The South Warner Forest Health Project (SWFHP) encompasses 39,037 acres of private, non-industrial forestland in Lake County, east and south of Lakeview. This landscape scale project is tied directly to Fremont- Winema National Forest’s South Warner Integrated Landscape Restoration Project, totaling 85,620 acres and is adjacent to the North Warner Forest Health Project where current treatment is underway. Through a century of fire suppression, the forests of this region have increased in density, lost diversity, and altered the structure and hydrologic function of watersheds. This loss from historic conditions has increased the scale and risk of fire severity, and reduced forest resiliency to drought, insects, and disease. High priority resources and habitat such as waterways and associated sensitive species, homes, ranch land, and private/industrial timberland are currently in jeopardy.
The goal of the SWFHP is to initiate a landscape-level forest management effort aimed at improving forest health conditions that will reverse the current fire trend and increase ecosystem resiliency. Based on similar efforts in Lake County, the SWFHP uses an 8 step model founded on personal connections with informed and engaged private landowners. A comprehensive outreach, mapping, and inventory effort will inform and facilitate cross-boundary planning and implementation of forest health practices. Technical Assistance will be used to conduct targeted outreach to private landowners, including phone calls, mailings, site visits, forest management planning sessions, and educational workshops. Landowner education efforts will include two OSU Extension workshops for forest ecology/management, fire science and prioritization planning.
Lake County Umbrella Watershed Council, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Lake County Resources Initiative, Fremont Winema National Forest, Oregon Department of Forestry, Natural Resources Conservation Services, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Klamath Lake Forest Health Partnership, and private landowners in the project area.
Meeting to determine next steps, GIS map creation, and the hiring of a field validation crew are underway. Landowner outreach will commence this spring.