Fivemile-Bell Landscape Management Project

pastoral setting with clearing surrounded by upload area with evergreens and fence in foregroundThis watershed restoration project, located about 10 miles south of Florence, OR near the Oregon Coast, covers about 5,000 acres of national forest land. It includes upland, stream, and valley bottom habitats.

Fittingly, the whole journey began with a partnership.

In 2003, the Siuslaw National Forest worked with Western Rivers Conservancy to get Land and Water Conservation funds to purchase 640 acres of amazing bottomland near the Oregon Coast. We purchased the land to conserve Coho salmon habitat in one of the most productive stream systems in the Oregon Coast Range—Fivemile Creek and Bell Creek, tributaries to Tahkenitch Lake. The land was formerly used for cattle grazing, farming, and timber harvesting.

Two overarching goals guide the project: Enhance the health of streams and associated aquatic ecosystems, focusing on threatened Coho salmon habitat and to speed the development of late-successional and old-growth forest habitats to benefit a variety of species, such as the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet.

A group of people walking along a log and through a flooded area in the Five-Mile Bell floodplain
A 2016 field trip shows the restored flood plain.


2012: Two Decision Notices signed July, 2012. Follow the NEPA process for this project. 

2011: In March 2011 the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) selected Fivemile-Bell as one of two national pilot projects with a goal to increase the quality and efficiency of Federal environmental reviews and reduce costs. Partners will conduct scoping and gather field information, then present this to the Forest Service for NEPA analysis and documentation.

2007: An Ecostrust proposal was selected that facilitated the joint development of a restoration strategy for the project area. That proposal led to shared responsibilities for the NEPA analysis and restoration work and to the nomination of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) pilot.

2004: A gathering of sixty people from various federal, state and local agencies, universities, conservation groups and private individuals met on site to brainstorm ideas, attend field reviews and conclude with development of various restoration strategies

2003: Siuslaw National Forest works in partnership to purchase 640 acres in the Fivemile-Bell project area.

Actions to achieve the goals stated above

  • recapture natural stream meander
  • increase aquatic habitat diversity
  • remove barriers to aquatic species
  • reduce impacts from invasive plants
  • reestablish native plant species
  • speed the development of conifers and hardwoods in riparian areas
  • reduce impacts of the valley bottom road on fish habitat
  • improve habitat diversity in young stands
  • improve nesting or resting habitat in mature forest
  • maintain existing meadows
  • reduce the impacts from invasive plants
  • modify the transportation system (e.g., repairing, decommissioning, or closing roads)


Watershed restoration on the Siuslaw National Forest is characterized by a comfortable, collegial collaboration among a wide range of partners on a watershed scale. Fivemile-Bell takes this to a new level by sharing the environmental analysis workload. 

These partners share strong and broad connections with the local community and interest groups.  Sharing the workload in this way builds ownership in the project among those interested and builds capacity in the community and among non-governmental organizations to complete environmental analysis and address environmental impacts.


Siuslaw Soil and Water Conservation District

Siuslaw Institute

Siuslaw Watershed Council

Western Rivers Conservancy

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More Information

  • Ecosystem Restoration
    We're returning natural functions to altered landscapes, focusing on creating and maintaining healthy ecosystems: estuaries, old growth forests, meadows, coastal dunes.
  • NEPA Documentation
  • Restoration Projects
    Find out more about individual projects on our Restoration Projects page
Creek in opening with willows along the bank

Willows help stablilize stream bank