Grandfather Project Highlighted in USDA Report

On Tuesday, USDA released a Forest Service report that documents the significant efforts to increase the pace and scale of restoration on the landscape to create resilience within forests and natural resources. The report highlights the extensive work the Forest Service has undertaken over the last few years to confront serious challenges facing forests and grasslands.

The first initiative that is highlighted is the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, with a spotlight on the Grandfather Restoration Project. Out of 20+ projects across the country, the fact that we were chosen as the highlight in this high-impact report says a lot about the hard work and great collaboration here on the Grandfather!

USDAreportGrandfather Restoration Project North Carolina: The Grandfather Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project brings together diverse partners to restore the forest health and resilience of a unique section of the southern Blue Ridge Mountains. The project is reducing fire risk, removing invasive species, improving wildlife habitat, and increasing recreation opportunities. One of the project’s many successes is the work across ownerships to remove Japanese knotweed from the Wilson Creek Wild and Scenic River Corridor. This invasive plant species takes over riparian areas, competing with native vegetation and reducing the quality of trout habitat in the waters of Wilson Creek. Successful treatment of Japanese knotweed requires removing the plant from both the National Forest System and privately owned land in the river corridor. The Forest Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission, and the partner group Friends of Wilson Creek are working on National Forest System lands and with private property owners to remove Japanese knotweed, with plans to eradicate Japanese knotweed from the area by 2017.

Check out the full report here: From Accelerating Restoration To Creating and Maintaining Resilient Landscapes and Communities Across the Nation



Fuel Treatments and Wildfire Behavior: A Preliminary Report from the Rim Fire

rimfireThe Rim Fire was a wildfire in the central Sierra Nevada region, in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties of California. The fire started on August 17, 2013, during the 2013 California wildfire season. It was the third largest wildfire in California’s history, having burned 257,314 acres, and is the biggest wildfire on record in the Sierra Nevada. A widespread heat wave and drought conditions helped to spread the fire and make it difficult to combat. Also contributing to the fire was a pre-1980s policy of suppressing small natural fires. The lack of those fires created nearly a century’s worth of fuel to burn, resulting in a massive forest fire killing virtually all plant life in its path.

A recently released report from the US Forest Service and the National Park Service provides a preliminary description of how the Rim Fire affected areas differentially depending on the previous extent of land management, or lack thereof. The report looks at the interactions between the fire behavior and a select number of areas where management actions designed to mitigate wildfire and improve natural resource conditions were implemented on the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park.

In general, it was found that where fuels treatments occurred prior to the Rim Fire, the wildfire burned with lower intensities.

“The fuel breaks played a critical role in reducing the intensity of the fire in the Pine Mountain Lake community, their purpose was to reduce fuel loads and the work done the past five to seven years made the difference,” said SWIFT coordinator Allen Johnson.

View the full report here: Rim Fire – Preliminary Fuel Treatment Effectiveness Report