Department of Ecology News Release - February 17, 2016

Palouse farmers honored for commitment to clean water

SPOKANE – The Palouse-Rock Lake Conservation District is being recognized for leadership in making on-the-ground improvements that benefit healthy farms and protect clean water.

The Washington Department of Ecology presented district staff and the board of supervisors with an Environmental Excellence award today, the agency’s highest honor.

The district has worked with private landowners to reduce erosion and improve shade along 40 miles of streams and rivers in the Palouse region by planting more than 100,000 native trees.

When presenting the award, Heather Bartlett, the Water Quality program manager at Ecology, took a moment to highlight the district’s forward thinking.

“Their work and steadfast commitment to conservation farming practices will benefit clean water now and into the future,” said Bartlett. “The district continues to secure funds for programs that keep agricultural lands working in an environmentally friendly way.”

Through direct-seeding or low-tillage farming thousands of tons of soil have been prevented from eroding and washing down stream. More than 45,000 acres have benefited from direct-seed tillage under the district’s cost-sharing program since 2010.

The district’s leadership and work on the ground will benefit Palouse River water quality improvement projects designed to address warm temperatures, low oxygen and high bacteria.

Contacts:

Brook Beeler, communications, 509-329-3478, @ecyspokane