On Thursday Aug 23rd, USFS Volunteer and FWPP partner Karen Malis-Clark lead a field visit through both the recently completed portions of the hand-thinning and mechanical harvesting areas at the base of Mt Elden. 40 engaged community members showed up to walk through the site, including several participants from a neighborhood immediately adjacent to the project area.
Discussion at the interpretive stops included: safety briefing, background of project,equipment and current operations, future rehab work and timeline, slash/prescribed burning, partnerships involved, understory and wildlife response, and community support.
There was extended time for Q&A and deep discussion, with many expressing their “thanks” for providing this field opportunity for this important project. Thank you to our community for coming out to learn more about FWPP and thank you for bringing all the great questions and perspectives. Thank you Karen for being a great field visit leader!
Field tour stop to discuss logging equipment and uses
Since the Coconino National Forest lifted fire restrictions in mid July, FWPP has wasted no time getting to work. Dakota Logging, the FWPP logging contractor for the Phase 1 Elden Base area has been working swiftly to mechanically thin trees and reduce the threat of severe wildfire and post fire flood impacts. Due to the ongoing progress, additional trails in the area have been temporarily closed for the public’s safety. Please see this map for updated trail and project area closures: FWPP Trail Closures 8_15
While Dakota Logging is hard at work, the American Conservation Experience (ACE) has been conducting hand thinning operation in the Dry Lake Hills in the area around Brookbank Meadow. The ACE crew is hand thinning small diameter “ladder fuel” trees in an effort to reduce the risk of severe fire and flooding. The links below contain several pictures that show what each thinning method looks like once complete. Take a look!
Hand thinning: ACE Thinning Progress in FWPP Dry Lake Hills 8_15
Mechanical thinning: FWPP Phase 1 Mechanical Thinning Progress 8_15_18
The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP) along with other forest thinning efforts are highlighted in this recent report by the AZ Republic. In addition to FWPP, the article examines other ongoing forest thinning and fire risk reduction efforts in Northern Arizona.
Additionally, the article addresses some of the honest truths about the work FWPP and others are doing. Moving forest thinning forward in challenging terrain and across a large scale is expensive and full of challenges. FWPP would not be possible without the hard work of so many other organizations and dedicated people trying their best, despite the challenges, to move our forests in the right direction. Please take 15 minutes to read about it!
Read the entire article here: FWPP in AZ Republic News
In 2017, American Conservation Experience (ACE) partnered with the City of Flagstaff/Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP) to thin 110 acres of hazardous fuels in Dry Lake Hills (north of Flagstaff) in order to reduce the significant threat of catastrophic forest fires and post-fire flood impacts for the area.
This successful partnership will continue in 2018 thanks to the support from City of Flagstaff, National Forest Foundation, and AZ Department of Forestry and Fire Management. ACE will be employing, training, and deploying 24 emerging forestry professionals to thin an additional 200 acres in Dry Lake Hills and Brookbank Meadow.
Currently, the first ACE crew (pictured above) is deployed and thinning within the FWPP project area in the Dry Lake Hills. In the coming weeks two additional, eight person crews, will be joining them. The crews will be cutting small diameter trees that act as “ladder fuels” that can carry fire from the forest floor into the upper part of the forest canopy. By removing these small, under-story “ladder fuel” trees, the ACE crews are helping to reduce the risk of high severity crown fire in our beloved forest, in our own backyard!
Recently, the AZ Daily Sun wrote an article about the work ACE and FWPP are doing: Read it here
Also, see the map below showing the areas that ACE is working this summer within the FWPP project area: 2018 ACE Crew Thinning in FWPP Project
See current pictures of ACE Thinning Progress in FWPP Dry Lake Hills
The following is a press release from the Coconino National Forest. The release has important information about FWPP Phase 1 as well as important forest and trail closure information around the base of Mt. Elden.
Full Press Release: FWPP Phase 1 press release
Map of closures:
A report of FWPP activities over the past six months in now available. The project has been busy, and now with fire restrictions lifted, we are able to get into the woods to do work! The biggest development to report is the successful bid and takeover of the FWPP Phase 1 timber contract. Dakota Logging has moved his equipment into the area and is begging operations when monsoonal conditions allow. For more updates on what FWPP has been up to the last six months, please see the report: Biannual Report Jan-June 2018
FWPP and the NAU School of Forestry have turned Observatory Mesa into an outdoor learning laboratory for future forest managers and scientists! Thanks to the hard work of the ‘Forest Ecosystem Assessment’ class, permanent research plots have been established across Observatory Mesa.
The plots provide a range of biophysical monitoring data that will be compiled and tracked for multiple years to come. The data will help students, researchers, and managers track forest changes over time. The first report on the data is now available: Observatory Mesa results 2018
Please join us on June 21st, from 6:30 – 8:00pm at the Green Room in downtown Flagstaff for a screening of the film “Era of Mega Fires”. This film, collaboratively produced by the US Forest Service and North40 Production, discusses the growing trend in large, high severity wildfire across the Western United States.
The film traces the past forest management practices over the last 100 years that have led to the current problem, an “epidemic of trees”. The film discusses several ways local communities can take action to increase the health of the forest, and protect their communities from damaging wildfire.
FWPP progress was presented to the Flagstaff City Council and Coconino County Board of Supervisors during a joint session.
Jay Smith, the new Coconino County Director of Forest Restoration presented on how the County will become involved in forest thinning activities in our region. Paul Summerfelt, the FWPP project manager for the City, followed with a summer 2018 FWPP status update.
Watch the recorded presentations here: http://flagstaffaz.swagit.com/play/06042018-1720/#12
The FWPP PowerPoint presentation can be viewed here: FWPP-Council_Supervisors_June 4
The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project is featured as a case study in this article published by the Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE). The article retraces the history of FWPP and the current status of FWPP implementation. The article also highlights similar projects occuring in Ashland, Oregon and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The article identifies the common successes and challenges of this type of work across the West.
Read the full article here: