Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week announced the selection of Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects in nine states, including million-dollar projects in the Northwest.
The projects include partnership efforts on forest restoration treatments that reduce wildfire risk, enhance fish and wildlife habitats, and maintain and improve water quality.
"Working collaboratively with partners at the state, local and private level is an important part of the all-lands approach to improving the health our nation's forests," said Vilsack. "These projects will address forest restoration across landscapes, irrespective of ownership boundaries and helping create not only healthy forests and waterways and create green jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities."
The projects, funded at $10 million, were selected based on the recommendations of a 15-member Advisory Committee. Advisory committee members were selected based on their technical expertise, the points-of-view represented, which geographic region of the country they represent and diverse backgrounds.
"With the announcement of these selections, this valuable restoration work can begin to promote healthier, resilient, and more productive forested landscapes," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "We look forward to working with our community partners to achieve this vitally important work."
Additional information about the program can be found at: http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/CFLR/index.shtml
The project list includes:
Idaho's Selway-Middle Fork Clearwater - $1 million
The Selway-Middle Fork Clearwater Project is a joint effort between the Clearwater Basin Collaborative and the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests. The restoration project will protect communities from wildfire and restore land and water ecosystems. The basin is renowned for pristine waters, fisheries, big game species and scenic vistas. The project work includes: 2,600 acres of commercial harvest and prescribed burning, application of prescribed fire to approximately 10,000 acres, replacement of a culvert to restore fish passage, and the decommissioning of 75 miles of road.
Montana's Southwestern Crown of the Continent -- $1.029 million
The Southwestern Crown covers 1,449,670 acres, 70 percent of which is public land. It is one of the most biologically diverse and intact landscapes in the western United States. It supports 250 bird species, 63 species of mammals, five species of amphibians, and six species of reptile. Restoration will focus on stream and forest habitats using prescribed fire and natural ignitions as tools to restore species composition and structure. Removal of exotic species followed by planting of native species will be used to restore the landscape. Bridge and culvert replacements and upgrades, road restoration and upgrades, removal of fish barriers, and stream channel manipulation are also included.
Oregon's Deschutes Skyline - $500,000
This project is located on 97,000 acres in the Deschutes National Forest. The majority of the landscape is ponderosa pine and dry mixed conifer forest types. The goal of the project is to restore forest ecosystems to be resilient to natural processes. This will also help to achieve a variety of community goals such as job creation, reduced risk of high-severity fire in Wildland Urban Interface residential areas, protection of drinking water source watersheds, preservation of the scenic and environmental quality of extremely high use recreational areas, and wood fiber for local economic benefit.
Washington's Tapash - $1.63 million
The Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative aims to enhance the resilience and sustainability of forests by treating 168,617 acres over ten years. This project is a joint effort between the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, the Yakama Nation, the Washington Department of Natural Resources and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The restoration strategy uses a diverse array of treatment methods including pre-commercial and commercial thinning (including biomass removal), prescribed fire of natural and activity fuels, and trail management activities.