety hazard to the 541-447-8155 inhabitants of a home, particularly children, as the paint aged, cracked, peeled watER REquiREmEnts FoR homE and became accessible anD outDooR living to ingestion. Flow Rate (gal/min)

Total Use (gal)

Adult or Child


50 - 100/day




Automatic Washer


30 - 50/load



7 - 15/load

Garbage Disposer


4 - 6/day

Kitchen Sink


2 - 4/use

Shower or Tub


25 - 60/use

Toilet Flush


4 - 7/use

Bathroom Lavatory


1 - 2/use

Water Softener Regeneration


50 - 100/time

Backwash Filters


100 - 200/ backwash

Outside House Faucet



Fire Protection


1,200/2-hr period

Source: Rural Domestic Water Supply/J. Vomocil and J. Hart/EC 1374/January 1993

Since 1980, federal and state regulatory standards have helped to minimize or eliminate the amount of lead in consumer products and occupational settings. Today, the most common sources of lead exposure in the United States are lead-based paint in older homes, contaminated soil, household dust, drinking water, lead crystal and lead-glazed pottery.


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For more information call the LEADLINE. 800-368-5060 mold in the home: mold and mildew are microscopic organisms that can grow nearly anywhere if they have adequate moisture, food and temperatures. Molds and mildews can be very destructive, and are usually found in homes with a “moisture” problem. When mold is widespread it can produce byproducts that may be harmful to your health. Dead mold may also be harmful to your health, so remove all mold. For more information on mold-related issues including cleanup and moisture control or condensation and humidity issues, you can call the EPA Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse. 800-438-4318; asbestos in the home: a strong and incombustible fiber widely used in the past for fireproofing and insulation. the small, buoyant fibers are easily inhaled or swallowed, possibly causing a number of serious diseases. When asbestos-containing material is disturbed or damaged it releases tiny fibers into the air that are too small to be filtered by a dust mask. There is no safe level of exposure. For more information call the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Bend office. 541-388-6146 ext 226

soliD wastE Disposal & REcycling Many rural areas of Crook County are not served by a commercial hauler. Prineville Disposal is the only residential and commercial hauler of solid waste in Crook County. They provide curbside recycling service for all paper, tin, aluminum, plastic containers, newspapers, magazines and cardboard with their SMART recycling program. Recyclables are collected within the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) which is roughly two miles beyond the Prineville city limits. These items are picked up on a scheduled basis. Recyclables may also be delivered to the Recycling Depot. Prineville disposal PO Box 1468, Prineville 541-447-5208 recycling depot 1752 N Main Street, Prineville 541-447-5208 Crook County Landfill is a self-haul disposal site owned and operated by the county. The county’s recycling program includes: aluminum, appliances, auto batteries and alkaline batteries, corrugated cardboard, brown bags, drywall, clean glass bottles and jars, junk mail, magazines, metal, newspaper, paint, plastic, scrap metal, tin cans, tires, used motor oil, wood waste and yard debris. The landfill also accepts dead animals and butcher waste for a minimum charge.

Crook County landfill 110 SW Landfill Road 300 NE 3rd Street, Prineville 541-447-2398 Landfill/tabid/103/Default.aspx

colD wEathER pREpaRation The average low temperature in Central Oregon during December and January is 18° F, while extremes can be –25° F to –35° F. Make sure your home, pets and car are ready for the cold weather. Here are a few preparation tips: home: Check battery-powered equipment such as flashlights, portable radio, etc. Keep backup batteries for each. Check furnace or have a professional service check furnace. Check heating fuel supplies; do not allow to get too low. Check attic, basement or crawl space for adequate insulation. Wrap basement or crawl space pipes (especially if located on exterior wall) and hot water heater with special insulating wrap. Caulk or weather-strip doors and windows. Stock up on ice melting products. Consider an alternate heating source, e.g. fireplace, wood stove or space heater. Equipment should be approved for indoor use. Properly ventilate rooms and use strict, fire-safety measures. Have fireplace or wood stove cleaned by a professional before use.

Disconnect all garden hoses and install insulation covers on all outside faucets. Close, cover or insulate foundation vents. Keep gutters and downspouts clear of leaves and debris to minimize ice dam formation on your roof. Remove dead tree branches. Heavy snow or ice can cause them to break, possibly causing property damage or injuries. Assemble an emergency supply kit (enough for at least three days). Pets: When choosing a winter shelter for your outdoor pet, you’ll want to consider a few things. First, the shelter, shed, barn, enclosed porch, carport, dog house, etc., will need to provide relief from the wind. Shelters with door flaps work nicely, but not all animals like a flap. This is where good insulation is important. If floors in the shelter are ice cold, heat mats might be considered. Fresh water is vital to your pet; when temperatures reach below freezing, keep their water in a heated bowl. When living in a cold weather climate and using products to melt snow and ice, please use items that are kind to your pets. Contact a local veterinarian for information on pet-friendly products. Vehicles: Before the cold weather arrives, make sure your car is in top condition. An appointment at your local mechanic shop is a good idea.

Have your belts, hoses, oil, battery and charging system, heater and defroster, wiper blades, all your fluids (use a wiper fluid that will not freeze), and brakes checked. Check your tires for proper inflation and good tread. When checking antifreeze levels, check its freezing point. Keep the gas tank at least half full to reduce condensation in the tank and to make sure you won’t run out of gas in an emergency. Keep an emergency supply kit in the vehicle (enough for at least three days).

EnERgy REsouRcEs Propane: Propane is easy to transport and can be used in areas beyond the natural gas mains. Families use propane to fuel their furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, outdoor grills, fireplaces, dryers and stoves. Farmers use propane for irrigation pumps, standby farm equipment, older tractors, etc. Look in your local phonebook yellow pages under “GasPropane” for local dealers. natural gas: Cascade natural gas supplies service to families to fuel their BBQs and patio products, cook tops and ovens, dryers, fireplaces, furnaces and heating, water heaters, etc. 888-522-1130 electricity: Pacific Power & light 888-221-7070

Central electric Cooperative 800-924-8736

Section One

solar: Solar electricity is electricity created by the sun. Please see your local yellow pages under “Solar Products & Services-Retail” for local dealers. wind: Contact OSU Crook County Extension Service for local and regional wind viability studies. Firewood: Firewood is measured by the cord. How can you tell if you are paying for a full cord? Firewood quantities are sometimes difficult to estimate. A “full” cord measures 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long (4’ X 4’ x 8’) and has a volume of 128 cubic feet. Forest service Ochoco National Forest 3160 NE 3rd Street, Prineville 541-416-6500 Issues permits for firewood, Christmas trees, post and poles, pine cones and boughs, trees and shrubs, rocks and mushrooms. Bureau of land management 3050 NE Third Street, Prineville 541-416-6700 Issues permits for firewood, plants, shrubs and juniper boughs.


Backyard Gardening Understanding our Climates

Crook County has many microclimates that critically dictate what and when to plant. The following are some general considerations: r The growing season is between 90 - 110 days; Prineville has 80 - 90 days as a general rule. r Seed packets usually indicate the number of days to maturity of the vegetable; add 14 days for our “cold climate gardening.” r Due to clear sky and dry conditions, radiation cooling or “night cool” occurs, varying temperatures as much as 40 - 50° F in a 24-hour period, thus slowing the growth. r Temperature range for optimum growth of most species is 50° F to 90° F. Growth slows down at lower temperatures (32 - 50° F). Optimum root growth is 60 - 80° F and root death is 24° F.

Source: “Central Oregon Climate and How it Relates to Gardening” by Amy Jo Detweiler OSU Extension Service.

Soil and Water

Managing Your Land Backyard Gardening Growing and Planting Calendar Fire Prevention Introduction to Soils Crops Water Rights and Irrigation Weed Management Irrigated Pastures Rangeland Forests and Woodlands Livestock Wildlife & Wildlife Habitat Riparian Pest Management

21 23 27 28 30 32 35 37 38 40 43 47 48 51

Soil types vary widely in Crook County, ranging from sandy, rocky, clay, silt and loam, to name a few. Certain areas which were once swamps, lakes or river beds may have heavier clay soils. The cure for any of these conditions is to bring in or develop compost. Add organic materials such as livestock manure, leaves, grasses or hay, and work it into the existing soil. This practice should be continued every year. The manure should be from herbivores and you will find aged manure works better than fresh. Kits are available at garden supply centers to check your pH (acid-alkaline features) to determine if you have acidic or alkaline soil. A pH of 7 is neutral – neither acidic nor alkaline. Most vegetables prefer slightly acidic pH. If the alkalinity is above 7.4 many of the necessary chemicals for plant growth may not be taken in by the plant, especially iron. Adding sulfur to your soil helps reduce the pH level. Precipitation is minimal in Central Oregon, so a water source is necessary. Organic materials added to soil help retain moisture and create air spaces to assist in the growth of plants.


Variations in temperature interrupt growth. Garden location, proximity to structures and other vegetation help protect the garden from unexpected frosts. Raised beds, 8 - 12 inches high allow the sun to warm the soil more rapidly in the morning. Raised beds are also useful in heavier soils due to better drainage. Row covers reduce heat loss at night during the growing season. Reflectors and windbreaks may be required to increase warmth on the north side of your garden. Plant on higher ground or on a south-facing hillside near the top of the hill. Cool air will flow down and away from the garden. Gardens at the bottom of the hill are more likley to freeze. Garden vegetables require a minimum of six hours of sunlight. Some landscape plants prefer shade or partial sunlight. Know your variety before planting.


Elevation affects temperatures and the duration of the growing season. There are tremendous temperature variations within a 10-mile radius of Prineville. High plateaus, hills, ridges, valleys, lakes, rivers and streams are all factors so it is difficult to be absolute on “general” gardening guidelines.

Planting Your Garden

The first of May is a tempting time to plant a garden. However, killing frosts have occurred as late as July 4th and as early as August 31st. It is recommended that you plant your garden no sooner than Memorial Day weekend and use frost protection as warranted.


Some areas are heavily populated by deer and elk. For plant protection from deer and elk, the most reliable solution is an eight-foot fence. Various chemicals specifically designed as deer deterrents may work, but it is necessary to keep changing the position of the deterrent source.

Section Two


Quail, crows, ravens and other birds can be a problem in the garden. To ward off these troublemakers, scarecrows may help. Netting or a row cover over the seedbeds until they sprout also helps.


Many varieties of weeds are present. Stay active in the removal of these invaders. Some of this can be done chemically, but if you desire a true organic growing area, removal by shovel, hoe, weed eater or hands must be a continuous, ongoing endeavor. Following proper cultivation and soil preparation recommendations, weeds may be less of a problem after a year or two.

Natural Protectors

Plant a variety of flowers, specifically those that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and beneficial insects. They will feed on “bad bugs” and prevent plant damage due to insects. Your vegetable garden can be as visually pleasing as your flower garden.


Since we have an unpredictable growing season, there are many little tricks to assist in obtaining mature vegetables. For instance, in late August when your tomato vine is full of green tomatoes, reduce watering, trim back all new growth and pinch off the blossoms. You can stop root growth by forcing a sharp-bladed shovel deep into the ground about a foot and a half away from the plant’s main stem, continue until you have done this all the way around the plant. The plant will then put more energy into ripening the fruit.

Landscape Plants

level the raised beds and till in these additions, which will break down during the winter and reward you next year with even healthier soil. Another addition is annual rye grass seed. Sprinkle it over the garden and lightly rake it in. Wet the soil to germinate the seeds. The seeds will grow in the fall and late winter, and in early spring take off and grow as high as a foot and a half. This will help hold the soil from wind and water erosion. Till into the soil in April along with the shredded leaves from your fall yard clean up. Now you have a compost pile which will become fantastic garden soil for next year. For more information on composting, insects or a complete list of plants, shrubs, trees, fruits and vegetable varieties that do well in Crook County, call 541-447-6228, stop in at the Crook County Extension office or visit online at

Growing and Planting Calendar February/March r r

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Research and plan to add perennials, trees or shrubs to your landscape in late spring. Purchase annual and vegetable garden seeds with 65 - 80 days to maturity; add 14 days to the maturity date on the packet. This is approximately how long it will take for that plant to mature in Central Oregon because of slowed plant growth at night. Maintain houseplants: wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove dust. Repair, clean, sharpen and maintain garden equipment. Clean pruners and other small garden tools with rubbing alcohol. This will disinfect the tools without causing corrosion that you may get from a bleach solution. Plant seed flats for cold crops including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Gather branches of quince, forsythia and other flowering ornamentals and bring inside to force early blooms. Plant a windowsill container garden of herbs. Use a soil thermometer to determine when to plant vegetable and flower seeds. Cool season vegetables that germinate and grow at a soil temperature of 40° F or above include beets, carrots, peas, radishes, lettuce and spinach.

All of these suggestions can apply to your other flowers and landscape plants. Healthy soil, proper watering (winter and summer), and planting in the appropriate area for sunlight needs will produce a landscape that will make you proud.

For more information on when to plant seeds or set out starts check our website at deschutes/Horticulture/GardenPublications_000.php, and go to “OSU Publications for Central Oregon” then scroll down to “vegetables.”

In the fall, mulch your perennial garden plants with a layer of bark chips to at least 4 - 6 inches. Roses should be mulched 8 - 12 inches and remain with the mulch layer in place until the first of May; then prune them for spring growth and beauty.

April r

Putting the Garden to Bed for Winter

After harvest, gather more compost or aged manure, and/or mint-slugs (a product of mint oil production),


Prune deciduous trees and shrubs, using proper pruning techniques. Be careful not to prune flowering trees and shrubs that bloom on last years wood, such as lilacs. Wait until these plants have bloomed, then prune shortly after the flowers die off. If you are not certain about when to prune your plant contact the OSU Extension Service or your local garden center. Apply a dormant horticultural oil to deciduous trees and shrubs with a history of insect problems. This product will smother overwintering eggs and the

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crawler stage of many insects such as aphids, spider mites and scale. A lighter horticultural oil should be used on evergreens and deciduous trees and shrubs after they have leafed out. Direct-seed beets, lettuce, peas, radishes and spinach. Transplant broccoli, cabbage and onions that may have been started from seed. If you haven’t fertilized your bulbs now is a good time. Use a fertilizer high in phosphorous (the second number on the fertilizer bag, e.g. 0-46-0). You may need to mow the lawn by the middle of April. Prepare garden soil for spring planting by adding organic matter, including manures and compost or planting a cover crop (green manure) such as ryegrass, buckwheat or barley.

May r r r r r r


Continue to work your compost pile by turning, adding materials and keeping it moist. Mid-April through May is the best time to dethatch and aerate your lawn. Follow with a fertilizer application to stimulate rapid recovery. Direct-seed corn (late May), chard, kohlrabi and potatoes. Transplant Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cucumbers (late May), leeks and peppers. Repair or change sprinkler system to be more efficient. Now is the time to manage weeds when they are small. First identify the weed, then remove by hand, mechanically or chemically. Do not allow them to flower and go to seed. Protect plants and crops from frost by using row cover or walls of water.

June r r r

Protect young vegetables from frost with row cover (frost cloth). Place over crops when needed. Water vegetable and flower gardens early in the morning. Use season extenders, such as walls of water, around tomatoes and other tender plants.

Section Two



Section Two



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Prune lilacs, forsythia, rhododendrons and azaleas after the flowers fade. If new growth has started, wait until next year after blooming to prune. You can prune other deciduous trees and shrubs at this time. Use proper pruning techniques to keep plants healthy. Aerating lawn will remove compacted soil, increase water and nutrient flow, and stimulate new growth. After you have aerated, spread compost about a quarter inch thick over your entire lawn using a spreader. Water turf between four to six inches per month, approximately 1.5 inches per week. Most lawns in Central Oregon are composed of Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescues and perennial ryegrass and prefer a mowing height of 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches for optimal turfgrass health. Lawns can be fertilized late June through early July. Fertilize shade and ornamental trees, shrubs and perennials with fertilizer mixtures such as 10-6-4 or 20-10-5 once during the growing season. Manage weeds while they are small and actively growing with light cultivation or herbicides.

August r

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July r r r r r r r r

Pinch back annuals such as zinnia, geranium and impatiens to keep them full of blooms. Plant flowers such as fennel, dill, roses and marigolds that attract beneficial insects such as ladybugs. Plant trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals anytime during the growing season. Deep water trees, shrubs and perennials every five to seven days. Protect berry crops from birds with bird netting. Protect vegetable garden from flying insects with row cover. Harvest broccoli, peas, lettuce and radishes. Keep potatoes and tomatoes consistently moist by watering thoroughly; this will produce better quality crops.

Be particularly cautious of using weed killers (herbicides) in hot temperatures as it may cause herbicide damage to ornamental conifers and deciduous plants. Be sure to read and FOLLOW THE LABEL DIRECTIONS and apply in the right temperature range (on the label) during the season. Continue to water lawn four to six inches per month as needed. Do not fertilize this month. Prune away excessive vegetation and new blossoms on tomatoes to encourage larger, tastier fruit. Plant cold season crops. Fertilize cucumbers, summer squash and broccoli while harvesting to maintain production. Clean and fertilize strawberry beds. Harvest potatoes when the tops die down. Store them in a dark location until use. Spider mites prefer this hot and dry environment, especially the month of August, and target specific ornamental shrubs and perennials such as dwarf Alberta spruce, arborvitae and hollyhocks. These tiny insects can be controlled by jet spraying more resilient plants with water from your garden hose. This blast of water will kill the spider mite on contact or knock it off the plant to prevent further feeding damage. For larger, more persistent infestations, a miticide may be necessary.


Kentucky bluegrass, perennial ryegrass and tall fescues are some of the better choices for seeding or sod in Central Oregon. Consider a blended mix of grass seed for drought tolerance. For more information on establishing a new lawn go to pdf. r r

Water the lawn approximately three times a week at 1.0 to 2.0 inches per week. Dethatch or aerate the lawn if necessary. Thatch is a layer of living and dead grass stems and roots. If

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thatch layer is a half inch or greater, it can prevent water, air and nutrients from penetrating the soil and reaching the roots, resulting in dry spots. Dethatching allows new grass shoots to grow in thick and lush. Dethatching should be done every other year, particularly in lawns consisting of 100 percent Kentucky bluegrass. Clippings do not contribute to the thatch layer. Aeration, the process that pulls out plugs, should be done every other year in spring or fall. This process helps relieve compaction and opens up the soil for adding soil amendment or reseeding. Harvest beans, broccoli, cabbage, chard, cucumbers, leeks, potatoes, peas, lettuce, radishes and carrots. Plant asters, mums, pansies and kale for fall color. The Michaelmas daisy or New York aster varieties (Aster novi-belgii) provide great fall color for Central Oregon. Deep water trees, shrubs and perennials every five to seven days. Continue to compost yard debris and kitchen scraps to create an organic compost to use in the garden. In late September, plant spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and crocus. Work phosphorus into the soil below the bulbs. When planting bulbs the size of the bulb is directly correlated to the size of the flower to bloom in spring.


In your vegetable garden: r Pick green tomatoes before heavy frost. Only mature green tomatoes can be ripened off the vine. Mature tomatoes are light green in color with a reddish tinge on the blossom end. The pulp inside of a mature tomato should be jelly-like, not firm. To ripen, wrap tomatoes individually in newspaper and place in a box so they are not touching one another. Store wrapped tomatoes in a room between 60 - 70째 F. Check them every three to four days for rotten ones. They will ripen over a three to four week period. r Spread compost or mulch on top of your vegetable garden.


Plant a cover crop in your garden area to come up next spring. You can plant winter wheat, cereal rye, winter rye, triticale, winter barley or winter peas.

In your landscape: r Leave ornamental grasses up in winter to provide winter texture in the landscape, cut them back a few inches above the ground in early spring. r Prune evergreens and conifers. r At the end of October into November, blow out automatic irrigation systems for the winter. r Wrap the trunks of young, thin-barked trees (maples, aspen, ash) in November with paper tree wrap to prevent sunscald. Remove it in spring (April). Do not leave the tree wrap on throughout the summer; it may harbor unwanted insects. Wrap new trees two to three years in a row until the outer bark has thickened. r Pull up all dead plant materials, rake leaves and remove all fallen branches. This will prevent insects and disease from overwintering. r Water newly planted perennials, trees and shrubs before winter by deep soaking them before the ground freezes. Water every six to eight weeks throughout the winter if there is no snow cover and if the ground is warm enough to accept water. Miscellaneous: r Time to go and pick out pumpkins from local growers for fall festivities. r Force bulbs indoors to bring color into your home during the winter months. The most commonly forced bulbs include crocus, hyacinths, paper whites, amaryllis, tulips, daffodils, miniature iris and scilla. r Now is a good time to remove and discard paper wasp nests from the eaves of your home. At this time of year the nests may be empty. If not empty, remove at dusk when wasp activity slows down.

Section Two


Fire Prevention Vegetable Asparagus Beans Beets Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Carrots Cauliflower Chard Corn, Sweet Cucumbers Garlic Kohlrabi Leeks Lettuce Onions Peas Peppers Potatoes Pumpkins Radishes Rhubarb Spinach Squash, Summer Squash, Winter Tomatoes

When to Plant

When to Harvest

Crowns: June Seed: June Seed: April - May, August Transplant: April, May, August Transplant: May, June, September Transplant: Mid-April - May, Mid-August Seed: Mid-April - May, August - September Transplant: May - June 7, August 1-7 Seed: May - June Seed: Mid-May - Mid-June Transplant: Late May, Early June Bulbs: Mid-October - November Seed/Transplant: May - June Transplant: May - June Seed: April - May Transplant: April - Early June Seed: Mid-April - May Transplant: Mid-May - Mid-June Seed: Late April - May Transplant: Late May - Early June Seed: Mid-April - Mid-May, Late May Roots: May Seed: Mid-April - Early May Transplant: Late May - Early June Transplant: Late May - Early June Transplant: Late May - Early June

April August - October Mid-July, October July - August, November July - August, November Mid-August, Mid-September - October July, October July, October Mid-August - September Mid-August - September Mid-August - Mid-September Late July - Early September July - August July - August Late May - July August - September June August - September Mid-August - October September - October Mid-May - June May Late May - Early June Mid-July - Mid-August Mid-September - October Mid-July - September

Throughout the nation there are states that have natural disasters every year. Central Oregon does not have tornadoes or earthquakes, but we do have wildfire. Wildfire is a natural and historic occurrence within the Crook County landscape. Learn about fire, prepare for structural fires and make the effort to defend your home in case of a wildfire. Several wildland fire-fighting agencies suppress fire every fire season (May – September). Due to fire suppression and other management decisions, the landscape has changed dramatically since European settlement. “Defensible space” is a frequently used term. People are moving into areas that naturally burn. Homeowners must create a fire-safe landscape around their homes. It’s your responsibility to create defensible space around your property in case of a wildfire (see OSU publication PNW 590 on fire-resistant plants for home landscapes). Not all fire that occurs within Crook County is destructive to homes and the landscape. There are certain times of the year when private landowners and public agencies will perform prescribed fires.

Typically, there will be some smoke in the air during the spring and fall months. Prescribed fire is a management tool in our local forests and rangelands. Prescribed fire reduces heavy fuel loads within our forests and rangelands that could later contribute to catastrophic fire events. Burn permits are required for prescribed fires within Crook County. Please contact Crook County Fire and Rescue for additional burn permit and fire questions within Crook County and Prineville city limits. For other fire-related questions and fire restrictions contact: r US Forest Service, Lookout Mountain Ranger District. r BLM, Prineville District. r Oregon Department of Forestry, Prineville Unit. r OSU Crook County Extension Office.

Section Two


Introduction to Soils Crook County has extreme variations in soil types. Over 200 different kinds of soil have been identified. Knowing the soils on your property and their characteristics will help you make decisions about what to plant, how to irrigate and whether fertilization is necessary. A soil test is essential for determining soil fertility on your rural property. Soil Basics

It can take 1,000 years for natural processes to create one inch of top soil. Climate, water, temperature and parent materials all contribute to soil creation. Parent materials are sources for new soils. They can include bedrock and volcanic ash. Soils are also fragile. They are susceptible to erosion when not adequately protected. Soils have different textures or particle sizes including silts, sands and clays. The combination of these textures determines the characteristics of your soils. The depth of the soil to bedrock or the water table is often a factor which determines land use. These characteristics and how they affect the potential of a soil are outlined in a document called a soils survey. Consulting your soils survey is a great place to start when you want to know the general properties of the soils comprising your land. Soils information and maps are available upon request from the US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Crook County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) or online at

What Soils Do r r r

Provide setting for water, nutrient, air and heat exchange for living organisms. Control the distribution of rainfall or irrigation water to runoff, infiltration, storage or deep drainage. Affect nutrient cycling, plant growth and composition of organic materials.

Importance of Soil Quality to Landowners r r r r r

Support crop, range and woodland production. Sustain water supplies. Reduce onsite and offsite soil erosion. Improve nutrient use efficiencies. Ensure that the resource is sustained for future use.

Concerns Associated with Soil Quality r r r r r r r r r r r r r

What a Soil Survey Shows

Soil Saving Tips

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Keep all soils on your property well covered with vegetation. Cover crops, sod-forming grasses, native plants and ground covers are excellent soil protectors. Reseed immediately with weed-free grass seed after any earth disturbing activity. Grade and reshape roads and building sites to direct water to safe outlets and prevent standing water on soils.

Soil Testing

Soil testing is a good way to determine the nutrient level of your soils, as well as their acidity and alkalinity. Common nutrient deficiencies in our area include nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus and potassium. Soil testing is available from several laboratories. They can test soils for water holding capacity.

What is Soil Quality?

Soil quality is the fitness of a specific kind of soil to function within its surroundings to: r maintain and enhance water and air quality. r support plant and animal productivity. r support human health and habitation.

Loss of soil material by erosion. Deposition of sediment by wind and flood waters. Compaction of layers near the surface. Improve water infiltration and reduce overland flow. Crusting of the soil surface. Nutrient loss or imbalance. Pesticide carryover. Buildup of salts. Change in pH to an unfavorable range. Loss of organic matter. Reduced biological activity and poor residue breakdown. Infestation by weeds or pathogens. Excessive wetness.

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A general map that provides the main patterns of soils. Soil types. Location of suitable areas for farming and other land uses. Soils that have few limitations, the widest range of use and the least risk of damage when they are used. Soils and landforms so rough, shallow or otherwise limited that they do not produce worthwhile yields of crops, forage or wood products. Soils that are suitable to irrigation. Soils that are fertile. Soils that are susceptible to erosion. Soils that have a slow rate of water intake. Soil description and classification.

Further Assistance

The NRCS and Crook County SWCD can provide technical help with your soil and water conservation problems. Financial cost-share assistance programs may be available. Contact the NRCS for more information. Contact the Crook County SWCD or OSU Extension office for information on soil and agronomic research and soil testing tips. For information on available programs, go to the NRCS website at

Section Two


Crops Over the years, many crops have come and gone, while others have been the mainstay for producers. The irrigated crops grown today and in the past include wheat, barley, oat, rye, triticale, spearmint and peppermint for oil and leaves (for tea), garlic, sugar beets, chickpeas, garlic for seed, vegetable seed, Kentucky bluegrass seed, potatoes, grass hay, alfalfa hay and pasture. Crook County has a range of growing seasons across the county. Growing high-value crops can be risky in even some of the better growing areas. There is also a chance of a frost any time during the growing season, along with a limited growing season. Cereals have been grown for years in Crook County. The largest amount of cereal acreage produces wheat. For the most part, soft white winter and spring wheat are grown with end use for cookies and cakes. In recent years and depending upon the year, producers have grown hard red spring wheat (end use is for bread) because of the higher price differential. Up until 20 to 25 years or so ago, barley, oat and rye were produced in greater quantity for feed for livestock and poultry. Some triticale (wheat/rye cross) is grown. Every year there is a certain amount of cereal acreage that is grown for hay. Many years ago there was much dryland cereal rye grown, especially in the “upper country.” Hay and pasture have always been the largest crops produced and are the foundation of the livestock industry in Crook County. Alfalfa, alfalfa grass and different grass species are grown for hay. The hay is sold to dairies, feed stores, local Central Oregon horse owners, local farms and ranches and is also exported. Pasture, of course, supports livestock grazing.

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In the last 20 years, mint, garlic and sugar beets have all had a limited run as high-value crops that producers enjoyed raising in Crook County. Due to changing global markets, they are either gone or the acres have declined dramatically. In the 1990s, Crook County was the highest producing mint-for-oil county in the nation. Verticillium wilt disease came in on rootstock and spread over time in the fields and, along with less expensive imports, has dramatically reduced acreage grown. Quality of mint oil grown in Crook County is excellent. Garlic seed production has also peaked and acreage has tailed off because of white rot disease and Chinese imports. Quality of seed is excellent. Sugar beets were around for about five years in the late 1990s, but cheaper costs of production for sugar beets and sugar cane grown elsewhere in the U.S. and the world caused the sugar beet companies to pull out of Central Oregon. Percentage of sugar in sugar beets grown in Crook County was some of the highest in the world. Chickpeas were around for a few years, not because they were of high value, but irrigation, fertilizer and other input costs were much lower than other crops and offered some excellent crop rotation advantages. Aschochyta disease came in and production lasted only for about four years. Grapes and lavender are new niche crops of interest in the county. A farmers’ market, held in the summer months, was developed in Prineville and has allowed local producers access to a local market.


Select crops and acreage in five-year increments from 2007 - 1977 for Crook County CROP
























Alfalfa Hay








Other Hay








Grass Seed
















Peppermint Oil








Vegetable & Flower Seed








Miscellaneous Field Crops
















Sugar Beets








Mint Rootstock








Irrigated Pasture 1








Data from Oregon Ag Information Network - Oregon State University Extension Service 1 2002 Ag Census

Water Rights and Irrigation

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Under Oregon law, most water is publicly owned. With some exceptions, a water right is necessary for anyone to use the public’s water whether it be from a stream, a lake, a reservoir or even a well. This water right permit is obtained from the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD). Generally speaking, landowners with water flowing past, through or under their property do not automatically have the right to use that water without a permit from OWRD. Oregon’s water laws are based on the principle of prior appropriation. This means the first person to obtain a water right on a stream is the last to be shut off in times of low-stream flows. In water-short times, the water right holder with the oldest date of priority can demand the water they are entitled to regardless of the needs of junior users. The prior appropriation doctrine is the basis of water law for most of the states west of the Mississippi River. East of the Mississippi, the riparian doctrine usually applies.

Fundamental Principles

Beneficial Purpose without Waste – Use for what the right was intended without waste. Priority Date – The date on which a water right is granted. Appurtenancy – Generally, a water right is attached to the land described in the right, as long as the water is used. If the land is sold, the water right goes with the land to the new owner. Must be Used – Once established, a water right must be used beneficially at least once every five years. With some exceptions established in law (ORS 540.610), after five consecutive years of non-use, the right is considered forfeited and is subject to cancellation.

Groundwater Exempt Uses

(Uses without the need of a water right) r Stock watering. r Not more than ½ acre of non-commercial garden or lawn.

r r r r

Single or group domestic purposes not exceeding 15,000 gallons per day. Single industrial or commercial purposes not exceeding 5,000 gallons per day. Down-hole heat exchange uses. Firefighting.

Central Oregon Fundamentals

In the Deschutes Basin and particularly around Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Madras and Sisters, most of the irrigation water diverted and used is conveyed by irrigation districts. You may have a water right attached to your land but the irrigation district is the quasi-governmental entity that is paid by you to deliver water to each specified, particular location within that irrigation district. Seven major irrigation districts in Central Oregon irrigate roughly 150,000 acres. The irrigation districts hold a water right just like any other water right holder and are in line with the other priority dates along the stream. The district can have water shut off just like other water rights in times of shortages. The local watermaster in Bend regulates all water right holders in Crook County and Central Oregon.

Rate and Duty Water rights are often expressed in units of cubic feet per second or gallons per minute. This would be a rate. The duty is the amount of water allowed to be used over an entire season and usually expressed in acre feet (AF). Typically, groundwater rights are limited to three acre-feet per acre east of

the Cascades. Some irrigation district water rights are allowed to divert up to 15 acre-feet per acre because of seepage loss in delivery canals.

Exempt Uses

These are allowed uses of water where a person does not need to have a water right. The most common is the well owner who uses it for the home. State law says a homeowner can use up to 15,000 gallons per day without the need for a water right. This may sound like a lot, but this exemption probably would allow up to 20 homes to be connected to a well. Typically, household use is about 40 to 60 gallons per person per day.


A water right can be moved around; it can be changed from one use to another or multiple uses. The benefit of a transfer is that the water can be moved to a higher and better use while keeping the original priority date. This becomes important when changing a water right, for example, from irrigation to in-stream flow. The water right is protected against other out-of-stream uses and therefore can remain in-stream where its beneficial use is intended. Transfers are becoming more common yet more and more complicated as time marches on.

Water Conservation

The State of Oregon has a process whereby a water right holder can conserve water from an existing water right. This is usually done when a person converts from a less efficient irrigation system to a more efficient irrigation system. The process requires 25 percent of the water

saved must go back in-stream and can go as high as 75 percent depending on public funding. With the water savings, you may irrigate new land, transfer in-stream or sell the water right to someone else.

In-Stream Leasing

In-stream leasing can be done easily and is another tool to help restore stream flow. A lease can be one year or up to five years and then may be renewed. In-stream leasing counts as a year of beneficial use and re-starts the abandonment clock. Permanent in-stream transfers require a higher standard of proof of use and are more involved. The Oregon Water Resources Department encourages your participation.


There are about 340 farms with approximately 78,000 acres of irrigated land in Crook County. Two major irrigation districts and water user organizations provide water to Crook County landowners. The Ochoco Irrigation District (OID) was formed in 1916. The OID stores water from the Crooked River in Prineville Reservoir; Ochoco Reservoir stores water from Ochoco and Mill creeks. In total the OID irrigates about 20,000 acres around Prineville. Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID), formed in 1900, irrigates approximately 15,000 acres in western Crook County (Powell Butte area). COID stores water in Wickiup and Crane Prairie reservoirs in the Cascade Mountains in Deschutes County. There are three water user organizations: Peoples – 1,600 acres; Crooked River Central – 1,500 acres; and Lowline – 1,000 acres. Land owners also have water rights on the North Fork Crooked River, South Fork Crooked River, Crooked River, and Beaver, Camp, Bear, McKay, Mill and Allen creeks. Some of the water rights go back to the 1870s. Long term weather records show that Prineville receives 10.5 inches of rain annually (since 1910). In order to raise an economic crop, irrigation water is essential for growing the many different crops grown in Crook County.

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Very little rain falls in the summer months, although thunder storms can dump a fair amount of water in flash events.

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Your water right allows you to use the water for beneficial use. That is, if you have a crop that takes 18 acre-inches of water to produce, then that is the amount of water you are entitled to use. If the crop takes 36 acre-inches to grow, then you are entitled to that amount (or up to your legal water right), as long as the irrigation district or the natural stream flows allow for that amount of water, unless it is a short water year. Irrigation management involves the beneficial use of water to grow your crop optimally. Whether you are irrigating one acre or 1,000 acres, the principles are the same. Knowing the depth and texture of the soil and water application rate will help you to optimize irrigation water application based on the constraints of your irrigation system. NRCS soil survey maps provide information for this purpose. Different crops have different seasonal crop water requirements. Depending upon the crop, generally there is less water use in the spring and the fall, with heavier water usage by the plants in the summer. It depends upon the weather and growth stage of the specific crop. Proper application of water on the land is accomplished by running one or more of a number of systems (hand line, wheel line, linear, pod, big or small guns, and large or mini-pivots) or by flood irrigating (wild flood, gated pipe or corrugates). The goal is to apply the right amount of water to fill up the soil profile to the rooting depth of the plants, so they can utilize the water for growth as efficiently and economically as possible, but not over irrigate. If you over-apply irrigation water, pumping extra water costs more money in your electric or diesel bill. Certain nutrients can be leached beyond the root zone of the crop, the water may run off into the neighbor’s fields and you will waste water. On the other hand, if you under-apply, you will lose crop yield. There is art and science to proper irrigation management and there are numerous resources to aid you in proper irrigation management. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Agrimet Crop Water Use System on the internet is an excellent resource that provides daily crop water use by the different crops during the irrigation season. The BOR Agrimet weather

stations are located at the Central Oregon Ag Research Center sites at Powell Butte and Madras, in Bend and in Christmas Valley. Use one of these weather stations as a guide, depending upon your location within the county and elevation. You will have to fine-tune the information for your specific property. The BOR web site is located at NRCS and OSU Extension Service have many other irrigation resources.

Weed Management What is a Weed?

Water Measurement Units Volume Units: One acre-inch 3,630 cubic feet 27,154 gallons 1/12 acre-foot One acre-foot 43,560 cubic feet 325,851 gallons One cubic foot 1,728 cubic inches 7.481 (approximately 7.5) gallons Weighs approximately 62.4 pounds (62.5 for most calculations) One gallon 231 cubic inches 0.13368 cubic feet Weighs approximately 8.33 pounds Flow Units: Cubic foot per second 449 gallons per minute 1 acre-foot in 12 hours or 1.98 acre-feet per 24 hours One gallon per minute 0.00223 (approximately 1/450th cubic foot per second) 1 acre-inch in 452.6 (approximately 450) hours or 0.00221 acre-inch per hour 1 acre-foot in 226.3 days or 0.00442 acre-foot per day 1 inch depth of water over 96.3 square feet in 1 hour Million gallons per day 1.547 cubic foot per second 694.4 gallons per minute

A weed is a plant that is no longer in its natural environment or is growing where it’s unwanted. Typically, weeds are aggressive, resilient and hard to control. A noxious weed is a weed determined by local authorities to be a problem. Scotch thistle is an example of a noxious weed in Crook County. Originating in Europe and Asia, it is now in a foreign land with no natural predators and it spreads rapidly. In some cases our native western juniper is considered a weed. In the last 100 years or so, western juniper has spread beyond its original habitat. This is due in part to a decrease in the fire frequency. Historically, fire frequency in juniper habitat was approximately every 20 to 50 years. Fire would kill young seedlings with the exception of juniper found on rocky slopes and range tops.

Why Should You Care?

Weeds affect everything from wildlife and livestock to farmers and the average home owner keeping up a lawn or garden. Americans spend millions of dollars every year on weed control, and for good reason. Weeds decrease plant diversity which in turn decreases productivity of the land. Noxious weeds like Medusahead rye can significantly reduce forage for grazing or increase the risk for catastrophic wildfire. Noxious weeds such as poison hemlock are poisonous to wildlife and livestock as well as to humans. Local ranchers lose livestock to hemlock every year. The main point is that weeds take the place of productive plants that would maintain a healthy landscape and pocket book.

What Can You do?

Prevention is the key to weed control, and smart management practices are the best prevention.

Early detection is the cheapest weed control method. Know how weeds spread. Weeds travel by wind, water, animals, humans and vehicles. Seeds can be transferred on hide, wool or hair of livestock or can be carried in the fecal material. For this reason, confine contaminated animals in places like feedlots or corrals until they have been shorn or the seeds have passed (5 - 6 days). Feed weed-infested hay in these areas as well. Avoid passing through weed-infested areas when seeds are the most likely to spread. Keep road construction and heavy equipment activity to a minimum, and clean vehicles, equipment and yourself each time you pass through these areas. Each time you disturb the soil, an opportunity for weeds to establish and increase is created. To reduce the spread you can mow, graze or treat with chemicals before weeds go to seed. When using grazing for control, maintain healthy native and pasture forage by not overgrazing. Overgrazing reduces pasture or plant health and may lead to an increase in weedy species and a decrease in overall forage production. Smart grazing practices are good prevention. A healthy pasture decreases the likelihood of infestation. Oregon State University, Crook County Extension, Crooked River Weed Management Area, Bureau of Land Management, Crook County Weed District or the Forest Service can be great resources. They have literature and experts who can help you identify your weeds and create a management plan for control.

Some Noxious Weeds of the Crooked River Subbasin Whitetop Whitetop is a perennial with many underground spreading roots. It can be identified by its many four petaled flowers which create a white flat top

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appearance. Whitetop emerge in early spring and are bloomed out by mid-summer taking on a tan color and leaving seed capsules. Whitetop can be found in hayfields, riparian areas and road edges.

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Medusahead Medusahead is an aggressive winter annual. It is sometimes confused with foxtail barley or squirreltail. The distinguishing factor is that the awns remain on the plant instead of falling off with maturity. In many cases it forms a dense mat and crowds out all other vegetation.

of the bracts below the flower on spotted knapweed are black. Leafy spurge Leafy spurge is a perennial which grows up to three feet tall and reproduces by vigorous rootstalks and seed. It can be identified by pink buds that are found on the crowns and brown roots of the plants. It has a unique look because of the green, heart-shaped bracts that lie below yellowish-green flowers. You can find leafy spurge in riparian areas following rivers and creeks. This weed is very difficult to control due to its very deep root system.

Knapweed Spotted knapweed has a stout white taproot, while Russian knapweed has black horizontal underground roots. Both have pink to purple flowers, but the tips

Irrigated Pastures There are approximately 39,000 acres of irrigated pasture in Crook County. These irrigated pasture acres range from high elevation native meadows to the valley floor with introduced grass and legume species. Managing an irrigated pasture takes thought and work. Know your goals. Pastures are complex agricultural systems involving minerals and microbial life in the soil and interaction with the sun, water, plants and animals. Plants utilize the soil, water and sunshine to photosynthesize and produce forage. Pastures can provide all or part of the feed and nutritional requirements of livestock during the growing season. These requirements are met by proper rotation and appropriate number of animals on the pasture. The amount of forage produced determines the number of animals a pasture can support (its carrying capacity), which will vary seasonally from spring through fall.

Mediterranean Sage

Yellow Flag Iris

The goal is to manage your pasture so forage production will take care of your animals. You are a grass farmer first and foremost. Grass and legume forage is the crop; animals are the harvesters of the crop. Animals are raised and the pasture crop is marketed as meat, milk, eggs, other products, or as animals. To manage the pasture properly, test the soil for fertility, choose the adapted grass species and varieties, fertilize, irrigate and graze the irrigated pasture in the correct manner. Many years of production can be obtained from your pasture. However, mismanagement of one or more of the items above will reduce pasture productivity and result in less carrying capacity. To monitor soil fertility, soil pH and nutrients should be tested every three to five years. If one or more

of the nutrient levels are at a critical nutrient level, then more frequent testing is advised. Most of the nutrients consumed by the grazing livestock are recycled back onto the pasture through urine and manure. Redistribution of nutrients depend on grazing management, shade, water location and livestock behavior. Monitor soil fertility over time by recording your soil fertility data, amount of fertilizer applied, number of animals grazed, etc. Record keeping allows you to keep track of soil fertility trends. Bottom line: are fertilizer resources being spent wisely? Pasture plants need to be fertilized based on the soil fertility test results and the amount of legume in your pasture. Depending upon productivity and economic goals, grass pastures may need 40 - 60 pounds per acre of nitrogen fertilizer applied two to three times annually. Nitrogen fertilizer may not be needed if the pasture contains a high percentage of legumes. Nitrogen, sulfur and selenium are generally lacking in pastures throughout Crook County. Proper grazing management is the next step to managing your pasture. Developing a livestock grazing plan can be complicated. It is based on the growing characteristics of the plant, the grazing behavior of the animal, and the timing and amount of fertilizer and water. If you allow the livestock to graze pastures too short, production decreases, reducing carrying capacity and causing loss of desirable plants. For assistance in develping a grazing plan, contact OSU Extension, NRCS or the Crook County SWCD.

Remember, be a grass farmer first.

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Rangeland Section Two


Rangelands account for approximately 1.4 million of the 1.9 million total acres which make up Crook County. Rangelands are composed of the non-irrigated, non-tillable, non-forested lands. In Crook County, rangelands are influenced by three primary ecological provinces. The Mazama, John Day and High Desert provinces are each unique in their combination of soils and plant communities. Average annual precipitation varies from 10 inches on the west end of the county to 15 inches on the east end. These lands are important in their production of forage for wildlife and livestock, provide important and unique habitats for species such as sage grouse, and offer aesthetic beauty for recreation. Vegetation found on the desert can be combined into four major plant groups: grasses, forbs (flowering plants), shrubs and trees. Common native grasses include bluebunch wheatgrass, Idaho fescue, Thurber’s needle grass, Sandberg’s bluegrass, June grass and bottle brush squirreltail. Common forbs include phlox, locoweed (Astragalus species) and crepis. Shrubs include big sagebrush (basin, Wyoming, mountain), low sagebrush, bitterbrush and rabbitbrush. Juniper is the tree species most commonly found on Oregon’s rangelands. Private rangeland ownership accounts for approximately 700,000 acres. These lands are used primarily for livestock grazing and wildlife forage and habitat. Wildlife management units established by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife include the Ochoco, Grizzly, Paulina, Maury and Silvies. Livestock production is a major industry accounting for over 50 percent of the farm gate receipts. Livestock grazing on rangelands is important to the stability of the industry. In addition to grazing private rangelands, grazing permits are issued by the Division of State Lands, State of Oregon, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Permit holders pay an annual grazing fee to the appropriate agency and are usually responsible for maintenance of fences, water development and

meeting grazing guidelines established by each of the land management agencies. Unlike grazing systems developed for irrigated pastures, grazing systems for rangelands must take into account the annual variations in weather, with emphasis on precipitation and growing season temperatures. For most native grasses, the growing season begins in late March or early April and ends by late July. Grazing prescriptions attempt to balance the needs of plant growth and reproduction with the needs of the grazing animal. Rotate livestock through pastures so that they will not re-graze an area more than once during the year. Do not graze the same area during the same time each year. Grazing systems are unique to each area and are dependent on the type of vegetation present, growing conditions of the site (including vegetative production, soil type and precipitation) and the goals and objectives of the landowner (you). Several agencies and organizations are available to provide assistance in site analysis and grazing system development. These agencies and organizations include the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the OSU Extension Service. Because of location and site limitations, water is usually the most limiting factor in developing a viable grazing system. Water for plant production is what falls during the year. Sixty to 70 percent of the annual precipitation occurs between October and April. Most of this precipitation occurs in the form of snow. Melting snow recharges soil moisture. Water for livestock and wildlife comes from springs, streams or water developments. Water developments include wells, springs, diversions of stream flow and guzzlers. Ground water varies throughout the county in its depth and volume. Assistance in drilling wells can be found through the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD). They can provide a list of licensed well drillers as well as copies of well logs from throughout the county.

Water rights may be necessary for spring developments if the surface flow of the spring leaves your property. Diversions of stream flow and use of wells for livestock water may be exempt from a water right depending on the daily volume of water used. OWRD should be contacted for current rules governing development of livestock water. Guzzlers are collection and storage units that are built to capture rain and snowmelt and make it available over

time. Collection areas or “aprons” are constructed out of materials that will gather the water and deliver it to a storage unit which is usually placed below ground level. Aprons have been made out of corrugated metal and asphalt. Storage units can be made out of plastic or concrete. Size of the apron and storage unit are based on available precipitation, number of animals for which water is needed and season of use. Technical assistance in designing guzzlers is available from NRCS and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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Forests and Woodlands

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Forested lands in Crook County are found on both private and public lands. Approximately 440,000 acres of forestland are managed by the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Private ownership accounts for nearly 80,000 acres. Forested lands provide timber, habitat for wildlife, recreational opportunities and forage for livestock. Forested lands also are the headwaters for the Crooked River and numerous streams. Under the Multiple Use Acts of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, public forests are managed under federal laws that provide for a balance of uses while maintaining a sustainable resource for future generations. Logging and forest practice activities on private lands is supervised under the Oregon Forest Practices Act by the Oregon Department of Forestry. For questions regarding logging practices and timber harvest on private lands, contact the Central Oregon District Headquarters, Oregon Department of Forestry in Prineville. Private forests are classified either as industrial or small acreage. Industrial lands are those forested lands of significant acreage that their primary purpose is timber production. Small acreage lands are usually a mix of timber and grazing lands and may be managed for both. Oregon Department of Forestry provides management assistance to both large and small acreage.

Numerous tree species are found in our forests. Common evergreen trees include ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, Douglas fir and noble fir. Deciduous trees include black cottonwood, alder and aspen. In the drier sites and found mostly on rangelands, western juniper is an evergreen tree. Timber management has been an important industry in Crook County for many years. Originally, small mills were scattered throughout the county because it was easier to transport boards than logs. Over the years, sawmills consolidated and at one time, Prineville had five working mills. In addition to sawmills, Prineville is host to numerous secondary wood manufacturing facilities.

If you own forestland, have you ever thought about managing it? You might ask, “Why would I want to manage my property? I just want to enjoy it.” People own forestland for a variety reasons including: r as a retreat or get-away. r for recreation (hiking, fishing, hunting). r an investment. r for timber income. r for grazing. r passing on a legacy.

trees help to reseed the area with young lodgepole pine to start the cycle over. Because lodgepole pine forests often develop into dense stands, thinning these forests can produce bigger trees, improve the health and vigor of remaining trees and help to “beetle proof” the stand. Actively managing your lodgepole pine forests can significantly reduce potential beetle problems.

Taking an active part in managing your property can enhance the very things you enjoy or care about. Actively managing your property in the right way can help protect your property from insects, diseases and wildfires. In recent years, wildfires have burned hundreds of thousands of acres of private and federal forestland in Central Oregon. Is your property and rural home in a condition that will resist wildfire?

A mixed-conifer forest is composed of several species of trees including ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, grand fir, western larch, and lodgepole pine. The mixed conifer forest type is above the pure ponderosa pine forests and often on cooler and moist north slopes and in mid- to upper-elevation creek bottoms.

It is important to know what kind of forest you have, as management strategies you might choose vary by forest type. In Crook County forests can be lumped into three primary forest types: lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine and mixed-conifer forests.

Pure lodgepole pine forests are found in cold air drainages, along high elevation rivers and creeks, surrounding cold meadows as well as in higher plateaus. Lodgepole pine forests are created from fire. Old decadent stands are usually attacked by bark beetles which kill the trees, creating fuel on the forest floor. A lightning strike ignites a wildfire and the forest is consumed. Seeds contained in cones on surviving

The younger ponderosa pine forests of today are more dense than the historic old-growth pine forests, mostly because periodic fire is not allowed to burn through the forests, in essence thinning the forest. Many younger, dense ponderosa pine forests are at risk to bark beetles. Thinning your ponderosa pine forest can improve tree growth and value and safeguard against bark beetles. Thinning out subordinate trees, what foresters call ladder-fuels, can also reduce the risk of wildfire.

Mixed-Conifer Forests

What Type of Forest Do You Have?

Lodgepole Pine Forests

have black bark and are often referred to as “black bark pine.” Much of the old-growth pine was logged off in the 1920s and 1930s, spurring early development in Central Oregon. Most private forestland is composed of black bark ponderosa pine that is 70 to 80 years old.

Ponderosa Pine Forests

Ponderosa pine forests are found just above the juniper woodland/sagebrush type and below the mixed-conifer forests type. Historically, old-growth ponderosa pine forests were kept open by repeated surface fires, which maintain open stands of large diameter old-growth trees, signified by orange or cinnamon-colored bark. Younger ponderosa pine trees

Mixed-conifer forests are the most productive forest type in Central Oregon. Because they contain a mix of species, they are more complex to manage, however, thinning can improve the growth of remaining trees. It is important to keep a good balance of tree species. Allowing a mixed-conifer forest to become dominated by grand fir and Douglas fir can lead to severe insect and disease problems. These species are more susceptible to drought, making them prime targets for bark beetles and root disease. Removing (thinning out) the understory fir species can also reduce ladder-fuels, thus improving the fire resistance of your forest. In managing your mixed-conifer

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forests, favor leaving healthy ponderosa pine, western larch and Douglas fir.

Be Aware of the Law

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Several laws govern the management of private forestland in Oregon. The two most important laws are the Oregon Forest Practices Act and Fire Protection Regulations. Logging and forest practice activities on private lands and adjacent to streams and creeks are governed by the Oregon Forest Practices Act, overseen by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The law also governs reforestation requirements after harvest and the application of chemicals on forestland. Fire Protection Regulations address fire prevention, burning permits, operation of machinery (including chainsaws) and designating fire season. For questions regarding logging practices, permits, timber harvesting on private lands and fire regulations, contact the Central Oregon District Headquarters, Oregon Department of Forestry in Prineville.

Where to Get Help

Oregon Department of Forestry Stewardship Forester Stewardship foresters can provide on-the-ground assistance to forest landowners. They oversee cost-share dollars for forestry projects on private land. If you have questions about how to manage your forest, invite a stewardship forester out to your property for a “walk-through.” OSU Extension Foresters Extension foresters provide educational assistance to private forestland owners. Classes, seminars and field tours allow you to learn more about managing your forestland. The Extension Service has many “how to” publications about managing your forestland. Forestry Consultants From time to time you may need specialized assistance. This could include a timber cruise, overseeing a logging operation or marketing your logs. Forestry consultants

can develop a management plan for your property. Although they charge a fee for their services, they often save you money. A list of local forestry consultants is available from the OSU Extension Forester or the ODF Stewardship Forester. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife If you are interested in enhancing fish and wildlife habitat on your property, you can get assistance from biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. They can also provide advice about how to deal with wildlife that damage your property. ODFW has cost-share programs to benefit you and the wildlife you want to enhance.

Livestock Livestock ownership provides income, companionship and additional responsibilities. Choosing the type of animal you own requires careful thought. The most important factor in your decision is committing to practice good animal husbandry and property management. The following chart is a guideline for stocking rates and is subject to the quality and productivity of your property. These stocking rates are applicable only during the growing season of the forages. The months of November - March will require supplemental feeds such as hay to maintain your animal in a healthy condition.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) The NRCS is a federal agency that assists landowners with soil and water conservation projects. Although they work primarily with farmers, NRCS provides technical advice on irrigation, pasture management, riparian restoration, wetland management and other conservation practices. In some cases there may be cost-share money to assist landowners in carrying out these practices. NRCS works closely with local soil and water conservation districts. Oregon Small Woodland Association (OSWA) OSWA is an association of family forestland owners. There are over 2,200 members from across Oregon. OSWA provides educational information and promotes and advocates for family forestland owners. OSWA also hosts tours and other events, produces a newsletter and a magazine called Northwest Woodlands. There are several local OSWA chapters around the state, including Central Oregon. If you are interesting in joining OSWA, contact them by phone or email (503-588-1813 /

Stocking rates for various livestock species for the months of April - October. Harvested feed will be required for all other months. Sheep Goats Alpacas Llamas Horses Cattle Pigs

Irrigated Pasture 5 animals/acre 5 animals/acre 3 animals/acre 2 animals/acre 1 animal/acre 1 animal/acre Not Recommended

Non-Irrigated Parcel Parcels less than 50 acres should not be viewed as a feed resource. Area should be used as an exercise area only. Animals should not have access to this area on a full-time basis as the risk of forage loss and weed invasion would be great.

The value and the productivity of the property will be affected by the grazing management. Property that becomes over-grazed is susceptible to weed invasion, erosion and dust. Grazing systems are important tools that will ensure the health of your grass. The smallest of acreages can benefit from implementing a system and managing grazing frequency, duration and intensity. There is a tendency for small acreage properties to become overgrazed. This exposes the pasture to weed invasion and erosion. Contact the OSU Crook County Extension Service for details on grazing systems. Livestock ownership is a privilege and a responsibility. Many times new landowners acquire animals without fully considering daily care and long-term cost associated with care. A chart is provided on the following page which estimates the cost of owning livestock. This chart is ONLY an estimate and the cost will vary from year to year. As the price of feed and the dependency on purchased feeds change annually, the cost will change. The chart is a tool to help you decide if the care of an animal is in your budget. If you would like more accurate and detailed budgets, please contact OSU Crook County Extension Service.

Right to House Livestock: Zoning Ordinances

There may be restrictions and regulations that govern the species and quantity of livestock you are allowed to house on your property. Be sure to check the county and city ordinances.

Animal Husbandry Ensures the Following r r r r r

Freedom from hunger and thirst. Freedom from discomfort. Freedom from pain, injury or disease. Freedom to express normal behavior. Freedom from fear and distress.

Estimated average yearly cost of owning an adult animal; includes health care and feed. Assuming irrigated pasture can supply all of the animal’s nutritional needs April - October, and harvested feed October March. Non-irrigated parcels will require harvested feed daily to meet the animal’s nutritional need.

Sheep Goat Alpaca Llama Horse Cow Pig (6 month ownership)

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*Irrigated Pasture $110 $110 $110 $140 $990 $390 $280

Non-irrigated Parcel $200 $200 $200 $290 $1,240 $910 $280

Assumes grass hay at market value of $200/ton. *Does not include irrigation fees, equipment and labor.

Recommendations for Proper Animal Husbandry r r r r r r

Shelter. Adequate nutrition and water. Exercise. Yearly vaccinations/Parasite control. Safe fencing. Emergency response plan.

Emergency Response Plan

Unfortunately, livestock can experience serious injury that may require veterinary assistance. Be prepared to have a means to transport your animals to a veterinary hospital to get necessary care. First-aid kits are a wonderful tool to help you give immediate attention to an injury until further care can be provided. Natural disasters often force livestock owners to make difficult decisions regarding pets and livestock. Although these animals deserve protection, keep in mind the human life should not be unnecessarily put at risk for the benefit of the animals. Having a well thought-out evacuation plan will protect your animals, your family and emergency response teams from unnecessary danger.

Evacuation Planning r r r r r r

Pre-arranged transportation to a pre-arranged destination. Permanent identification (ear tag, micro-chip, collars) for each animal. Health records/medications/veterinarian contact information. Emergency store of feed and water (3 - 7 days worth). Proof of ownership. Feed, halters/ropes, identification, records and medication should be placed in one location to make evacuation efficient and speedy.

Keep a written evacuation plan in a drawer or cupboard near the telephone in the event you are not home at the time evacuation must take place. Also include an inventory of livestock for evacuation. If evacuation is not possible, give an escape route to your animals; open gates/pens to allow animals the opportunity to flee a dangerous area or situation.

Keep the Environment Safe

Livestock production can affect the environment in positive and negative ways. Good management of livestock often adds nutrients to the soil and improves the aesthetics and value of the property through good stewardship of the land. However, poor management of livestock can harm the environment and put animals and humans at risk of disease and/or other contaminants. Dispose of manure and dead animals in a safe manner, away from wells and running water. There are local, state and federal laws in place that address water quality as it relates to agriculture. Obtain a copy of the “Crooked River Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plan” from the Crook County SWCD. For assistance or questions regarding manure management and animal disposal contact the OSU Crook County Extension Service. OSU Crook County Extension Service can assist you with animal husbandry, nutrition and management of livestock. Contact the extension office before you purchase any animals in order to have a safe, healthy home for your livestock.

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Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat Oregon is known for its diverse and abundant wildlife. Living in a rural area requires you to consider the impacts of your activities on wildlife and their habitats. Deer, although fun to watch, can cause considerable damage to landscapes and gardens. Woodpeckers may choose to drum on the side of your house, marking territory, trying to attract a mate or indicating that you might have an insect infestation underneath the siding which you should investigate. The busiest time of the year for conflicts between wildlife and people is in the spring when animals are searching for places to raise their young out of reach of predators. Other potential conflicts occur during hunting season when wildlife seek refuge from hunters or times of the year when feed resources are scarce such as winter and drought. Taking time to protect those special areas (e.g. gardens) or buildings from infestation and potential damage will make living with wildlife very enjoyable. Many people enjoy landscaping their yards to attract wildlife. By planting selected trees, shrubs and other food plants, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians can be encouraged to make your backyard their home. According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), consider your priorities in

landscaping your yard. Avoid attracting wildlife to pet areas or high-use areas for children or adults. Be sensitive to places where wildlife will be trying to raise their young. Ponds or other types of water features will welcome many types of wildlife. Frogs may serenade you at night which is music to some people but a nuisance to others. Fish in a pond may attract raccoons or birds which will feed on them. ODFW makes an excellent reference available for the purpose of helping you create your habitat. “Naturescaping – A Landscaping Partnership with Nature,” may be purchased at an ODFW office or local book store. ODFW has numerous publications at their field offices and website to assist you in creating landscapes to attract wildlife. Sometimes, managing conflict with wildlife becomes necessary. Conflict with birds (woodpeckers, sparrows, swallows), bats, beavers, deer and skunks are common. It is not uncommon to also have problems with cougars (mountain lions) and coyotes. Control information for these problems and others can be obtained from ODFW, OSU Crook County Extension Service or the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services.

Section Two


Riparian Section Two


What is a Riparian Area?

A riparian area is the zone of land adjacent to streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Healthy riparian areas typically have moist, fertile soils that favor the growth of plants that are dependent on those conditions and do not typically occur elsewhere in the landscape. The plants provide habitat for fish and wildlife, stability for streambanks and shade for the water below.

What Do Riparian Areas Do and Why Do They Matter?

A healthy riparian area reduces the chance of flood damage, improves water quality and provides habitat. Riparian plants do many things that are important for the health of the adjacent water body. Plants provide wood to streams that can create habitat, shelter, nutrients, oxygen, pools and bank protection beneficial for fish and other aquatic life. Wood in streams helps to slow the stream current during and after storms, reducing the potential for erosion. The roots of riparian plants hold soil in place, helping to prevent erosion. When muddy run-off occurs in the uplands, a healthy riparian area will help to filter the sediment and keep it from smothering fish and other aquatic habitat. Riparian zones provide a buffer that filters pollutants, fertilizers, pesticides and animal wastes from the adjacent water body. A well vegetated riparian area captures rain water in the soil rather than running over land into the stream, reducing flood flows and allowing more water to be released slowly during the dry season. In the summer, the leaves and branches of riparian plants provide shade to the water below; cool water is important for many native species (especially trout, salmon and steelhead) and for maintaining good water quality. Riparian areas provide an important source of food, shelter and hidden corridors to wildlife. In general a healthy riparian area will: r reduce flooding. r clean water, improving its quality. r provide habitat for fish, wildlife and other organisms.

Damaging riparian areas through removal of vegetation, unmanaged grazing, construction or landscaping practices can increase flood damage, harm fish and wildlife, and reduce aesthetic and recreational resources. Increased flooding may cause erosion and property damage. A decline in fish and wildlife may reduce opportunities for fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing. Economic opportunities are at risk when aesthetic and recreation resources are lost.

What Can You Do?

As a landowner in Crook County, you have many opportunities to be a steward of riparian areas. Many technical and financial resources exist in the county to help train you in best stewardship practices and to fund stewardship projects. Generally, stewardship practices fall into four categories: livestock management, riparian protection, landscaping and construction. The “Crooked River Agricultural Water Quality Management Area Plan” developed under the leadership of the Crook County SWCD and local agricultural interests, addresses landowner obligations for management impacts on water quality and riparian vegetation. Agriculture can impact water quality. Each landowner is legally responsible to ensure that their management practices or lifestyle does not contribute to decreased water quality through pollution, intentional or unintentional. Water quality can be affected by pesticide and herbicide use, fertilization, manure and grazing management of livestock, irrigation runoff, sewage and more. Oregon Department of Agriculture is responsible for developing and implementing agricultural pollution prevention and control programs to protect Oregon’s waters and for enforcing water quality law and regulation as it relates to agriculture. A copy of the plan can be obtained from the Crook County SWCD. Several entities can help you to ensure your practices are safe for water quality; Oregon Department of Agriculture, Crook County SWCD, Crooked River Watershed Council, NRCS and OSU Crook County Extension Service.

Livestock Management Grazing in riparian areas should be closely managed, or avoided if careful grazing management is not possible. A riparian fence can help to manage grazing in the riparian area. Alternatively, water, shade and salt strategically placed in upland areas encourage livestock to utilize upland areas and minimize their impact to riparian areas. Schedule grazing to maximize the benefits of vegetation management and encourage the growth of riparian trees, shrubs and grasses. Livestock grazing can be an important tool in managing noxious weeds in riparian areas. Riparian Protection Native riparian vegetation should be protected whenever possible. The careful management of livestock will promote riparian shrubs, trees and grasses. Allowing vegetation to become dense will help to reduce flood impacts, improve water quality and provide better habitat. Refrain from straightening stream channels or placing rock rip-rap on streambanks as both activities will transfer problems downstream. Learn about native plants and seek professional assistance for protection and restoration of riparian areas to improve your stewardship skills. Landscaping When landscaping in or near the riparian area utilize native plants if possible. Native plants are adapted to the high desert climate and rainfall patterns, and are more tolerant of many insects and diseases. Thus, care is often simplified and there may be less need of pesticides and fertilizers. When needed, consider organic fertilizers that release nutrients more slowly into the soil. Many riparian shrubs and trees can be taken from cuttings during the winter and staked deeply into the ground in the early spring. Several Central Oregon nurseries specialize in native plants. Construction Crook County requires a construction buffer of at least 50 feet from the average high water mark on streams and wetlands. Plan construction sites as far away from water sources as possible to enhance and maintain the riparian area while reducing the potential hazards and risks to your investment from floods and storm events. Stormwater and runoff from impervious surfaces like roofs and pavement should be directed away from

streams and towards stormwater catchment systems like swales or constructed wetlands. Construction should minimize paved areas and utilize gravel, bark or other permeable surfaces for walkways and paths.

Native Vegetation that Works

Healthy riparian areas include a variety of plants that fill different habitat needs. Trees, shrubs, grasses and broadleaf plants all contribute to benefits provided by riparian areas. Native species are adapted to the dry climate and require less water, pesticides and fertilizers. Common native species include: r Black Cottonwood (tall deciduous tree) r Quaking Aspen (tall deciduous tree) r Ponderosa Pine (tall coniferous tree) r Mountain Alder (medium deciduous tree) r Coyote, Sandbar and Pacific Willow (deciduous shrubs) r Redosier Dogwood (deciduous shrub) r Woods Rose (deciduous shrub) r Golden Currant (deciduous shrub) r Lupine (perennial wildflower) r Blue Flax (perennial wildflower) r Yarrow (perennial wildflower) r Tufted Hairgrass, Idaho Fescue, Bluebunch Wheatgrass (bunchgrasses) r Great Basin Wildrye (tall bunchgrass) r Sedges (wetland plant)

Noxious Weed Invasion

Crook County, like many areas in the arid West, is being invaded by noxious weeds. Noxious weeds are aggressive, non-native species that out-compete native species because they have no natural predators or diseases. The “noxious” designation is a legal determination made by the Crook County Weed Board. The designation is based on a weed’s potential threat to ecological, social or economic values and varies by state and county. Some noxious weeds that threaten riparian areas in Crook County include leafy spurge, yellow flag iris, diffuse and spotted knapweed, and Canada thistle. Financial and technical resources to treat noxious weeds are available from the Crooked River Weed Management Area.

Section Two


Resources Available to Help You Plan, Protect and Enhance Your Riparian Areas

Crook County is fortunate to have a number of organizations, public and private, whose missions include offering professional advice and financial assistance to landowners who have projects with objectives to protect, restore and enhance streams, riparian zones and uplands. Resources about nearly all of these programs and organizations can be found under one roof – the OSU Crook County Extension Service office in Prineville. r r r r r r r

Pest Management

Crooked River Watershed Small Grant Program Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Restoration Grant Program Crooked River Watershed Council Crook County Soil and Water Conservation District OSU Crook County Extension Service Crooked River Weed Management Area

Central Oregon resources for native plants and grass seeds: r Deschutes Basin Native Plant Seedbank r Crooked River Watershed Council

Section Two


Some pests are problems for the crops grown in Crook County. Severity of these problems will vary from year to year and crop to crop. Many of the pests can cause real economic damage. Some General Agricultural Insect Pests

Alfalfa: alfalfa weevil, grasshoppers, thrips and numerous aphids. Grass: Greenbug aphid, cereal leaf beetle, blackgrass bug, winter grain mite, clover mite, banks grass mite and grasshoppers. Mint: Two-spotted spider mites, flea beetles and strawberry root weevils. Cereals: Russian wheat aphid, numerous other aphids, cereal leaf beetle and grasshoppers.


Numerous diseases can attack the various agricultural crops in Crook County. Alfalfa: numerous root diseases including verticillium wilt, spring blackstem and three types of nematodes. Grasses: scald, rust, fairy rings and different nematodes. Cereals: numerous diseases over time including rusts, ergot, take-all, root rots, scald, “physiological leaf spot” and barley yellow dwarf. Garlic and Onions: white rot. Mint: verticillium wilt. Chickpeas: aschochyta.

Common Weeds in Crop Production

Broadleaf weeds: kochia, red root pigweed, lambsquarters, common mallow, common mullein,

various thistles including Canada thistle, leafy spurge, numerous knapweeds and Dalmation toadflax. Grass weeds: cereal rye, quackgrass, medusa head rye, bluegrass and witchgrass. Poisonous weeds: western water hemlock, poison hemlock, groundsel and various nightshades.


We have several rodent pests that you may have to deal with depending upon your location and the year. Rock chucks can be a pest in pastures and some yards. They like rocky out-croppings and will have many entrances to their homes. Voles (field mice), pocket gophers and ground squirrels (Beldings) can be a problem for both irrigated and dryland fields. These rodents damage the vegetation and can create holes and mounds in the fields. There are various control methods including baits, traps, burrow builders and gas cartridges. Contact OSU Crook County Extension Service or APHIS for more information.

Deer and Elk

Deer and elk are grazers of forage and can eat a fair amount of forage (grass and alfalfa) in your fields, as well as graze some other crops, depending upon seasonal growth of crops. Fences around hay stacks keep the animals from damaging hay, either from eating or tearing apart bales and trampling the hay.

Section Three oregon state uniVersity osu Crook County extension service OSU Crook County Extension Service was established in 1914. The Extension Service is a part of Oregon State University and provides life long learning opportunities in the areas of Agriculture, 4-H/Youth Development, Families and Community Development, Forestry, Horticulture, Leadership Development and Marine/ Fisheries. Extension helps individuals through problem solving, leadership development, and helps the public utilize research for practical applications. For education, information and assistance in any of these areas call 541-447-6228 or visit online at crook/index.php.

osu Central oregon agriculture research Center

Resource Guide Summary County Agencies State Agencies Federal Agencies

53 54 57 58

OSU Central Oregon Agriculture Research Center (COARC) facilities in Powell Butte and Madras conduct research with emphasis on crop management targeting production, weed control, insect control and disease control. Crops researched at COARC include potato, forages, turf and other cash crops. For more information call 541-447-5138 or visit online at coarc.

Crook County goVernment The government of Crook County is composed of many departments. Visit online at

agriCultural organiZations Crook County has several active groups that support and promote agriculture. These groups have members who reside and raise or grow agricultural products within the county or neighboring counties. For contact information call the OSU Crook County Extension Service.

general agriculture Crook-Wheeler County Farm Bureau Prineville Farmers’ Market Oregon Women for Agriculture

Crops/hay Central Oregon Hay Growers Association Central Oregon Mint Growers Association Oregon Wheat Growers League Central Oregon Grape Growers and Vintners Association

livestock Crook County Stockgrowers Association Central Oregon Meat Goat Association Central Oregon Rabbit Association Mid-Oregon Beef Cooperative


agenCy inFormation

organization assessor’s office (County)


Contact information

We produce the assessment roll, which lists the market value and ownership of properties within the county. This document helps figure property tax for all property owners including farm deferral determination.


We serve Crook County residents and Central Oregon visitors by offering new exhibits every year. We also feature speakers, area tours, historical and genealogical research assistance, annual celebrations, regular visitation hours, newspaper articles and quarterly publications.


We oversee all residential and commercial construction. We issue building permits within two to three weeks and inspections occur 24 hours from request proposal.


Our county administration is made up of a county judge and two county commissioners. The judge administers the county and is the chair of the County Court. The judge and commissioners form the Court which sets policy for the county and represents the county in various forums. The Court oversees personnel administration for county employees, supervises the operation of county departments and oversees the budget for the county.


County Clerk (County)

The clerk manages elections, the registering of voters and preserves all files and records for the county.


County Counsel (County)

We represent the county in several areas including court claims, personnel actions and discrimination claims, labor matters, land use and planning appeals, public records matters, code enforcement, constitutional challenges, foreclosure and lien actions, nuisance abatement, real property matters, worker’s compensation and public contracting regulations. We review contracts, agreements, ordinances, policies and other county actions.


Bowman museum (County)

Section Three

what we do

Building department (County) County administration (County)

Crook County soil and water Conservation district (County)

Established in the 1970s, the CCSWCD is dedicated to 541-447-3548 conserving the natural resources and watersheds within Crook County. Cost share programs and technical assistance are offered to landowners for soil and water conservation projects through our organization.


what we do

Contact information

Crooked river watershed We advise the Crook County Commissioners and the 541-447-3567 public in making recommendations concerning the oregonwatersheds. Council protection, restoration and enhancement of the quality org/oregoncouncils/ (County) of the Crooked River Watershed. As a non-profit organization, we assist private landowners within the watershed regarding various conservation projects.


Crooked river weed management area (County)

We provide cost-share and educational information on noxious weed control within the Crooked River Watershed.


district attorney (County)

We are responsible for the prosecution of crimes within the county, violations of juvenile delinquency acts and enforcement of child support orders within Crook County.


environmental health (County)

We are responsible for inspecting and licensing all Oregon Health Division facilities and monitoring all public water systems. We conduct the on-site septic program for Crook County.


Fairgrounds (County)

The Crook County Fairgrounds provides entertainment events to the public. We host long-lived traditions such as the horse races, Crooked River Roundup, county fair and other entertainment opportunities throughout the year.


geographic information system (County)

We provide advanced analysis, cartography and 541-416-3930 emergency management services. We offer a wide range of GIS, data analysis and graphic design consulting services to the public and local businesses.

health (County)

We provide the following services: Communicable Disease, Family Planning, HIV/AIDS, Immunizations, West Nile Virus, Flu/Pneumonia Clinics, Oregon Mothers Care, Tobacco Prevention & Education, Babies First!/Cacoon Home Visiting, STARS, WIC and Vital Records. All of the services we provide are private and confidential.

irrigation districts (County)

People’s Irrigation, Ochoco Irrigation District, Lowline 541-388-6669 Irrigation District, Crooked River Central Ditch *Contact the Oregon Water Company, North Unit Irrigation District Resource Department, Central Region Central Oregon Irrigation District



Section Three



Section Three


what we do

Contact information

Juvenile (County)

We provide information and assistance regarding drug and alcohol issues. We supervise youth who are on court-ordered probation as well as provide counseling and several other youth programs.


landfill (County)

We offer garbage and debris disposal along with recycling opportunities for the citizens of Crook County and surrounding counties.


library (County)

We are dedicated to providing reading, research and computer opportunities for the adults and youth of Crook County.


mental health (County)

We offer mental health and addiction treatment 541-447-7441 counseling for adults, youth, couples and families. Anger management, stress management, and parenting groups are offered through us. We provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities.


what we do

Contact information

Veterans services (County)

We assist veterans and their dependents in submitting 541-447-5304 claims to the Veterans Administration for several benefit programs related to disability including Service Connected Disability Compensation, Non-Service Connected Pensions, Widows Pensions, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, burial benefits, medical benefits, home loans, vocational rehabilitation, clothing allowance, adapted equipment applications and home improvement for Handicapped Adaptability and Remodeling.

weed Control (County)

We are responsible for the control of noxious weeds along or upon any county-owned property and county roadways. We advise citizens on weed identification and control.

oregon department of agriculture (state)

Regulatory: ensure food safety and provide consumer 503-986-4550 protection; protect the natural resource base for present and future generations of farmers and ranchers, and promote economic development and expand market opportunities for Oregon agricultural products.

oregon department of Fish and wildlife (state)

Provides wildlife, fish and recreation management for 541-447-5111 both private and public lands throughout the state. We assist with predator damage control.

oregon department of Forestry (state)

ODF offers programs to the private landowners in the Central Oregon District. Programs include: protection from forest fires, forestry assistance and forest health, and urban and community forestry.



Planning (County)

The planning department coordinates and administers 541-447-8156 land use in accordance with state and local regulations.

road department (County)

We maintain, repair and improve the county road system and the road and traffic control signs.


sheriff’s office (County)

The mission of the Crook County Sheriff’s Office is to work in partnership with all citizens to preserve life, maintain human rights and to protect property with the ultimate goal of maintaining and/or improving the quality of life in our county; to hold ourselves accountable to our community and to recognized professional law enforcement standards.


surveyor (County)

We maintain county records and assist other county departments in any survey matters. We review documents that need to be accepted into county record.


oregon department of state lands (state)


treasurer (County)

The county treasurer is responsible for investing county 541-447-6554 funds, oversees foreclosure proceedings, disperses tax monies and oversees enforcement of tax collection. The treasurer serves as the county’s financial and budget officer.

We manage state owned land or unclaimed lands; lead state agency for the protection and maintenance of Oregon’s unique wetlands resources; administers the state’s removal-fill law; maintain historical records related to early land transactions, including deeds, leases and plats.

oregon department of transportation (state)

Construction and maintenance of interstate and state highways and report weather-related driving conditions for the state.

541-388-6224 shtml

oregon water resource department (state)

By law, all surface and ground water in Oregon belongs 541-388-6669 to the public. The Water Resources Department is the state agency charged with administration of the laws governing surface and ground water resources. (Central Region)

Section Three



what we do

army Corps of engineers Planning, designing, building and operating water resources and other civil works projects (navigation, (Federal) flood control, environmental protection, disaster response, etc.)

Section Three


Contact information 503-808-5150 home. asp

Bureau of land management (Federal)

We manage public lands emphasizing outdoor 541-416-6700 recreation opportunities, riparian improvement, grazing management, and steelhead and salmon habitat prineville/index.php improvement.

Bureau of reclamation (Federal)

Provides infrastructure for agricultural development, hydropower production, flood control, municipal and industrial water, recreation, and fish and wildlife enhancement.

Farm service agency (Federal)

Serves the agricultural producers of Central Oregon 541-923-4358 by providing federal program benefits such as loans for operating and land purchase, commodity price supports, disaster relief, conservation and other needed agriculture support efforts.

natural resource Conservation service (Federal)

Manage natural resource conservation programs that provide environmental, societal, financial and technical benefits.

us department of agriculture: rural development (Federal)

We offer financial support programs essential for 541-923-4358 public facilities and services such as water and sewer systems, housing, health clinics, emergency service facilities and electric and telephone service. We promote economic development by supporting loans to businesses through banks and community-managed lending pools. We offer technical assistance and information to help agricultural and other cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their member services. We provide technical assistance to help communities undertake community empowerment programs.

us Fish and wildlife services (Federal)

Our goal is to provide partnerships and technical assistance for riparian restoration and enhancement, in-stream aquatic habitat restoration, native vegetation restoration and removal of exotic plants.

us Forest service (Federal)

We manage public lands using a multiple-use concept, including: various outdoor recreation activities, fire management, public wood cutting (permits required), allotment grazing, wildlife and fish management and forest health.

541-416-6500 index.shtml



OSU County Extension Service Mylen Bohle Area Extension Agronomist, Crook County Tim Deboodt Staff Chair/Range and Livestock Agent, Crook County Amy Jo Detweiler Horticulture Agent, Deschutes County Steven Fitzgerald Silviculture and Wildland Fire Agent, Deschutes County Emily Herringshaw Former Extension Program Assistant, Crook County Dana Martin Staff Chair/Small Farms Agent, Deschutes County Barbi Riggs Central Oregon Livestock Agent, Crook County Libby Rodgers Extension Program Assistant, Crook County Pam Wiederholt Office Manager, Crook County Crook County Court Scott Cooper

County Judge (2001 - 2008)

Crook County Soil and Water Conservation District Dottie Morisette District Manager Crooked River Watershed Council Max Nielsen-Pincus Executive Director (2006 - 2008) Crooked River Weed Management Area Brooke Gray Education and G.I.S. Coordinator Berta Youtie Coordinator Natural Resource and Conservation District Chris Mundy District Conservationist Other Contributors Jere Breese Kara Snider

Rancher, Pilot Butte Hereford Ranch Designer/Editor, The Maverick Star

Š 2010 Oregon State University. Extension work is a cooperative program of Oregon State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Oregon counties. Oregon State University Extension Service offers educational programs, activities, and materials without discrimination based on age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran’s status. Oregon State University Extension Service is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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