With NWFHP Phase 1 and 2 complete, the next project awarded was The Lake County All Lands Restoration Initiative Mini Focused Investment Partnership (LCALRI Mini FIP). Which focuses on the North Warner and Thomas Creek areas located adjacent to each other. In lieu of submitting a full Focused Investment Partnership grant due to decreases in Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) budgets from COVID-19 impacts to our economy, we are decreased our original geographic range while still hoping to maintain the forward momentum of forest health improvements through a mini FIP which will echo all the same goals and objectives as the FIP but at a much smaller scale. The original FIP total area covers 402,400 acres, this mini FIP will cover about 278,633 acres near the communities of Lakeview and Valley Falls. This project area includes high concentrations of old legacy ponderosa pine forests; and habitat for priority species.
We plan to complete the thinning treatments of dry ponderosa pine and mixed conifer forests in the North Warner project area and initiate thinning efforts in Thomas Creek project area (666 acres on private land, 6000 acres on USFS). Additionally we will perform conifer encroachment reduction in aspen and meadows on 100 acres of private land and 500 acres of USFS land.
Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Klamath Lake Forest Health Partnership, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State University Extension, United States Forest Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Lake County Cooperative Weed Management Area, Lake County Resource Initiative
Outreach took place beginning in April 2021 as the project manager reached out to approximately 25 different property owners within the project boundary. Efforts included, phone calls, and in-person meetings to explain the scope of the project and the unique opportunity for property owners to improve their land and reach their restoration goals and objectives. By early summer 2021, 14 landowners confirmed their interest in future restoration work on their land and engaged in landowner agreements, mapping and hiring contractors.
As of the start of 2022, 600 acres have been cut and piled on private land, with 151 more acres contracted for completion next year. The USFS has also completed thinning efforts on public land within the project area. Additionally the partners were able to complete the Lake County All Lands Restoration Initiative Noxious Weed Management Plan which will be included in our FIP application.