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News Release

USDA commits $4.4 million for three forest restoration projects in Oregon

Projects reducing wildfire risk on public and private lands in Deschutes, Lake, and Tillamook Counties

Release No. 2018-01-014

PORTLAND, Ore. — (Jan. 11, 2018) — Wildfire seasons are growing longer and more severe–but thanks to recent federal funding, local communities in Oregon are tackling the challenge head-on through forest restoration.  

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a $32 million nationwide investment for wildfire prevention projects on public and private lands, with $4.4 million going to local Oregon projects.

The funding is provided through the Joint Chief’s Landscape Restoration Partnership, an initiative led by the chiefs of two USDA agencies—the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service. Now in its fifth year, the Joint Chiefs’ Partnership brings together local landowners and partners to accomplish forest restoration on both federally managed national forests and adjacent private lands.

“Wildfire, invasive species, and water quality concerns don’t stop at the boundaries of private and public land,” said Jim Peña, Pacific Northwest Regional Forester. “By working together with agency partners, stakeholders, and private landowners, we can better protect local communities, strengthen the resilience of our forests, and contribute to rural economies.”

The three Oregon Joint Chiefs projects are:

  1. Greater La Pine Basin Cohesive Strategy (in partnership with the Deschutes National Forest): This three-year project began in 2016 to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire on state, federal and private lands in southern Deschutes County and Northern Klamath County. Project partners are doing pre-commercial thinning, brush management, fuel breaks and other activities to improve forest health and reduce fire risk. Total funding received for 2018: $1,778,052 (NRCS - $500,000, Forest Service - $1,278,052)

  2. Salmon Superhwy Basin Management Project (in partnership with the Siuslaw National Forest): This three-year project began last year in the Nestucca and Tillamook Bay watersheds in Tillamook County. This project is restoring and improving habitat for endangered Coho salmon and other migratory fish and wildlife species, while at the same time improving forest health and reducing wildfire risk. Total funding received for 2018: $690,000 (NRCS - $350,000, Forest Service - $340,000)

  3. North Warner Multi-Ownership Forest Health Project (in partnership with the Fremont-Winema National Forest): This three-year project began last year in the North Warner landscape in Lake County, which contains extensive stands of old legacy ponderosa pine intermixed with aspen and meadows, with greater sage grouse focal habitat adjacent to the north and east. USDA and its partners are performing forest health treatments through commercial harvest, small tree thinning, and slash treatments on federal and private lands. Total funding received for 2018: $1,899,750 (NRCS - $400,000, Forest Service - $1,499,750)

Joint Chiefs projects have a history of success in Oregon. Since the initiative began in 2014, Oregon conservation partners have completed two Joint Chiefs projects: the East Face of the Elkhorn Mountains project in Baker and Union counties; and the Ashland Forest All Lands Restoration (AFAR) in Jackson County.

AFAR Header

The AFAR project just wrapped up its final year of Joint Chiefs funding in 2017, and serves as a national model for successful collaborative forest management.

Ashland partners leveraged the Joint Chiefs program to expand their existing efforts in the watershed for proactive restoration that started in 2010 with the Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project. The Joint Chiefs program contributed $9.8 million over three years to help private landowners and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest protect water quality and homes, while restoring dry forests and critical habitat in the area surrounding the City and its municipal watershed. Additionally, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board invested $4 million in the project from 2105-2019, and has pledged an additional $2 million through 2021.

To date, project partners and local landowners have completed more than 8,400 acres of landscape-scale fuels reduction and restoration, which generated 14 million board feet of by-product logs that sustain timber jobs and support the local economy.  Read more in the AFAR summary report.

For more information on AFAR, contact Chris Chambers with the City of Ashland at 541-552-2066.

 

Contact:
Tracy Robillard, Public Affairs Officer - NRCS Oregon
503-414-3220, tracy.robillard@or.usda.gov

Stephen Baker, Public Affairs Officer - Forest Service
503-808-2690, stephenbaker@fs.fed.us

Photos available on Flickr.