Weiser - Little Salmon Headwaters CFLRP

Restoration through Community Based Collaboration

The Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters CFLRP is a landscape scale approach at managing an area of over 970,000 acres across three ranger districts on the Payette National Forest.  The WLSH CFLRP proposes a combination of timber harvest, restoration, and recreation improvement activities that would improve watershed conditions and promote the development of ponderosa pine forest habitat. The Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters CFLRP was selected in February 2012 as one of 10 new projects nationally to receive annual funding from the CFLR Program for a period of eight years.  This annual restoration budget will accelerate the rate of restoration on forested lands including both terrestrial wildlife habitats and aquatic habitats, and contribute to local job retention and creation.   

The Goal of our WLSH CFLRP are:

  • Restore ponderosa pine dominated forests to historic stand structure and function.
  • Improve wildlife habitat for white-headed woodpeckers by restoring forested landscape to within historical range of variability.
  • Improve habitat for other wildlife species (such as Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel (NIDGS) as appropriate.
  • Restore fish habitat connectivity.
  • Reduce road related sediment.
  • Improve floodplain function.
  • Restore upland and riparian vegetation.
  • Maintain and promote large tree forest structure, early seral species composition and forest resiliency.
  • Reduce the risk of wildfire to local communities.
  • Encourage woody biomass utilization.
  • Provide local economic benefits.  Contribute to economic vitality of the communities adjacent to the Payette National Forest.

The WLSH CFLRP project is a collaborative effort working with the Payette Forest Coalition (PFC), a local collaborative group.  The PFC is comprised of stakeholders from a broad range of local interests including the environmental community, forestry groups, the timber industry, motorized and non-motorized recreational groups, tribes, and county and state government agencies.  The goal of the PFC is to recommend objectives and guidelines for projects on a landscape scale that would restore forest vegetation conditions, improve habitat for white-headed woodpeckers, reduce the risk of wildland fire, and improve the economic conditions of the local communities.  

Now in its sixth year working with the WLSH project, the PFC remains committed and active in learning about the WLSH CFLRP program and providing project design recommendations for large scale landscape restoration.  The energy and commitment is growing as the Coalition sees more projects being implemented on the ground and an acceleration of restoration throughout the WLSH CFLRP landscape. The PFC website is: www.payetteforestcoalition.org

 WLSH Project Area

Current accomplishments of our WLSH CFLRP include through 2017:

  • 104,073 acres of fuels treated within WUI and non-WUI areas.
  • 17,955 acres of forest vegetation established and improved.
  • 193,434 CCF of timber volume sold
  • 12,610 acres of treated for noxious weeds and invasive plants
  • 147 miles of stream habitat restored or enhanced
  • 95,529 acres of wildlife habitat enhanced
  • 2,350 miles of road maintained and improved
  • 26 stream crossing constructed or reconstructed for aquatic organism passage
  • 1,069 miles of system trail maintained and improved
  • 86,681 green tons of biomass produced
  • 818 acres of water or soil resources protected, maintained and improved

WLSH LCBC Meeting

 

Currently, work is focused on completion of a draft EIS for the 3rd project- Middle Fork Weiser River (50,000 acres) and scoping of a Proposed Action for the 4th project- Huckleberry (67,000 acres).  The PFC continues to monitor and support implementation of the first and second projects:  Mill Creek Council Mountain (50,000 acres) and Lost Creek Boulder Creek (80,000 acres).  The quality of the PFC recommendations is extraordinary.  The PFC intervened on behalf of the Forest Service in the litigation on the Lost Creek Boulder Creek project.  Due to strong collaborative and community support, the federal court dismissed the lawsuit against the Lost Creek Boulder Creek project. 

Projects within the WLSH CFLRP Area:

Project 1 - Mill Creek - Council Mountain Landscape Restoration Project - implementation.

Project 2 - Lost Creek - Boulder Creek Landscape Restoration Project - implementation. 

Project 3 - Middle Fork Weiser River Landscape Restoration Project - Record of Decision signed in December of 2017.

Project 4 - Proposed Huckleberry Landscape Restoration Project.  Public Scoping period is closed.  This project is under NEPA analysis now.

Project 5 - yet to be determined, but planned to begin the initial stages of project planning in 2017.

The WLSH CFLRP program brought several community benefits from implementation of stewardship contracts.  The projects have generated increased jobs in Adams County and some stability to the timber volume offered each fiscal year.  Between 2012 and 2016, the Payette awarded within the WLSH CFLRP an average of three stewardship contracts each year, for a total of nine stewardship contracts.  There were also three new stewardship contracts from the Lost Creek Boulder Creek EIS awarded in 2016:  4th Rock, Cold Bear, and Lost Butter.  Four additional contracts will be advertised in 2017.  Six of the stewardship contracts were purchased by Evergreen Forest, the family-owned company that manages the last remaining local sawmill  Thanks to the project area contracts, the mill was able to sustain 35 full time jobs over the past several of years.  This has resulted in total labor income of $6 to $10 million per year.   The mill has now begun to add an additional partial shift, and create even more local positions.  These partnerships created from WLSH CFLRP projects help promote economic growth in surrounding communities.   These projects are contributing to improvement of forest and watershed health and fish and wildlife habitat through thinning, road improvement, riparian enhancement, management of invasive species, and fuels treatment-community fire protection.  

Photo shows member of the PFC at the project site.

 

In Fiscal Year 2016, the Payette National Forest entered into a four-year agreement with the Idaho Conservation Corps (ICC) crew to utilize the Resource Assistant Program with this organization.  Over this timeframe of the agreement the partner contributions will be $352,381 and allowing 38 youth to gain valuable experience in the natural resource field.   The ICC crew helped in several ways within the WLSH CFLRP boundary by completing fuels treatment monitoring plots and pre-commercial thinning and layout within the WLSH-CFLR area.  The ICC crew produced a high quality product that will benefit the Payette National Forest greatly in the future.

Photo shows members of the public on tour at a project work site.