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Forest Service announces release of Elk Creek Watershed Restoration Project draft decision

Comparison of meadow system along Forest Service Road 1610 and 1610-200 between 1954 and 2014. (Courtesy Umpqua National Forest)

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Umpqua National Forest Supervisor Alice Carlton announced Tuesday that the Elk Creek Watershed Restoration Project Environmental Assessment and associated draft decision notice and FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) will be released for pre-decisional administrative review.

The project is located on the Tiller Ranger District.

The Elk Creek Watershed Restoration Project is expected to restore meadows, oak and pine woodlands, and pine forests overrun with Douglas fir. Vegetation patterns and characteristics that existed in the Elk Creek watershed changed considerably over the last century due to an interruption of the fire cycle that existed prior to European settlement and from past management practices, officials explained. Many areas that once supported stands of pine and oak are now forested with dense stands of Douglas fir.

“External input was critical in providing us local expertise and helping us understand different community values,” Carlton said. “This project is important from an economic viewpoint. It is also important because it is designed to restore the Elk Creek watershed.”

The project was delayed by the Stouts Creek Fire which changed the area to be treated. Continued collaboration between the Forest Service, Douglas County government, South Umpqua Rural Community Partnership and other interested groups and local public helped develop the Elk Creek restoration project to provide a balance of resources while moving the landscape to a more resilient condition.

Information on the administrative review process is in the draft Decision Notice, which is available on the project website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=46132.

The Elk Creek Watershed Restoration project is part of the Umpqua National Forest’s broader strategy to manage and restore vegetation.

More information can be found by calling the Tiller Ranger District at 541-825-3100.

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