JOHN DAY, PENDLETON, and BAKER CITY, Ore. — The Northeast Oregon Forests Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) is accepting project proposals to benefit the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. The committee is tasked with recommending projects to improve forest health, watersheds, roads, and facilities around the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. The total amount of Title II funds available for projects will be approximately $853,000.
Project proposals must be entered online by the project applicant using the project form on each Forest’s website (available at the end of this news release). Use “Northeast Oregon Forests” as the Resource Advisory Committee name. Please include any needed maps or attachments. Project proposals are due by April 1, 2023.
The RAC is made of citizens representing a variety of natural resource-based interests who were selected by the Secretary of Agriculture to advise the Forest Service on the use of funds allocated to the Northeast Oregon Forests RAC through the Reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, also called “Payments to States” Act. RAC members will review proposed land management projects on or adjacent to national forest lands in Baker, Grant, Harney, Morrow, Union, Wallowa, and Wheeler Counties. The RAC then makes recommendations to the Forest Service in accordance with the Act on which projects should be funded.
Non-profit and youth-based organizations, state and county governments, academic, and private enterprises are encouraged to propose projects. Natural resource agencies may also submit project proposals. Projects are considered for Title II funding if they make additional investments in, and create employment opportunities through:
- Improvement of existing infrastructure maintenance;
- Implementation of stewardship objectives that enhance forest ecosystems;
- Restoration and improvement of land health and water quality.
- Projects must comply with all applicable Federal laws and regulations.
- Projects must be consistent with the applicable resource management plan and with any watershed or subsequent plan developed pursuant to the resource management plan.
The funds may be used for projects that have broad-based support and with objectives that include:
- road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration;
- soil productivity improvement;
- forest ecosystem health improvements;
- watershed restoration and maintenance;
- wildlife and fish habitat restoration, maintenance, and improvement;
- noxious and exotic weeds control
- native species re-establishment
At least 50% of all project funds are to be used for projects that are primarily dedicated to road maintenance, decommissioning, or obliteration; or to restoration of streams and watersheds.
Individuals and groups interested in submitting projects are encouraged to discuss their proposals with a Forest Service representative prior to submitting their application.
Members of the Northeast Oregon Forests RAC will review the projects in an open public meeting, which will be held via Zoom. The meeting will focus on general business and reviewing and recommending project proposals that meet the intent of the Payments to States Act. Objectives of the proposed projects are to protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat; improve the maintenance of existing Forest Service infrastructure; protect and enhance ecosystems on the national forests; and restore and improve land health and water quality.
For more information on the Northeast Oregon Forests RAC, assistance with submitting project proposals, or to receive updates on the RAC meeting status, please contact Doug McKay, RAC Designated Federal Officer, at Douglas.Mckay@usda.gov or 541-303-3977.
Additional information, including the project form and instructions, is also available at:
- Malheur National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/malheur/workingtogether/advisorycommittees
- Umatilla National Forest: https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/umatilla/workingtogether/advisorycommittees
- Wallowa-Whitman National Forest: https:// fs.usda.gov/main/wallowa-whitman/workingtogether/advisorycommittees