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In response to a request by the Colville Confederated
Tribes, the Tonasket Ranger District has developed a proposal for forest restoration work in the Bailey Mountain area, southeast of Tonasket.
The area analyzed as part of the Bailey Restoration Project
encompasses about 9500 acres in the West Fork San Poil Watershed; including Bailey Mountain, Bailey Creek, and Aeneas Creek. The proposed work focuses on improving forest health while restoring sustainability and resiliency to the landscape.
The project is designed to protect Wildland Urban interface and adjacent lands managed by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation by reducing fuel conditions that are increasing the potential for severe wildfire. It would improve the health of timber stands that
are infected with dwarf mistletoe and have become overcrowded, making them more susceptible to insect infestations.
"Many of the stands within the assessment area were thinned in the 1980's; however, reducing forest fuels was not a priority objective for stand treatment at that time," said Dale Olson, District Ranger at Tonasket. "A great deal of what was left behind would serve as live standing fuel in the event of a fire. The tree tops are crowded and there is a dense understory. In addition there are areas that were not thinned in the 1980's. Those areas also need treatment to open up the tree canopy, reduce fuel loading and treat for dwarf mistletoe infestation."
Under the 2004 Tribal Forest Protection Act, Tribes can request coordination on activities to reduce the threat of fire along the shared boundaries. Colville Confederated Tribes asked that the Forest Service take action to reduce the threat of insects, disease and wildfire to the Reservation lands.
In addition to responding to the Tribes' request, this project addresses issues identified as part of the 1988 West Fork Sanpoil Watershed Assessment," said Olson. "That assessment identified the need to reduce the risk of wildfire along the Forest boundary and rural interface zone,
increase wildlife habitat effectiveness, improve water quality and to reduce the potential for noxious weed spread."
For more information about the Bailey Restoration Project, please contact Carol Ogilvie, project team leader at 509-486-2186.
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