Forest Service Partners with Oregon Department of Forestry on Forest Restoration Project

Release Date: Jun 6, 2018  

Contact(s): Virginia Gibbons (541) 618-2113 vgibbons@fs.fed.us, Melissa Cano (541) 613-6313


Forest Service Partners with Oregon Department of Forestry on Forest Restoration Project

 

Prospect OR—The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) will soon be assisting the Forest Service to increase the pace, scale and quality of forest restoration projects. Utilizing the Good Neighbor Authority, the first project slated to occur on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest (RRSNF) will be implemented on the High Cascades Ranger District.

“I am happy to utilize this relatively new tool in order to increase our capacity to achieve forest restoration on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, and to be working with a valuable partner to do it,” said Forest Supervisor Merv George.

The project location, located northwest of Prospect, OR, will accomplishment restoration thinning on 3,000+ acres to benefit wildlife and increase ecosystem health. More specifically, thinning or slashing will occur in previously harvested areas to move the ecosystem towards a more historic condition that existed prior to the exclusion of naturally occurring wildfire.  ODF crews, as well as contracted crews, will complete the required thinning and fuels rearrangement.  Phase I of the project will be completed by December 2018 and Phase 2 will be completed by July 2019.

“ODF is excited for the opportunity that GNA has provided us to be able to assist our federal partners. In addition, it benefits our local, seasonal firefighters by providing them with continuous work after the summer months – a time when they would typically be searching for other means of employment,” said ODF District Forester Dave Larson.

The objective of the thinning project is to 1) preserve legacy forest structure (large trees) while moving the ecosystem toward more historic conditions that existed prior to fire exclusion over the past 100 years. 2) Through prescribed burning-accomplished through the Master Cooperative Wildland Fire Management Agreement-to enhance the abundance and diversity of vegetation which in turn, enhances wildlife. 3) To reduce plant competition that enables remaining trees to develop mature characteristics and structure. 4) To reduce fuel loading in order to minimize the risk of high severity fires.

The Forestry Title of the 2014 Farm Bill and the Appropriations Act enhanced opportunities to work across private and public land boundaries to gain efficiencies and advance partnerships that restore and manage natural landscapes, advance jobs and improved public values associated with the National Forest System lands.

The Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) is a distinct authorization provided by Congress which allows the Forest Service to enter into agreements with a State agency for specific activities. A Master Agreement pursuant to the GNA was signed in March 2016 by Jim Pena, the Regional Forester of the Pacific Northwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service, Doug Decker, the Oregon State Forester of the Department of Forestry and Curtis Melcher, the Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. A Good Neighbor Supplemental Project agreement for this particular project was signed in May 2018.

Through the GNA, states gain greater ability to advance collaborative work on federal public lands, and the Forest Service gains opportunities to benefit from enhanced partnership and capacity.  This allows greater flexibility to develop and share skills between agencies and be more seamless in how we serve people and the land, implement policies, engage local governments, non-governmental skills and partners, and manage resource on public lands.

The Pacific Northwest Region consists of 16 National Forests, 59 District Offices, a National Scenic Area, and a National Grassland comprising 24.7 million acres in Oregon and Washington and employing approximately 3,550 people. To learn more about the USDA Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/r6

 

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/rogue-siskiyou/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD582763