Based on this story in the Oregonian, this effort seems to be a success, with no litigation. I wonder what lessons could be learned from this? What went right?
In 2009, Congress authorized the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Fund, providing $40 million annually through 2019 to restore national forests.
Forest Service officials on the Deschutes National Forest at first identified 150,000 acres in need of restoration and secured $1 million a year for the next 10 years for the work.
Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project Diverse forest interests come together with the help of the US Forest Service to make the Deschutes National Forest more resistant to fire, insects and disease.
Last summer, the restoration area expanded to about 257,000 acres.
The Forest Service is focusing on eight zones within the project. This month, they moved forward on the West Bend Vegetation project — 26,000 acres where mowing, thinning and prescribed burning are expected to open up the forest.
“A whole lot of people here have a whole lot of interest in that landscape,” said Kevin Larkin, the Bend/Fort Rock district ranger for the Deschutes National Forest. “It’s used all year round by a large group of recreationalists.”
“There is a high level of agreement and shared vision on Ponderosa forests,” said Phil Chang, staff coordinator for the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council.
The council includes elected officials from three counties — Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson — and eight central Oregon cities.
The 10-year project also seeks to restore watersheds within the forest to improve fish habitat, including the re-introduction of steelhead salmon into the Deschutes basin. Roads will be decommissioned, soils improved, trails rebuilt and the planting of native plants.
Because the long-term work will have such a direct effect on users of the forest, the overall project has taken input from environmental groups, the timber community, recreationalists and business interests.
“We’ve brought them all together and they’ve come to an agreement for the most part on all aspects of the project,’’ Larkin said. “What should have been a very contentious project is going forward without litigation and broad-scale support from all these disparate groups.”
Here’s a site with the documentation. The objections can be found here . (Note to folks developing project websites.. please link directly to objections rather than have people need to go search through various years to find them.)
Clearly not everyone agreed, but no one litigated. Anyone know more about this story?