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Eastern Oregon Communities and Wildlife Revitalized by Collaborative Forest Restoration

Restoration projects in the Southern Blues Restoration Coalition Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project reduce forest density, create a mosaic of wildlife habitats, allow large trees to continue growing, foster a more fire-resistant mix of trees, and improve water and wildlife habitat by restoring forest areas. By the end of this Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) project, the lands and waters will provide improved natural functions for fish and wildlife. The project will also create a predictable flow of work and wood supply for manufacturing, new market opportunities, and local jobs.

Workflow Guide: 
Step 1: Risk Assessment and Areas in Need
Step 2: Set Priorities and Select Key Project
Step 3: Environmental Compliance Process
Step 4: Take Action
Step 5: Monitoring and Adaptive Management

Summary of Action and Outcome

Restoration improved natural resource industries. Fire resilience was brought to the forest through burning and mechanical treatment, such as stand thinning.


Grant County and Harney County, eastern Oregon: Malheur National Forest (543,963 acres), other federal land (17,694 acres), private (126,453 acres), tribal government (1,800 acres), state government (400 acres)


Job creation from the project was an important element, as was the expected improvement of local mill and biomass industries. The project was started partially because of the extent to which the community was suffering from the degradation in the forest. Watershed and wildlife habitat restoration was also necessary, especially due to the importance of the region to the white-headed woodpecker.


Wildfire is an ongoing threat to the forests.


Commercial harvest, biomass removal, landscape underburning, and thinning and piling were all approaches taken.

Funding Process

Congress authorized appropriation of up to $40M annually for Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) project implementation and monitoring to cover up to 50 percent of these costs, with no more than $4M going to any one project. The Forest Service funding shown here is the lifelong request for CFLRP funding. Forest Service and partner match funds, as well as goods for services through stewardship contracts, are leveraged to cover the remaining costs of the projects. Total annual expenditures are given in project annual reports.

All CFLRP projects were selected by a Federal Advisory Committee. Details on project proposals can be found here.

For up-to-date project information, see the annual reports on the “Results” page of the USFS CFLRP website.

Monitoring Protocols

Multi-party monitoring of the ecological, economic, and social impacts of CFLRP implementation is being undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team that includes agencies, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations.

The following team members are currently undertaking monitoring work as part of the Southern Blues CFLRP Multi-Party Monitoring Program: Oregon State University College of Forestry (OSU), University of Oregon Ecosystem Workforce Program (EWP), Malheur National Forest (MNF), U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS), U.S. Forest Service Area Ecology Program (Ecology), U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region Headquarters, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS), North Fork John Day Watershed Council (NFJDWC), Grant Soil And Water Conservation District (GSWCD), Blue Mountain Forest Partners (BMFP), and Harney County Restoration Collaborative (HCRC).

The Southern Blues CFLRP Multi-Party Monitoring Program currently consists of the following monitoring sub-programs (principal investigators in parentheses): Forest vegetation and fuels (OSU), white-headed woodpecker (RMRS), aspen (MNF), watershed restoration—riparian areas (Ecology), watershed restoration—fish passage (MNF/PNWRS), invasive species (NFJDWC/GSWCD/MNF), socioeconomic monitoring (EWP/BMFP), multi-party field visits and collaborative effectiveness (BMFP/HCRC).

Successful Collaboration

In 2015, Blue Mountain Forest Partners (BMFP) led 12 different field trips involving 212 participants, and completed a report summarizing stakeholder conclusions about post-treatment CFLRP projects based on notes from 2014 field trips.

BMFP organized two science forums involving more than 100 scientists, managers, stakeholders, and members of the general public about (a) goshawk habitat management, and (b) post-fire management.

BMFP engaged a consultant to conduct structured interviews of BMFP and Forest Service personnel that describes recommendations to improve collaboration within an adaptive management framework.

Public, private, industrial, and environmental groups were all able to have effective input and benefit in the project's implementation.


In 2015, the Southern Blues Restoration Coalition Project did not meet the annual goals set for many of the performance measures. We continued to see improvements in invasive weed treatments and road-related maintenance activities.

Many of our activities were hampered by the Canyon Creek Complex fire, which became the focus for forest work for much of our field season, both for our fire crews as well as resource specialists assisting during the fire as Resource Advisors (READs) and after the fire with critical rehabilitation efforts.

Landscape scale burns took place only in the first quarter of 2015. While our spring burn window typically provides our main opportunities for underburning, conditions were already very dry during the spring and managers did not feel confident that ecological objectives would be met.

Treatments improving riparian habitat are still behind the estimates made in the proposal.

This was the first year of implementation on the Forest-Wide Aquatic Environmental Assessment (EA). This EA provides many new opportunities for aquatic restoration in the Southern Blues Restoration Coalition project area. Activities include fish passage restoration, large wood placement, livestock fencing, riparian vegetation treatments, and road and trail erosion control. We also expect to see increases in riparian treatments going forward as we get ahead on the higher-cost mechanical vegetation treatments.

We remain behind on miles of road decommissioning. As with riparian treatments, the mechanical treatments need to occur before the road decommissioning will take place.