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Private Forest Landowners Protect Timberland through Cooperative Effort

Highlights in Conservation icon

Private Forest Landowners Protect Timberland through Cooperative Effort

Image: A forest stand following a fuel hazard reduction.

A forest stand following a fuel hazard reduction. Small diameter trees were removed to help protect the stand from wildfire.

Location icon
Columbia, Garfield and Asotin County, City of Clarkston

Project Summary icon
Federal stimulus dollars enable private forest landowners in the Blue Mountains to safeguard timber stands.

Conservation Partners icon
USDA Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Asotin County Conservation District, Blue Mountain RC&D Council, Pomeroy Conservation District and private forest landowners.

Resource Challenges icon
Following the School and Columbia Complex catastrophic wildfires of 2005 and 2006, private forest landowners expressed concern about overstocked forest stands. Community Wildfire Protection Plans were completed in 2007, enabling the counties to see funding assistance for fuel hazard reduction projects.

Conservation Program Used icon
National Fire Plan funds are managed by the USDA Forest Service and implemented by the Washington Department of Natural Resources. The Blue Mountain RC&D in Columbia County, the Pomeroy Conservation District in Garfield County and the Asotin County Conservation District in Asotin County are charged with delivering the program funds on the ground. The National Fire Plan goal is to reduce the threat of future wildfires by aggressively reducing the volume of small diameter material, hazardous fuels and safeguarding private forest landowner property in a cost-effective manner.

Innovations and Highlights icon
The funding tools used are unique. Most federal cost share opportunities require a cost share split, 50% from government and 50% from the landowner. In an effort to stimulate landowner involvement, the fuel hazard reduction effort pays 75% costs to the landowner, requiring a 25% match from the landowner. The program is intended for landowners expenses be covered, included fuel for equipment, move-in, move-out costs and labor to complete fuel reduction work. The funding gave way to private forest landowners stepping up to utilize the unique cost-share opportunity which in turn, is stimulating jobs in the forest contracting industry. The program targets small diameter material, less than 8", not sold for commercial use. The goal of the program to reduce hazardous forest fuels and safeguard private forest land and landowner improvements.

Results and Accomplishments icon
Currently, six fuel reduction projects are underway or completed. Many more are planned, awaiting more favorable weather and operating conditions. Asotin County has increased the acres treated by landowners who are willing to invest additional cost-share funds. Landowners have until Nov. 30, 2011 to complete the application and one year from the date of signing to complete project work.

Contact icon

Mike Miraglio, Asotin County Conservation District, Clarkston, WA, (509) 758-8012

NRCS, Winter 2010

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