The remote rural community of John Day, Oregon, is enjoying a restoration renaissance. The only mill left in the county, Malheur Lumber Co., is humming along with 104 employees working extended hours processing a steady supply of logs from federal forest restoration projects. Restoration work has become an economic engine for the community: Careful thinning of smaller trees increases forest resilience while providing additional material for local industry. And the results are real: Local school enrollment has grown from 570 to 615 students, the highest it’s been in fifteen years. Unemployment has fallen from a high of 14 percent in 2012 to 8.9 percent in 2015. Community leaders hope that more jobs will give the younger generation a reason to stay in, or come back to, the community.
HELENA, Montana – Cooks crowd the kitchen to spice the pot known as the Tenmile Creek watershed on the Helena/Lewis and Clark National Forest.
The city of Helena, Montana’s capital, relies on the 53-square-mile Tenmile watershed as its main source of drinking water for about 30,000 people. The supply system includes almost five miles of wooden flumes and trestles, constructed by the Helena Water Works Company in the late 1800s and purchased by the city in 1911.
Yet the 26,000-acre watershed has the dubious distinction of having the worst conditions of all the national forests and grasslands in Montana and portions of Idaho and the Dakotas, according to a 2011 report, based in part on historic mining and logging activity. [Read more…]
If we truly understood that forests are infrastructure, we would invest in their maintenance and restoration as eagerly as we pay for irrigation canals and kitchen faucets and water lines, says Jonathan Kusel.
“We need to increase the investment in our water supply system, beginning with the watershed that is a critical part of that infrastructure,” said Kusel, who directs California’s Sierra Institute for Community and Environment. “That’s the part of the system that refills the water in our streams and groundwater.” [Read more…]
Into most every conversation, Jonathan Kusel works in a pitch for his three-legged stool of forest restoration – the “triple bottom line.”
“The longstanding conversation has centered around environment and jobs – and whether you could have both,” said Kusel, executive director of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment. “But that’s an incredibly narrow framing of the conversation.” [Read more…]
In the midst of our hectic daily routines, a picture story can sometimes provide the most efficient path to the essence of an idea or issue. These photographs are a visual depiction of the issues and concerns that residents across the West wrestle with as they consider the quality and quantity of their water.