Conservation Corner

Welcome to our online newsletter where we will keep you updated on everything the Pierce Conservation District is working on, from our work On the Farm to Water Quality Improvement. The Conservation Corner highlights our most interesting stories, but does not include everything. Find our other stories linked in the sidebar and below. 

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Aug 31

Manure Bins Make a Win Win

Posted on August 31, 2017 at 8:45 AM by Allan Warren

Manure Bin Workshop
Every workshop participant expressed great satisfaction with the bin design, which was created by Pierce Conservation District’s Water Quality Assistant and Gig Harbor graduate Caleb Mott.

Back in February, on a cold and rainy morning, 18 local farmers and livestock owners gathered together at the Key Peninsula Civic Center to build a simple manure bin. These farmers learned how to put the bin together and at the end of the workshop each left with a kit of materials to build their own bin. Since the workshop was held, 19 of these bins have been built and are in use in our community. By storing and composting, the manure can be used as a beneficial pasture fertilizer instead of contaminating our surface and groundwater. 

Prior to attending the workshop, participants read through a document about how to safely use the bin to compost manure and then demonstrated they knew how to properly manage manure by answering a few questions. 

“I was surprised by how much quicker and easier it was to build the bin than I had expected” said Mayo Cove farmer Sil Underwood after attending the event. “An un-expected bonus was the opportunity to connect with other local farmers; we are actually staying in contact with several of the people we met at the workshop”. 

The workshop was funded by a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency through the Washington State Department of Ecology and was a collaboration between Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and Pierce Conservation District.

Our Watershed Program Manager, Sofia Gidlund, developed the workshop after speaking with many livestock owners about their manure storage. On Key Peninsula, many landowners only have a few animals and so a simple, small bin is all that’s needed. However, the manure from just one goat can have a negative impact on our waters, so small and inexpensive manure bins (less than $500 in materials for each bin) make it easy for owners of small numbers of livestock to manage their manure.  

Because of the great success of the first workshop, another workshop will be offered on September 9th for livestock owners in the Vaughn, Rocky, Filucy, and Mayo Cove watershed areas of Key Peninsula. 

Pierce Conservation District provides design, guidance and other services as funding allows for assisting livestock owners to manage their manure and safely cycle nutrients on the farm. Contact Sofia Gidlund at or (253) 845-9770 ext. 105, to see if you qualify for the next “Build you own bin” workshop in September. 


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