Last year, we had 300,000 acres on fire on and near the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. We welcomed 15,000 firefighters from all over the country, and actually from New Zealand and Australia as well, to come here, to help keep you safe. I spent over 200 million dollars last year, making sure that we got these fires out. In the past 2 years on the Rogue River -Siskiyou National Forest, 500,000 acres have burned.
So, what’s changed? Has it always been this way?
Merv George, forest supervisor for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, joined Chris Chambers, city forestland manager, author of the Ashland Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Jackson County Integrated Fire Plan, and creator of Ashland, Ore’s FireWise Communities and Fire Adapted Communities programs, to present a 20-minute talk at TEDxAshland in May. A video of their presentation was posted to YouTube last month.
The city and federal officials teamed up to explain why wildland fires have become landscape-scale challenge in many U.S> communities, and how the City of Ashland and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest are answering that challenge by collaborating with each other and their entire community on creative solutions that have been demonstrated to reduce risk and save homes (and possibly lives), right in their own backyard.
You can view the complete presentation on YouTube, or watch it below.
PORTLAND, Ore. (July 20, 2019) —The Environmental Protection
Agency recognized the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest regional
fisheries biologist and regional Aquatic
and Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Plan program lead for
their contributions as part of a multi-agency federal team that established a
now four-year-old partnership to encourage and fund watershed improvement
James Capurso, Pacific Northwest regional fisheries biologist for the USDA Forest Service, and Christine Hirsch, Pacific Northwest Aquatic and Riparian Effectiveness Monitoring Plan (AREMP) Program Lead, were among six federal employees honored at the 2018 EPA National Honors awards July 10 for Outstanding Leadership in Collaborative Problem Solving, in recognition of their contributions as the Forest Service representatives to the Drinking Water Providers Partnership, of which the EPA and Bureau of Land Management are also members.
“I think this is the
first time we’ve had a funding partnership which also includes state funding in
the mix. This particular partnership also includes non-profits that have been
instrumental in reaching out to the municipal water providers,” Hirsch said.
“Traditionally, the Forest Service hasn’t partnered very frequently with water
providers so this is bringing new partners into the fold to accomplish key
The Drinking Water Providers Partnership is a regional
interagency program that protects and restores drinking water quality and
native fish habitat within municipal watersheds, benefiting the towns depending
upon them for clean, pure water. A
component of the partnership pools agency financial resources to fund
restoration projects and outreach efforts within municipal watersheds.
Mike Brown and Scott Lightcap, from the Bureau of Land
Management, and Teresa Kubo and Michelle Tucker, from EPA Region 10, were also
recognized as members of the federal team.
The Partnership provides a mechanism for federal, state, local,
and several non-government partners to collaboratively evaluate projects and
distribute pooled funds towards projects benefiting municipal watersheds,
including those reducing erosion and
sedimentation, improving aquatic organism passage, increasing the complexity of
habitats in streams and floodplains, addressing contamination or other issues
related to legacy mining projects, performing vegetation management, and
conducting public outreach and education efforts.
Local partners create the projects and pool resources for action – but if they need additional resources to complete the work, they submit applications for regional funding.
“When we were establishing this partnership, we literally went
door to door visiting city and town water providers in the Cascade Mountains
and Coast Range,” Capurso said. “Everywhere we went, from the ‘one traffic
light towns to the larger cities, water providers were supportive, even
excited, about the partnership.”
During its first four years, the Drinking Water Providers
partnership has awarded more than $2.3 million in federal, state, and private
funding towards watershed restoration, protection and improvement projects in
Oregon and Washington.
straightforward; like everyone puts their money in, then we pick the projects
and write checks. But there are so many rules and limitations on what we use
the money for among the various agencies and partners… that’s where a lot of
the creative problem-solving comes in.
We rank the projects and determine whose funding can legally be used to
support it,” Hirsch said.
Projects on seven national forests, including the Willamette,
Umpqua, Wallowa-Whitman, Olympic, Okanogan-Wenatchee, Siuslaw, Gifford Pinchot,
and Umatilla National Forests, to protect or improve drinking water supplies in
more than a dozen communities (including Walla Walla, Cashmere, Leavenworth,
Port Townsend Wash. and Glide, Eugene, Langlois, Cave Junction, Myrtle Point,
Lincoln City, and Yachats, Ore.) received funds from partnership in 2019.
In addition to traditional projects, such as infrastructure
repair, vegetation planting, and returning large wood to restore water current
complexity to streams, some of the 2019 awards funded conservation education
The Umatilla National Forest and City of Walla Walla received
funds for a documentary film on the Mill Creek Municipal Watershed as a
drinking water source and how it serves as important wildlife habitat which
will be used for education and outreach in the surrounding community.
Cascadia Conservation District partnered with Okanogan-Wenatchee
National Forest on a project to education farmers, tree-fruit growers and
viticulturalists in the Wenatchee watershed about best practices for protecting
water quality and potentially achieving the Salmon-Safe certification for their
And the Olympic National Forest and City of Port Townsend will
use some of the funds awarded for protecting the Big and Little Quilcene Rivers
through improved sanitation facilities for managing human waste at recreation
areas, and signage and even field ranger outreach to inform the public about
proper human waste disposal and the dangers presented by fecal contamination of
the city’s drinking water supply.
Other funds are allocated for research towards future water
quality improvement and watershed protection opportunities.
The partnership awarded a 2019 grant to Trout Unlimited towards developing a GIS model that uses existing data to identify high-impact opportunities for beaver location on the Upper Columbia River. The McKenzie River Trust received funds to research into potential land protection opportunities to protect the drinking water source watershed for the City of Yachats.
Gallery: The Drinking Water Providers Partnership is a collaboration of the USDA Forest Service Region 6, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Washington Department of Health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management OR/WA Office, the Geos Institute, and WildEarth Guardians. The floodplain enhancement work on the lower South Fork of the McKenzie River, located on the Willamette National Forest in Oregon, pictured here, was funded in part through funds allocated by the partnership; approximately one third of the funds awarded were from non-Forest Service partners.
Source information: USDA Forest Service – Pacific Northwest Region (staff report)
REEDSPORT, Ore. (July 19, 2019)— The Fivemile-Bell Watershed Restoration project has been selected for the 2019 Western Division of the American Fisheries Society (WDAFS) Riparian Challenge Award in the USDA Forest Service category.
The project is located on the Siuslaw National Forest, approximately 10 miles south of Florence, Ore., on the Central Coast Ranger District.
WDAFS presents this award to managers and resource specialists to recognize their efforts in maintaining, restoring, and improving riparian and watershed ecosystems.
The Fivemile-Bell restoration project is a decade-long innovative project that covers about 5,000 acres of national forest land working to restore a critical floodplain to dramatically improve habitat for Oregon Coast Coho salmon, which is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act, and other aquatic and terrestrial animals.
The project, a joint effort by the Siuslaw National Forest and numerous partner organizations and agencies, uses new research to guide the re-establishment of historic stream and floodplain interactions, and restore a native riparian plant community on land formerly used for farming.
This cooperative effort is improving and creating habitat in one of the most productive stream systems in Oregon.
Additionally, the restoration accelerates the development of late-successional and old-growth characteristics in surrounding forest and uplands, benefiting a variety of species – such as the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelet, which are also federally listed under the ESA, creating a more sustainable and resilient landscape.
“This is a representation of all the hard work that has occurred over the last decade” Paul Burns, the Forest Service project lead, said. “We share this recognition with the many partners that have worked on this project.”
Additional partners on the project include Siuslaw Watershed Council, Siuslaw Institute, Elkton Community Education Center, Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians, Ecotrust, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Western Rivers Conservancy.
“The Fivemile Bell project showcases the incredible social and ecological outcomes that result when diverse project partners work together” Eli Tome, executive director of the Siuslaw Watershed Council, said. “Partners have invested over $1 million in this innovative restoration project over the past decade. Research indicates this investment has supported over 15 local jobs which is critical in our rural community. Restoring this area is supporting one of the strongest runs of threatened Coho salmon on the Oregon Coast. This project is an investment in our community, economy and environment today, and for future generations.”
The Siuslaw Watershed Council supports sound economic, social and environmental uses of natural and human resources in the Siuslaw River Basin. The Council encourages cooperation among public and private watershed entities to promote awareness and understanding of watershed functions by adopting and implementing a total watershed approach to natural resource management and production.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (May 16, 2019) – The newest member of the team that protects Washington’s waterways from invasive species has quite the ruff routine: Sniff, sit, play!
Starting this spring, Puddles, a 2-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix, will use her keen sense of smell to help detect quagga and zebra mussel larvae on boats traveling through mandatory watercraft-inspection stations run by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“Invasive mussels can impact our state’s water quality, power and irrigation systems, wildlife and recreation,” Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council, said. “We all need to work together to prevent invasive mussels from changing our way of life and harming resources we value. In many ways, invasive mussels would change what it means to be a Washingtonian.”
Quagga and zebra mussels can clog piping and mechanical systems of industrial plants, utilities, locks and dams. Researchers estimate that invasive species cost industries, businesses and communities more than $5 billion nationwide over 6 years, and the power industry more than $3 billion.
“We believe Puddles will be a great addition to the Washington invasive species program,” Heidi McMaster, regional invasive species coordinator for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said. The bureau paid for Puddles’ training as part of the Bureau’s fight to keep the Columbia River basin and Washington State free of invasive mussels. “Reclamation is proud to be part of this effort to prevent the introduction of quagga mussels to the Columbia River basin.”
Puddles was initially surrendered to a shelter in Fresno, California where she caught the attention of the Green Dog Project’s “Rescued for a Reason” program. Staff at the Green Dog Project contacted Mussel Dogs, a training program for dogs, and Puddles was trained there.
WDFW Sergeant Pam Taylor spent 2 weeks in California and at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona and Utah training with Puddles for her new assignment.
Puddles is just one of the ways Washington State is working with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and other partners – including the USDA Forest Service – to control and stop the spread of invasive species.
National Forest lands in the Pacific Northwest protect a number of watersheds that provide clean water for drinking and irrigation, as well as hydroelectric power generation and wildlife habitat – all uses that are threatened by invasive species, including quagga and zebra mussels.
How you can help: Clean, Drain, Dry!
The Washington Invasive Species Council asks the public to Clean–Drain–Dry their boats, personal watercraft, and other gear each time they remove their craft or equipment from a body of water.
Some invesive species can hitch a ride on clothes, shoes and boots, boats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and even fishing poles, pails, and shovels!
Clean: When leaving the water, clean all equipment that touched the water by removing all visible plants, algae, animals and mud. This includes watercraft hulls, trailers, shoes, waders, life vests, engines and other gear.
Drain: Drain any accumulated water from watercraft or gear, including live and transom wells, before leaving the access point to the water. If transporting watercraft, clean and dry everything before transport.
Dry: Once home, let all gear fully dry before using your boat or watercraft it in a different water body. Just draining and letting your watercraft and gear dry may not sufficiently remove some invasive species.
Transporting boats across state lines: Clean, Drain, Dry may not protect local waterways against all potential invasives. If you are bringing a watercraft into Washington for the first time, contact the Washington State aquatic invasive species hotline (1-888-WDFW-AIS) before placing it in the water. Be prepared to provide the state and water body where your watercraft was used, and whether you decontaminated your watercraft before you left that state. In some cases, WDFW will require an intensive decontamination upon entry into Washington, provided at no cost to the owner. Remember that it’s illegal to transport or spread aquatic invasive species and violators can face heavy fines, and even jail time!
Source information: The Washington Invasives Species Council and Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (joint press release).
SANDY, Ore. (May 7, 2019)– The Mt. Hood National Forest will host its annual Youth Fishing clinics May 18, 2019 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Hood River Ranger District and June 1, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Clackamas River Ranger District.
The May 18 clinic will be offered at the Middle Fork Irrigation Pond on Laurance Lake Rd., in Parkdale, Ore. This clinic designed for children 11 and under, although older teens, young adults, and parents are also invited to participate.
The June 1 clinic will be offered at the Small Fry Pond at North Fork Reservoir, located 7 miles south of Estacada, Ore. on Oregon Route 224. This clinic is intended for children 17 and under. Young adults and parents are also welcome.
Children attending the clinics will have the opportunity to fish with an expert angler and learn how to cast. Both clinics will include a wide array of activities, such as fish-related arts and crafts, fly-tying, a fishing derby, and other games with prizes donated by local businesses.
Educational displays will teach youth about the salmon life cycle and anatomy, aquatic insects, watersheds and aquatic ecosystems.
Refreshments will also be available at both events, courtesy of local businesses and partners!
“While this fun family event is an opportunity for kids to try their hand at fishing it also gets them outdoors where they can learn firsthand about fish and the importance of taking care of water resources,” Jane Dalgliesh, Fish Biologist for the Mt. Hood National Forest, said.
Children should bring lunch, warm clothing, a rod and reel if possible, and a cooler to bring home their catch of the day.
Limited quantities of rods and reels will be available for participants to use. Bait will be provided.
Please note: Children ages 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Also, an Oregon State fishing license is required for partipants ages 12 years and older in order to fish, and must be purchased from the state or an authorized vendor prior to the event; fishing licenses will not be available for purchase at the clinic.
These clinics are being conducted by the Mt. Hood National Forest, in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Trout Unlimited, USFWS, and the Middle Fork Irrigation District.
For more information, interested participants may contact:
Jane Dalgliesh (June 1 event); at (503) 630-8801
Caitlin Scott (May 1 event); at (541) 352-1221
For even more national forest and forestry-related activities and events, check out our Your Northwest Forestscalendar!
How does a girl from Bogota, Columbia, who grew up in a city set high in the Andes, fall in love with the ocean and end up working for the Forest Service in Hebo, Ore.?
The Skanner News recently profiled Adriana Morales, a district fisheries biologist for the Siuslaw National Forest, as part of a running series highlighting diversity in the Forest Service, and opportunities in the natural resources career fields.
Morales is passionate about working with partners to restore the Pacific Northwest’s salmon and steelhead habitat, which relies on the clean, cold streams supplied by forest shade and melting mountain snow.
She’s also dedicated to sharing her love of the natural world with others; she frequently conducts bilingual outreach events and opportunities that open outdoor experiences to youth from under-served communities.
From the story:
“We are sharing this planet … and we need to recognize and ensure that conservation, preservation and rational use of natural resources needs have a balance with the interest of the society, and with other animal and plant species, because this is our legacy for future generations,” Morales said.
SEDRO WOOLEY, Wash. – September 19, 2018 – The USDA Forest Service, Mount Baker Ranger District is initiating public scoping on the Baker Lake “Road to Trail” project, a proposed project within the Upper Baker Lake Watershed.
The agency is evaluating alternative trail locations to maintain access to the Baker River trail and Baker Lake trail along the Baker River while ensuring natural river and floodplain processes are protected and that future trail infrastructure investments are less likely to be lost or damaged due to periodic flooding.
The river has damaged the Baker Lake Road a number of times in the past; currently there is a damaged section of road prior to the trailhead’s parking area. This effort will determine which trail relocation alternative provides the greatest certainty for long term recreation access, which also maintains or restores river and floodplain processes in addition to being economically feasible now and into the future.
In an effort to reduce paper use, the Forest will emphasize electronic correspondence throughout this project. Please include with your comment: 1) a valid e-mail or mailing address, and 2) your document format preference. The project website will be the primary avenue through which the Forest Service provides information about the project. That website is: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbs/projects, under the heading “Baker Lake Road to Trail Project.”
Electronic comments are preferred. Email comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, “Baker Lake Road to Trail Project.” Include your comment in the text of the actual e-mail message, or attach a plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), PDF (.pdf), or Word (.doc or .docx) file containing your comment to the email.
Written comments can be mailed or delivered in person to the Mt. Baker District Ranger office:
Mt. Baker District Ranger Office (attn: Erin Uloth, District Ranger)
810 State Route 20
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284-1263
If you prefer paper copies of project documents, or for more information regarding the project, please contact Jeremy Gilman, Project Team Leader, at (360) 854-2633 or email@example.com.