08/07/2019 | Press release | Archived content
A collaborative Landscape Restoration Project funding opportunity would supply a significant boost for the Salmon Municipal Watershed fuel reduction plan if the Salmon-Challis National Forest proposal is accepted according to North Fork District Ranger Ken Gebhardt. The project is specifically aimed at enabling fuels reduction on forest lands.
Gebhardt, along with Forest Service Supervisory Timber Management Assistant Rayma Cooley from the Black Hills National Forest, explained the collaborative project to the Salmon City Council on August 7. He said if the proposal for funding being submitted by the Salmon-Challis National Forest is accepted it could mean receipt of $4 million annually for implementation of the Salmon Municipal Watershed Restoration Project Plan already in place as well as areas surrounding the watershed. He said the funds would go to the north half of the forest basically from south of Williams Creek to north of North Fork including Gibbonsville and Moose Creek Estates which is part of the upper North Fork Project area which was approved several years ago.
He has been putting together a five page proposal describing the watershed projects designed to reduce hazardous fuels over a ten year period of time. Gebhardt said the agency has limited the proposal to five pages which is a challenge since the Municipal Watershed plan is one of over 15 projects Cooley and North Zone Fuels Specialist Wade McPhetridge have identified and placed in the decision making process.
Gebhardt said the reason for his visit with the council was to ask for an official letter of support from the city for the proposal he will be submitting by the end of the month. He will also be asking the same of the Lemhi County Commissioners and the Lemhi County Forest Restoration Group which has donated years of work to the hazardous fuels management plans. The letters will be part of his submission to the Regional Office for its consideration. If the plan is selected as a likely candidate a more elaborate proposal will be developed and sent on to the Washington D.C. Forest Service Office. Gebhardt said if the proposal is accepted it would amount to a 'win, win, win.'
Colley said the $4 million dollar award comes with a 50% match caveat. She said that currently implementation of the hazardous fuels reduction plan for the Salmon Municipal Watershed is limited by the amount of money available so obtaining the Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project funding would really help to get the fuels reduction project moving. She said it would also help to get more timber moving out of the forest in an ecologically sound way which in turn would help the logging industry.
Gebhardt said in addition to an explanation of the Salmon Municipal Watershed's importance to the community, the proposal also includes the social and economic aspects of the project which over a ten year period would treat 140,000 acres of forest. He offered Cooley's help with the letter's terminology.
The council agreed to the letter of support being written. The letter will be reviewed by the council before being signed at its August 21st meeting.