ODF grants $20 million to fund hazardous fuels reduction projects, including 52,000 acres in C.O.
SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) — The Oregon Department of Forestry has issued $20 million in grants authorized by Senate Bill 762. Awards, including $6.25 million for more than 52,000 acres in Central Oregon, are to landscape-scale projects for reducing hazardous fuels on forestland and rangeland across ownership boundaries.
This funding will support nine projects submitted by non-profit organizations and community partners to treat over 156,000 acres across Oregon’s landscapes at highest risk for catastrophic wildfire. This state-funded grant program will also bring over $15 million in matching funds from federal, state, private, and like-kind investments. The projects receiving funding are:
- Lower Rogue Oak Resiliency Project
- Ashland Forest All-lands Restoration (AFAR)
- Wasco County Forest Resilience Project
- Southeast Oregon Wildfire Resiliency Project
- Laurel Butte Landscape Resiliency Project
- Landscape Resiliency in the Upper Applegate Watershed
- Central Oregon Shared Stewardship Landscape Resiliency Project (COSSLRP)
- West Bear All-Lands Restoration
- Upper John Day Valley Landscape Resiliency Project
The Central Oregon Shared Stewardship Landscape Resiliency Project will treat 52,441 acres, and involves several agencies and organizations, with $7.58 million in matching funds being provided. The work is slated to be completed by June of 2023.
Deschutes County Forester Ed Keith said the county applied for the grant on behalf of several partners in an area spanning Deschutes, southwest Jefferson and northern Klamath counties. Most of the acreage is on Forest Service land (nearly 45,000 acres), and the bulk of the matching funds come from them, he said..
ODF convened a work group of diverse stakeholders that included federal land partners and representatives of the timber industry and environmental conservation communities to establish grant criteria and evaluate proposals. The work group recommended their top ranked projects to ODF, which was followed by a public comment period.
Grant agreements are now underway and work on some projects will begin in spring 2022 ahead of wildfire season. Most restoration work will occur between the 2022 and 2023 fire seasons. All work must be completed by June 30, 2023.
The department prepared a map showing where proposed projects are located on the existing map of the four highest wildfire risk classes in Oregon. The map is available on ODF’s website.
Senate Bill 762 is comprehensive legislation passed with bipartisan support that provides more than $200 million to help Oregon modernize and improve wildfire preparedness through three key strategies: creating fire-adapted communities, developing safe and effective response, and increasing the resiliency of Oregon's landscapes. The bill is the product of years of hard work by many Oregonians, the Governor's Council on Wildfire Response, the Legislature, and state agencies.
Additional information about Senate Bill 762 and its state-funded grant programs is available on ODF’s website.