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Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest Gets $150K to Help Reduce Watershed Wildfire Risk

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The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has received $150,000 from the Oregon Department of Forestry for forest restoration work that will reduce catastrophic fire risk on 20,000 acres of the Big Butte Springs watershed, the year-round source of drinking water for Medford and surrounding communities.

The award is under the Planning Assistance and Categorical Exclusion (PACE) funds administered by ODF's Federal Forest Restoration (FFR) Program.

Kyle Sullivan-Astor, who leads ODF's FFR Program said PACE investments provide contracting opportunities that assist federal forest managers to expand and accelerate planning for restoring forests. He said the Snowy Butte Forest Restoration Project will reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the watershed supplying Medford and nearby communities with drinking water.

Sullivan-Astor said ODF invested about $2 million in 10 PACE projects this year to expedite planning efforts. The funds came from both federal and state monies -- $1.4 million Good Neighbor Authority federal funds and $600,000 from the state's General Fund.

The highest scored proposal was submitted by the High Cascades Ranger District located on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The project rated high due to a strong partnership with Medford Water. The awarded funds will be used to conduct additional heritage surveys to keep the project on the established timeline.

The goal of the project is reduce hazardous fuels on approximately 20,000 acres, which amounts to one-third of the watershed. The watershed is identified as a priority area in the Rogue Basin Cohesive Forest Restoration Strategy, published by the Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative in 2017.
Posted on 6/7/24 5:55AM by Sam Marsh