The Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project (UWPP) is a collaborative forest restoration project using a condition based approach to forest management. The Forest Service anticipates a NEPA Decision in Sumer of 2022, and the potential project includes restoration methods ranging from aquatic restoration to forest thinning and prescribed fire.

The UWPP Monitoring Team members ventured into the field this week for a kick-off meeting and tour. The goal of the tour was to initiate the NCWFHC Collaborative Monitoring Team, spend time in the project area, and practice gathering baseline (pre-treatment) data in areas that are likely to be implemented in the first year following a NEPA Decision.

Nearly 20 participants attended the tour representing a range of interests including Lake Wenatchee Fire Adapted Communities, Lake Wenatchee Fire and Rescue, WA DNR, Cascadia CD, Conservation NW, WDFW, USFS and community volunteers. The group stopped at sites to discuss the northern spotted owl habitat, riparian reserves, fish passage barriers, fuel breaks, and several other topics which are highlighted as opportunities for third party monitoring in the UWPP Collaborative Monitoring Strategy. Reviewed DNR’s Forest Health Treatment Tracker data protocol and practiced using their field survey application at several sites within the project area.

The group walked roads scheduled for decommission post-treatment according to the UWPP Travel Analysis Plan. They also looked at several fish passage barriers and discussed ideas on funding removal/replacement through partnerships with tribes and salmon recovery organizations. There were productive discussions on how the work of the Collaborative Monitoring Team can be value added to the existing monitoring work of the USFS, and generate additional data/observations which will be helpful to USFS Staff.

The UWPP Monitoring Team learned a lot and will use their notes to help draft the annual workplan which will then be reviewed with the USFS and discussed at the annual USFS/Collaborative Annual Meeting. This will act as an annual opportunity to align priorities, identify opportunities for the CMT to add capacity for the forest, plan for out years, and review the CMT’s work from the prior year.

Learn more about the Upper Wenatchee Pilot Project.