The Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced 10 initial landscapes to receive $131 million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) investment to begin implementation of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy in 2022.
One of those landscapes is Central Oregon.
The Central Oregon Landscape covers State, private, and Federal lands on the east side of the Cascades.
One of the reasons Central Oregon was chosen is because of its history with collaboration and national leadership in implementing the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program, Joint Chief’s Projects, and National Cohesive Strategy.
This significant investment in the Central Oregon landscape will continue our work in reducing the risk of fire transfer to our numerous growing communities and critical infrastructure, including our watersheds that supply public drinking water, and will build upon work already accomplished.
The Forest and Grassland expects to receive $4.5 million in funding this year from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $41.3 million in total funding for fiscal years 2022, 2023, and 2024.
The Deschutes National Forest, along with State and other partners, expects to treat an additional 5,000 acres in 2022 and more than 50,000 acres by 2024.
Central Oregon is fortunate to receive this funding, which will support increased public engagement with our communities, reduce the potential for catastrophic wildfire, make our forests more resilient to insects and disease at a landscape scale, and protect our critical watershed both for wildlife and sources of community water.
Our focus along with our partners within the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project, local, state and other federal agencies is on strategic, science-based landscape scale treatments that cross boundaries and meet the scale of the problem, initially starting with those places critically at risk.
Having healthy, resilient forests, which can recover more quickly if we do have wildfires is important to the Central Oregon economy given the significant amount of our economy that is dependent on tourism and recreation.
Getting these funds to help maintain those forests and that economy is important.