Published April 18, 2024

Yesterday, City of Ashland Oregon, U.S. Forest Service- Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, Lomakatsi, and The Nature Conservancy in Oregon hosted leadership from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Region—covering Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands—Ecological Services Program on a tour of the The Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project.

Partners shared about how this national model for collaborative forest restoration has completed 13,500 acres of ecological thinning and prescribed fire since 2010 to enhance wildlife habitat and reduce the risk of severe wildfire to the ecosystem, homes, and the City of Ashland’s drinking water supply. We discussed how treatments also help to protect habitat for Northern Spotted Owl and other important wildlife species through ecological forestry practices including prescribed understory burning. Partners shared about how the AFR model has expanded across the Rogue Basin through complementary initiatives including Rogue Forest Partners.

In the afternoon, the group met up with 15 members of the Lomakatsi inter-tribal and Latino/a ecosystem workforce, who were implementing ecological fuels reduction on private lands within the AFR footprint. This work was made possible through a recent funding award to Lomakatsi through the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, with an investment of $1 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Crew members shared about their experiences contributing to AFR over the years, and for inter-tribal crew members, opportunities opened up through Lomakatsi’s Tribal Ecological Forestry Training Program.

We’re grateful for our partnership with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, spanning over 25 years, and for all our amazing local partners working for more resilient forests and communities.
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