2017 ORS 541.984¹
Grant programs
  • technical committees
  • rules

(1) The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board shall establish programs to provide grants from the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Fund for the purposes of:

(a) Assisting owners of working land with succession planning for those lands;

(b) Funding the purchasing, implementing, carrying out or monitoring of conservation management plans, working land conservation covenants or working land conservation easements described in ORS 541.981 (Conservation management plans for working lands) and 541.982 (Working land conservation covenants and easements); and

(c) Providing development funding or technical assistance to organizations that enter into or propose to enter into agreements resulting in conservation management plans, or that accept or propose to accept working land conservation covenants or working land conservation easements.

(2) The board, after consultation with the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Commission established in ORS 541.986 (Oregon Agricultural Heritage Commission), shall adopt rules that establish a process for submitting and processing applications for grants under ORS 541.981 (Conservation management plans for working lands) and 541.982 (Working land conservation covenants and easements). To the extent practicable, the board shall design the process to:

(a) Allow flexibility and responsiveness to program participant needs; and

(b) Ensure compatibility with federal working land conservation easement programs and other programs for the conservation of working land.

(3) The board and the commission, shall jointly appoint one or more technical committees to evaluate and rank conservation management plans, working land conservation covenants and working land conservation easements described in applications filed under ORS 541.981 (Conservation management plans for working lands) and 541.982 (Working land conservation covenants and easements). The system used by the technical committee or committees shall provide for the ranking of conservation management plans to be separate from the ranking of working land conservation covenants and working land conservation easements. The ranking for a plan, covenant or easement shall be based on criteria that include, but need not be limited to:

(a) The extent to which the plan, covenant or easement would protect, maintain or enhance farming or ranching on working land;

(b) The extent to which the plan, covenant or easement would protect, maintain or enhance fish or wildlife habitat, improve water quality or support other natural resource values;

(c) The extent to which the plan, covenant or easement would protect agricultural outcomes, benefits or other investment gains;

(d) The capacity of the organization that filed the application to enter into a conservation management plan, accept a working land conservation covenant or working land conservation easement, and the competence of the organization;

(e) The extent to which the benefit to the state from the investment may be maximized, based on the ability to leverage grant moneys with other funding sources and on the duration and extent of the conservation management plan, working land conservation covenant or working land conservation easement; and

(f) The extent and nature of plan, covenant or easement impacts on owners or operators of neighboring lands.

(4) The criteria for ranking conservation management plans, working land conservation covenants or working land conservation easements under subsection (3) of this section may not include a consideration of the type of agricultural operation conducted on the working land.

(5) An applicant must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board that the participants in a conservation management plan, working land conservation covenant or working land conservation easement to be benefitted by a grant under this section understand and agree to their roles and responsibilities under the plan, covenant or easement.

(6) The board may issue a grant to fund a conservation management plan, working land conservation covenant or working land conservation easement described in ORS 541.981 (Conservation management plans for working lands) and 541.982 (Working land conservation covenants and easements) only if:

(a) There is a contribution of cash for the plan, covenant or easement, a contribution of in-kind services or another form of investment in the plan, covenant or easement from a funding source other than the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Fund;

(b) The plan, covenant or easement is reviewed by a technical committee that has expertise relevant to the described plan, covenant or easement; and

(c) The commission reviews and recommends funding of the plan, covenant or easement.

(7) Except as provided in this subsection, an organization that receives a grant from the board for a conservation management plan, or an agricultural owner or operator receiving payments of moneys from an organization grant regarding a conservation management plan, may receive cash contributions, other financial assistance, in-kind services or investments, rental or easement payments, tax benefits or other benefits from a federal, state or private entity in return for practices related to the purchasing, implementing, carrying out or monitoring of the conservation management plan. The board or an organization grant may not, however, provide payments that duplicate any federal, state or private payments for the same measures directed to maintaining or enhancing fish or wildlife habitat, improving water quality or supporting other natural resource values within the plan.

(8) An organization that receives a grant from the board for a working land conservation covenant or working land conservation easement, or an owner of working land that enters into a working land conservation covenant or grants a working land conservation easement, may receive cash contributions, other financial assistance, in-kind services or other forms of investment from any public or private sources for purposes of purchasing, implementing, carrying out or monitoring of the covenant or easement. [2017 c.716 §6]

Note: See note under 541.977 (Definitions for ORS 541.977 to 541.989).

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 541—Water Distributors; Water Releases; Conservation and Storage; Water Development Projects; Watershed Management and Enhancement, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors541.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 OregonLaws.org contains the con­tents of Volume 21 of the ORS, inserted along­side the per­tin­ent statutes. See the preface to the ORS An­no­ta­tions for more information.
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.