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Buttes to Basins

Funding Pool: Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership. This is a partnership between two USDA agencies—the Forest Service and NRCS -- to mitigate wildfire threats to landowners and communities across the nation. USDA selects and funds new projects every year under this initiative to help improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet.

Project Timeline: 3 years (2021 – 2023)

Location: Deschutes and Jefferson Counties, Oregon

Project Summary
Located in Deschutes and Jefferson Counties, Oregon, the landscape is characterized by an expansive Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) area surrounding the cities of Bend and Sisters, and a mosaic of ponderosa and lodgepole pine dry forest types within high wildfire risk watersheds. Diverse plant communities and wildlife habitats within the project area are connected by the Deschutes River and three primary tributaries: the Metolius River, Whychus Creek, and Tumalo Creek. The lower elevations of Buttes to Basins are important winter range for mule deer which are in decline in Central Oregon, and the upper elevations contain critical northern spotted owl habitat that has also been in decline. Central to Buttes to Basins is the Bridge Creek Watershed, an important water source for the 100,000+ residents within the City of Bend. The Project area provides countless benefits to the residents of Central Oregon and the region more broadly, including clean air, water, and a robust economy based on forest products, agriculture, tourism, and recreational opportunities. The planning committee assembled for this proposal is comprised of representatives from the Deschutes National Forest, Deschutes Basin NRCS, Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District (DSWCD), Deschutes County, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), and the Central Oregon Cohesive Strategy. As part of this proposal, the committee identified a wide variety of implementation activities to address the following priorities: (1) Enhancing watershed hydrologic function, (2) Improving upland wildlife habitat and (3) Reducing wildfire risk and increasing forest resiliency.

Resource Concerns:
Plants - Wildfire hazard from biomass accumulation
Plants - Plant Structure and Composition
Plants - Plant Pest Pressure
Water - Sediment Transported to Surface Water
Animals - Terrestrial habitat for wildlife and invertebrates

Land Uses:
Forest, Range, Pasture, Associated Ag Land, Farmstead, other Rural Land

Practices Offered:

  • Brush Management 314
  • Prescribed Burning 338
  • Critical Area Planting 342
  • Fence 382
  • Firebreak 394
  • Tree/Shrub Site Preparation 490
  • Range Planting 550
  • Tree/Shrub Establishment 612
  • Tree/Shrub Pruning 660
  • Forest Stand Improvement 666
  • Fuel Break 383
  • Woody Residue Treatment 384
  • Herbaceous Weed Treatment 315

Collaborating Partners

  • Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • U.S. Forest Service - Deschutes National Forest
  • Oregon Department Forestry
  • Deschutes Soil and Water Conservation District (DSWCD)
  • Deschutes County
  • Central Oregon Cohesive Strategy

Ranking Questions

  1. Does the project leverage the management of natural resources across public and private land ownership boundaries?
  2. Is the project located in an area that is adjacent to high priority projects on public land as identified in the selected JCLRP project proposal?
  3. Is the project located in an area that is within the same 12-digit hydrologic unit as high priority projects on public land as identified in the selected JCLRP project proposal?
  4. Is there an approved forest management plan that has been developed for the property within the past 10 years?
  5. Is there an approved forest management plan that has been developed for the property greater than 10 years ago?
  6. The project area is clearly identified in an existing forest management plan.
  7. The proposed action includes forest stand improvement and woody residue treatment.
  8. The proposed project is adjacent (<500 feet) to an existing forest stand improvement project area.
  9. The proposed project is >500 feet to 1 mile of an existing forest stand improvement project area.
  10. The proposed project is greater than 1 mile of an existing forest stand improvement project area.
  11. Overall Watershed Wildfire Risk is Very High
  12. Overall Watershed Wildfire Risk is High
  13. Overall Watershed Wildfire Risk is Moderate
  14. Overall Watershed Wildfire Risk is Low
  15. Overall Watershed Wildfire Risk is Low Benefit or Benefit

NRCS Point of Contact

Lars Santana, District Conservationist
(541) 699-3194
Lars.Santana@usda.gov