Forest Service Sets Western Klamath Restoration Partnership Project for Implementation
This is a press release from the U.S. Forest Service:
ORLEANS, Calif. – On Friday July 27, surrounded by members of the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership (WKRP), acting Six Rivers National Forest (SRNF) Supervisor Elizabeth “Liz” Berger signed the Decision Notice implementing the Somes Bar Integrated Fire Management Project (Somes Bar Project).
The Somes Bar Project is recognized as the first project developed by the WKRP on the SRNF to address dense forest stand conditions focused around the communities of Orleans, Somes Bar and Ti Bar. The project will demonstrate how prescribed fire restores and maintains resilient ecosystems, communities and economies, and provide for safe and effective management of both planned and unplanned fires.
The decision specifically authorizes the creation of shaded fuelbreaks along roads, 250,822 linear feet—more than 47 miles—of shaded fuelbreaks on mountain ridges, and 5,570 acres of landscape-scale integrated vegetation treatments, fuels reduction and restorative prescribed burning.
A highlight of the project will be the use of traditional ecological knowledge (or TEK) fire integrated with emergent restorative fire practices at the landscape scale to ensure resiliency of culturally important Karuk focal species and traditions.
In addition to the SRNF, other members of the WKRP collaborative include the Karuk Tribe, Mid Klamath Watershed Council (MKWC), Klamath National Forest, area fire safe councils, and non-governmental organizations and other community-based stakeholders. The WKRP organized in 2013 to look at ways to restore resiliency to the forests of the Western Klamath Mountains.
“The signing of this decision notice is the culmination of all the planning, discussions, field trips and environmental documentation to get the project to this point,” said Nolan Colegrove, district ranger for the Lower Trinity, Orleans and Ukonom ranger districts. “It took all of the WKRP partners to make this project a reality.”
Leaf Hillman, director for the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources added, “This is a watershed moment for us that signals a new era of collaboration. We’re excited about it!”
In addition to funding already secured for the project, the MKWC applied for and was recently awarded $5 million in grant funding from CAL FIRE’s California Climate Investments (CCI) Forest Health Grant Program to implement fuels reduction and forest health activities across public and private lands in the Klamath Mountains, including within the Somes Bar Project area.
The Somes Bar Project decision notice, finding of no significant impact (FONSI), and environmental assessment (EA) are available online at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=51276.
For further information, please contact Nolan Colegrove at (530) 627-3291.