Why UCSRB Cares About Forest Health
At the UCSRB, we often say that “fish grow on trees.” The Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest comprises 70% of the combined land base in Okanogan and Chelan counties. Most of our snowpack dominated streams originate on these National Forest managed lands. Additionally, many of the listed bull trout populations reside on National Forest managed lands. The health of these uplands is linked to the health of our region’s rivers; and our communities. Through the forest health program, the UCSRB facilitates a collaborative approach to accelerating restoration across these National Forest lands in North Central Washington. An effective management approach that includes active restoration of forest lands has important implications for surrounding communities, regional economics, and the aquatic systems that originate in, and wind through, these lands.
North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative
The North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative (NCWFHC), facilitated by the UCSRB, is a diverse group of timber industry representatives, conservationists, tribal government, elected officials, and local, state and federal land managers working together to restore the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest (OWNF) in Chelan and Okanogan Counties.
Numerous studies show that climate change, fire suppression, logging, lack of active management and grazing on the 4-million-acre OWNF have altered past vegetation conditions resulting in un-resilient forest conditions facilitating the spread of insect, disease and fire. The collaborative is using a consensus-based approach to build momentum to restore the OWNF, while also providing jobs, forest products and recreational opportunities.
NCWFHC’s Purpose Statement
The purpose of the NCWFHC is to work together to obtain the resources and community support to increase implementation of landscape-scale forest restoration. All proposed actions will be scientifically and ecologically sound, as well as socio-culturally responsible. The economics of forest restoration are a critical consideration as we make recommendations, and some actions will be investments that are not necessarily immediately profitable. Members of this collaborative effort are committed to sustaining candid dialogue about how to sustain forests in the region and the varied activities and interests that we commonly share and deeply value.
NCWFHC Vision Statement
The NCWFHC strives to advance forest health through transparent actions that improve forest resiliency, preserve terrestrial and aquatic wildlife habitat, protect natural resources, provide recreational opportunities, promote utilization of natural resources, and support local economies in Chelan and Okanogan Counties.