Deschutes National Forest
Projects that are completed, inactive, cancelled, or were changed or stopped through our involvement, may be found in the Library section on the Deschutes NF Archive page.
Deschutes Collaborative Landscape Forest Restoration Project
The Collaborative Land and Forest Restoration Project (CLFRP) is a congressionally funded project that awards $1 million dollars per year for 10 years to the Deschutes National Forest to implement forest restoration on a 140,000 acre project areas that runs from Bend to Sisters and West to the Cascade crest. The money was awarded after competing proposals were evaluated from all of the national forests across the country, and the Deschutes was one of 10 forests to win a grant. One of the key goals of the collaborative is to find consensus between diverse stakeholders to implement treatments, and have projects move forward without being litigated in court.
The Sierra Club has been a key litigant on commercial logging projects in the past, and is therefore a key stakeholder in the process. The Forest Supervisor is heavily invested in the project, and has committed staff from the ranger districts involved to actively participate in the collaborative. The recommendations developed in the collaborative are expected to be implemented across the forest. In the last two years the CLFRP tackled many difficult issues, most of which involve old growth and large trees in areas slated for commercial logging, and has had great success in finding consensus on treatment recommendations for two of the project’s eight units. The Forest Service has been delaying new projects until the collaborative provides recommendations they can use. There are nine years of funding left for the CLFRP, and the recommendations made by the collaborative are expected be a significant factor in how the federal forests are managed.
The Sierra Club Eastside Forest Committee is participating in this collaborative because we recognize the long value and impact of being engaged in these negotiations. The key remaining issues facing CLFRP are how to manage old growth and large trees, how to manage mixed conifer, how to balance wildlife issues, what role commercial logging plays in the forest, how to treat mistletoe infestations, how to balance recreational interests, what role will fire play and how to get it back on the landscape, and how to create wildland/urban boundaries that reduce the risk of wildfire for human development. A key area is the Bend Watershed that contains a significant roadless old growth area. How this area is managed will likely be very contentious, and the outcome will be extremely important for how the forests in general are managed in the future. Salvage logging in the area of the Pole Creek fire that burned this summer and fall will also be a topic of intense discussion.
The key goals for the Sierra Club in the CLFRP will be to insure that sound conservation policy consistent with the club’s policies are in the recommendations put forth by the collaborative. The CLFRP looks at the forest on three levels: landscape, project, and stand. Each type of forest ecology is considered (dry pine, dry mixed conifer, wet mixed conifer, etc.), and an attempt is made to recreate the historical range of variability (HRV) for each project and stand so that the treatments prescribed will put the entire forest on a trajectory to create an HRV across the landscape. A hundred years of commercial logging and fire suppression have left a forest that is very out of balance with its’ pre-settlement condition. In the same 100 years, human populations and development have exploded in central Oregon, leaving a patchwork of private inholdings, national forest and BLM lands, and developed towns and subdivisions. While the former landscape cannot be recreated, a lot can be done to bring the forest back to its’ former state of balance and diversity where fire played a key role in maintaining the ecology.
The Sierra Club representative to the CLFRP is David Stowe. If you
would like more information on the
Deschutes CLFRP and the Sierra Club participation, contact David using his listings on our Contact Us page. Additional information on the nationwide CLFRP process can be found on the Forest Service Collaborative Landscape Forest Restoration Project web site.
There are no Forest Plans in review at this time.
Sisters Ranger District
Popper Fuels Reduction
Update December 2012: About half of the project area was impacted by the recent Pole Creek fire. The Forest Service is currently evaluating the impact of the fire on this project. For a current status, visit the Forest Service Popper Vegetation Management Project web page.
The Popper Project is a proposed fuels reduction project, located adjacent to the Sisters SAFR project (see the Deschutes NF Archive page), in forests near the Three Creeks Lake recreation area. The project area contains about 17,192 acres of National Forest System lands, including about 6,544 acres of Inventoried Roadless Area (IRA). It is located about 10 air miles southwest of Sisters, Oregon in Townships T16S, R09E and T17S, R09E, and is adjacent to the western boundary of the 33,000 acre Cascade Timberlands property which is being considered as a future Community Forest.
The Sisters Ranger District proposes to treat about 12,563 acres, including about 4,277 acres in a designated wildland-urban interface. This treatment will include "plantation" area thinning, Lodgepole firewood cutting, Ponderosa Pine commercial thinning, and extensive treatment for Dwarf Mistletoe infection. The Forest Service has sponsored multiple field trips to the project area for public input, which the Sierra Club has participated in.
The Sierra Club submitted comments on this project jointly with Oregon Wild on January 28, 2011. In general, we support this project. However, we think the treatment area is larger than necessary to achieve the project objectives. In particular, a reduction in the Wildland Urban Interface treatments, firewood cutting, mistletoe treatment, and incursions into the inventoried roadless areas are needed. Riparian areas should be avoided unless there is a really strong justification for entering.
Bend / Fort Rock Ranger District
West Bend Vegetation Management Project
The Forest Service has proposed a vegetation management project for the area immediately west of Bend, including some of the popular mountain biking and winter recreation areas. The stated purpose of the project is "to move toward a more resilient landscape and provide a diversity of habitats closer to what historically occurred". The West Bend project area totals approximately 25,700 acres and is bounded on the east by the urban interface of Bend and on the west by the Bend Watershed Roadless Area. The vegetation ranges from lower elevation second-growth ponderosa pine in the east to higher elevation lodgepole and mixed conifer in the west. Highways 41 and 46 bound the south side. The area is close to Bend, the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway, and the Deschutes River corridor and as a result receives high recreation use by the public. Firewood gathering also occurs throughout the project area. Forest Service documents and maps related to this project can be found at West Bend Vegetation Management Project.
The Juniper Group Sierra Club has reviewed the Scoping Letter for this project and submitted comments to the Forest Service. This project is part of the broader Deschutes Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project. The Eastside Forest Committee is represented in the collaborative, and will determine it's support of the project based on the recommendations to the Forest Service made by the collaborative and the degree of adoption by the Forest Service. The text of our concerns with the project as proposed and the considerations we desire to be addressed in the environmental assessment can be read at West Bend Scoping Comments. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement was issued in April 2013 and was not commented on by the Sierra Club. (06-08-13)
Crescent Ranger District
There are no projects under review at this time.