Public comment is now being accepted on a large landscape restoration project proposed on Green Ridge near Sisters.
Green Ridge has experienced decades of clear-cutting, fire exclusion, disease and intensive tree farming which have altered the structure of the natural vegetation.
“It would be a dry forest restoration, dry pine restoration. It would be a variable density thin,” said Ian Reid, Sisters District Ranger. “There would be some habitat improvement for mule deer. Of course, they like early seral habitats, so opening up that stand and a reduction of fire risk.”
The draft plan to restore this 25,000-acre area about 10 miles north of Sisters calls for prescribed fires to remove shade-tolerant trees such as grand fir and white fir, accelerating the development of large, fire-resistant trees.
“What we see today is a lot of shade-tolerant species, a lot of continuity in the stand vertically from the ground all the way to the over-story canopy,” said Andrew Myrha, Forest Service fuels specialist. “A lot of these trees would have been eliminated by that frequent low-intensity fire.”
Proposed treatments would vary in different areas, based on site-specific conditions and wildlife needs.
“What I look for in owl habitat is grand fir and white fir that’s going to fall down and provide that large structure on the ground,” said a tour participant.
“The intention there is to maintain the canopy cover for spotted owls to persist in those stands for purposes of dispersal,” replied John DeLuca, Forest Service wildlife biologist.
The project proposes a variety of treatments including prescribed burning, road closures and a trail reroute.
Four alternatives were considered to meet the purpose and need of the project.
“Some of these areas we’d like to keep them intact in the manner they are in right now. We are in favor of closing some of the roads in these areas,” said Corey Heath, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.
The Forest Service’s environmental assessment can be accessed on the Deschutes National Forest project website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=48454 .
A copy of the environmental assessment is also available by contacting Lauren DuRocher at firstname.lastname@example.org.