A story map is now available for the Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF)! The OWNF has been working with the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative partners and interested citizens since 2017 to develop the Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project, a landscape scale aquatic and terrestrial restoration project which includes hazardous fuels, road management, vegetation management and aquatic and terrestrial habitat improvement treatments. A draft environmental assessment is now available for public review and comment here.
Be sure to check it out and learn more about the project here: https://www.ncwfhc.org/upper-wenatchee-pilot-project/
Learn more about other projects happening on the OWNF here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/projects/okawen/landmanagement/projects
The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative (the Collaborative) brings together stakeholders in the Upper Columbia region ranging from government agencies to local tribes, non-profit conservation groups and timber industry all with the purpose of collaborating to improve forest resiliency. The Collaborative operates on consensus, and while the process can be slow, when agreement is achieved the results are tremendous.
A great example of this success is the Mt. Hull project that is located near Oroville, WA, and a priority project for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF). The project aims to improve riparian habitat, maintain and restore vegetation patterns, reduce wildfire hazard and modify the transportation network. The Collaborative began engagement on the Mt. Hull Restoration Project in 2016 through investment in the landscape analysis and field reconnaissance. In 2019, the Collaborative successfully reached consensus and submitted a letter of support to the OWNF for the Draft Environmental Analysis which advised to treat Mt. Hull with commercial/non-commercial thinning, prescribed fire and restore riparian habitat in Hayley Canyon.
The exceptional cooperative effort to support the restoration work in this project is made possible by the funding provided by the National Forest Foundation. This funding supports the many conversations and meetings necessary to reach consensus and contributes greatly to the overall success of the restoration work planned.
To learn more about the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative: https://www.ncwfhc.org/
To learn more about the Mt. Hull restoration work being done by Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest, check out this story map.
*Originally published by National Forest Foundation and Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board
The American Forest Resource Council and the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative tour the Upper Wenatchee Project
The American Forest Resource Council (ARFC) and other members of the North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative (NCWFHC) recently toured the Upper Wenatchee Project (UWP) on July 23rd to review landscapes, root disease impacts, chipping objectives, commercial thinning samples, protection fire lines and other important items near the Wolverine community protection fire line and the Ponderosa Pine Plantation, as well as the Lower Chiwawa River area.
Through partnership with the NCWFHC, in 2017, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF) received approximately $1.6 million dollars to pilot collaborative restoration and hazardous fuels reduction work. The UWP is a direct response to the call for greater investments in high wildfire risk communities from more than 400 community members who participated in the Wildfire and Us Summit following the 2015 wildfire season.
The UWP, covering nearly 75,000 acres near Lake Wenatchee, WA. The primary focus of the UWP is to restore forest health and resiliency by reestablishing forest structure, returning fire to the landscape, improving wildlife habitat, and improving watershed function.
During the field trip, participants learned from Bill Burgess about challenges with reliable materials flow due to the shift from larger-to smaller-diameter trees, and how chipping can help achieve a blend of economic and restoration objectives through use of smaller-diameter materials.
OWNF staff, OWNF staff, AFRC and NCWFHC members also reviewed the importance of blending forest health restoration treatments with species selection, wildlife habitat needs and in-stand resilience traits such as disease and fire resilience on their tour.
Please take the time to explore our Ridgetop to River Story Map on Forest Health from State of the Salmon in Watersheds 2018. The Story map can be found below:
WINTHROP –The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative (NCWFHC) and its partners celebrated six years of work to accelerate terrestrial and aquatic restoration on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The NCWFHC held a full day meeting on May 1, 2019 at Sun Mountain Lodge in Winthrop, WA, an evening celebration, and then toured nearby forest health and salmon recovery projects on May 2nd.
George Geissler, State Forester & Deputy Supervisor for Wildfire & Forest Health, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), provided a keynote address focused on the DNR Wildfire Plan and 20-year Forest Health Plan, and alignment with the NCWFHC’s efforts. He also discussed prescribed fire and smoke management priorities, shared stewardship with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Forest Service, and legislative priorities related to forest health and wildfire budgets. The State Forester also reviewed other priorities for 2019 including increasing capacity for forest health treatments and wildland fire suppression at DNR with a new forest health division. State Forester Geissler said, “We have a large focus on forest health and we see collaboratives as extremely relevant in the forest health process.” He added, “I believe in allowing people to do what they do best and providing support for our employees and partners is a high priority. I am invested in forest health and my career is truly a career of passion.”
In order to meet the challenge of increasing the pace and scale of restoration, the NCWFHC was formed in 2013, and is facilitated by the Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board (UCSRB). NCWFHC is a diverse group of organizations including timber industry, conservation groups, and local, state, federal and tribal governments. For the past six years, the NCWFHC has leveraged resources and built consensus for landscape-scale forest restoration projects on the OWNF lands. The NCWFHC and the OWNF are partnering to double the footprint of restoration by building early consensus on potential projects, increasing Forest Service capacity for environmental analyses, and spreading the word about the importance of having more resilient forests and watersheds.
Treatments such as non-commercial thinning, road maintenance or decommissioning, brush removal, prescribed burning, removal of fish passage barriers, and commercial harvest are the most widely used active restoration treatments, while strategic management of natural disturbances can complement these activities. The OWNF encompasses more than 4 million acres in Washington State and stretches for a distance of about 180 miles from the Canadian border to the Goat Rocks Wilderness.
Department of Natural Resources: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/
North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative: https://www.ncwfhc.org
Upper Columbia Salmon Recovery Board: http://www.ucsrb.org
Vicki Christiansen is set to become the permanent chief of the U.S. Forest Service, after seven months as the interim head.
Christiansen is a former wildland firefighter and fire manager who has worked in wildland firefighting and forestry for 36 years and joined the Forest Service in 2010.
The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative recently participated in an interview for the Five-year anniversary of the Collaborative with Michael Knight of KPQ to share about their work. read more…
The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative (NCWFHC.org) and its partners are celebrating five years of collaborative work on national forest lands in Okanogan and Chelan Counties. The NCWFHC works to advance the aquatic and terrestrial restoration on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. read more…