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Landowners collaborate to create landscape solutions

Highlights in Conservation icon

Landowners collaborate to create landscape solutions

Image: Example of forest stand improvement efforts.

Example of forest stand improvement efforts. An adjacent property is just behind the treated area, and gives an idea of what the original stocking looked like.

Location icon
Kittitas County, Cle Elum

Project Summary icon
Three neighbors enrolled in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to reduce fire hazard and improve forest health conditions. The success of these efforts are spreading through the community and other landowners are becoming interested.

Conservation Partners icon
NRCS and Washington Farm Forestry Association

Resource Challenges icon
Much of the forestland in Kittitas County is plagued with overstocked conditions and a host of disease and insect outbreaks. To make things more challenging, many of the private forests in Kittitas County have been subdivided into 20-40 acre parcels. Treating a stocking or pest issue on small parcels is often a challenge if the land surrounding the property is going untreated. Three landowners in South Cle Elum had been struggling to find the right management approach for their forests. They each suffer from overstocked stands that are plagued with dwarf mistletoe, root rot, and western spruce budworm. All of these contributing factors have left the properties prone and defenseless to wildfire. One by one, they contacted NRCS for help and each have been working with EQIP to solve these issues on a landscape level.

Conservation Program Used icon
Each landowner enrolled in EQIP to implement forest stand improvement, pruning, slash treatment, pest management, and restoration of declining habitats. They have shared equipment, time, experience, knowledge, and sore backs over the last two years as they make progress on their properties and EQIP contracts. They are all actively involved members of the Washington Farm Forestry Association and are true stewards of the land. Together they are treating nearly 100 acres which has improved wildlife habitat, reduced wildfire hazard, managed diseases and pests, and created a healthy forest ecosystem.

Innovations and Highlights icon
Each landowner is managing their forests slightly different than the others. One landowner might be more interested in promoting elk and deer winter habitat, while another is looking to create more defensible space around their home. By having multiple objectives, the landowners and NRCS has been able to create a forest mosaic that is suitable for a variety of wildlife species and increased forest diversity.

Results and Accomplishments icon
The best compliment a conservationist and land steward could ever ask for is increased involvement. More and more neighbors are asking questions and wanting to become involved with treating their forests and are seeking assistance from NRCS.

Contact icon

Erin Kreutz, Soil Conservationist, Ellensburg, WA, (509) 925-8585 ext. 107

NRCS, Fall 2012

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