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Stewardship workshop targets thinning

By Paul Fattig
Mail Tribune
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WILLIAMS — All the facts will be thrown into the "Penny Stew" pot during a day-long workshop on the local stewardship project Saturday at the Williams Grange hall.

The event begins at 9 a.m. and features nearly a dozen speakers, followed by a field trip to the nearby 100-acre Penny Stew site.

The project is the sixth such contract awarded by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Oregon since Congress passed a bill in 2003 giving federal land management agencies the authority to issue stewardship contracts.

The purpose of the Penny Stew is to thin vegetation on BLM land near rural homes to reduce the fire hazard and improve forest health while providing local employment. The project also relies on community collaboration.

The agency awarded the contract to the Eugene-based Cascade Wildlands Inc. late last year. However, the work is being done in collaboration with the Lomakatsi Restoration Project, a local organization that focuses on forest restoration.

"More and more folks are getting interested in stewardship projects, especially in the wildland urban interface areas," observed BLM stewardship coordinator Blair Moody, one of the presenters at the workshop.

"People are finding some common goals in these projects," he added.

Other presenters at the workshop include Randy Carey, Williams Creek Watershed Council; Oshana Catranides, Lomakatsi; Chas Rogers, Williams Creek Watershed Council; Frank Lake, restoration biologist with the Karuk Tribe; Marko Bey, Lomakatsi; Don Tipping, Seven Seeds Farm; Mike Albers, Cascade Wildlands; Lesley Adams, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center; Jay Lininger, University of Montana graduate student in fire ecology; and Richard Hart, ecologist.

Drinks and snacks will be provided, but participants are asked to bring their own lunch.

A field trip to local National Fire Plan projects and Penny Stew will begin at 2:30 p.m.

Under the terms of the $90,550 contract, Cascade Wildlands will harvest an estimated $20,000 in small-diameter trees as part of a pre-commercial thinning and fuels-reduction effort, offsetting the cost of the project, according to the BLM.

The three-year contract allows the government to exchange goods for service, meaning it is paying only about $70,000 for more than $90,000 worth of work, officials said.

The types of treatments to be used include thinning the forest, cutting brush, removing biomass material, hand piling and burning, said Terry Fairbanks, supervisory forester with the BLM's Grants Pass Resource Area.

The contract area, which is split into a 40-acre and 60-acre unit, has lots of pine, oak and madrone mixed with Douglas fir.

The Penny Stew is the second such BLM stewardship contract to be awarded in the Applegate River drainage. In 2003, the agency awarded the Bobar stewardship in the Little Applegate River watershed. It called for similar work on 111 acres.

Bobar was one of the first two stewardship contracts awarded nationally by the agency.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com

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