FIRE RESTRICTIONS: Fire Season terminated October 16, 2017. Regulated Closure terminated October 3.
MH1 and MH4 IFPL: IFPL Terminated as of October 16, 2017.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Oregon Department of Forestry partners with Ritter landowners


Ritter, Oregon…Folks in Ritter are used to facing the challenges of living in remote Oregon and finding unusual solutions.  Back in 2014 that is exactly what a group of landowners did, forming the Ritter Collaborative.  The collaborative focuses on enhancing land productivity and restoring the landscape.  Landowners formed the collaborative to improve the economics and efficiencies for on the ground work.  This unique collaborative is made up entirely of private landowners.  Landowners vary from working cattle operations, to residential homes, to recreational uses, with full time, part time, and seasonal residents.  The landowner’s passion for the land, and the desire to use science to determine projects across the landscape has united them.  
Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF) Committee for Family Forestlands supported the collaborative early on with the hope of modeling similar projects in other communities around the state.  ODF assisted the collaborative by helping landowners apply for grants, and now serves as the fiscal agent for a Model Watershed Cooperative Grant from the US Forest Service which provided funds to hire Curt Qual as the Ritter Collaborative Coordinator, through Oregon State University Extension Service.  As the coordinator Curt represents the Ritter Collaborative at a larger scale in efforts such as the John Day Basin Partnership which is part of the all lands approach being used on private and public forestlands across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.  Qual also works with landowner members to help them gather and interpret information and engage additional landowners inside the collaborative area. 
The Ritter Collaborative has developed a Strategic Action Plan to help members prioritize projects across the landscape.  Landowners working cooperatively on projects such as aspen restoration, juniper removal, noxious weed control, and streamside enhancements are able to combine project work across landowners to get a better price from the contractor.  The Strategic Action Plan is designed to be dynamic to adjust to changes in the land.
Late this fall the collaborative partnered with ODF’s John Day Unit and Fossil Sub-Unit.  Firefighters from Fossil used collaborative project work to gain experience using a chainsaw, focusing on falling, limbing, and bucking trees.  Experienced firefighters were able to mentor firefighters who had limited experience using a saw.  Approximately 50 acres were treated for five different landowners.  One project focused on aspen restoration, removing juniper which had encroached and was competing with the aspen grove.  The remaining work was part of larger juniper removal projects to help landowners with their efforts.  Firefighters were available to respond to wildfires while they were working on the projects, but also gaining useful skills.  The Ritter Collaborative has provided funds to ODF’s John Day foresters to collect GPS and photo site monitoring to track the work as it occurs and to monitor the effects of the projects over the landscape.  This data will be provided to the collaborative for use in adapting the Strategic Action Plan.
For more information on the Ritter Collaborative and the partnerships they have developed contact Curt Qual, Ritter Collaborative Coordinator (541)575-1139.

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