Learn more about how the District plans to address this resource concern in
the Long-Range Business Plan for 2011-2015 (pdf file).
Healthy soil is able to:
- sustain plant and animal productivity and diversity,
- maintain and enhance water and air quality, and
- support human health and the surrounding environment.
Enhancing organic matter, preventing erosion, and avoiding soil compaction are three key components to maintaining healthy soil.
What does healthy soil look like?
Get information about your soils using the Web Soil Survey.
- Soil testing instructions
Take a soil sample to determine what your soil needs to produce a successful crop.
- Labs in Oregon
After you take a soil sample, send it to a lab in Oregon to get it analyzed for nutrients. Call the lab first for information on pricing and mailing procedures.
- Soil Interpretation Guide
OSU Extension’s Soil Interpretation Guide will help decipher your soil test results.
OSU Extension has produced Fertilizer Guides for many different crops. Visit OSU Extension’s Small Farms website for more information.
Adding organic matter improves soil structure, enhances water and nutrient holding capacity, protects soil from erosion and compaction, and supports a healthy community of organisms.
Ways to increase organic matter:
- Plant a cover crop – Check out this link to the OSU Extension website.
- Add compost – What is compost? Compost is a mixture of organic materials, broken down by beneficial microorganisms. It provides vital nutrients to help plants grow and look better.
- Composting Horse Manure and Farm Waste
- Composting Manure – What’s going on in the dark?
- Metro – Guide to Effective Composting
- Oregon DEQ Compost Information
- Rotate your crops
- Use reduced tillage
Soil erosion impacts the water we drink, the food we eat, and the recreation we seek. Erosion occurs throughout the Tualatin River Watershed, eventually carrying sediment, bacteria, chemicals, and nutrients to waterways we all enjoy.
- Filter Strips – Plant a grass strip along your field to filter any contaminants before they reach the stream.
- Protect streambanks from eroding by planting native vegetation along the stream:
Guide for Using Willamette Valley Native Plants Along Your Stream
Soil compaction makes it difficult for water and nutrients to move throughout the soil. Causes may include farm equipment and livestock. Avoiding compaction:
- Avoid driving over soil when wet
- Try confining equipment or livestock traffic areas to the same area on the farm