September 09, 2009

Wyden, Merkley Announce More Than $17 Million for Forest Health Projects

Washington, D.C. - Continuing efforts to create jobs for Oregonians, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced today that Oregon will receive more than $17 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to protect forests on the South Coast and in Southern, Central and Eastern Oregon from wild fires, invasive species and disease outbreaks.

"Oregon's forests are among the most important natural resources we have," Wyden said. "We have an enormous backlog of forests that need to be restored and this funding will employ hard-working Oregonians to do it. By funding projects that reduce wildfire risk, stop diseases from spreading and reduce populations of harmful insects, we will bring jobs back to the forest and protect our natural treasures at the same time."

"These funds will create jobs for local residents at a time when they need them most, helping keep our forests healthy from disease and pests and protecting surrounding communities from the threat of wildfire," said Merkley. "Creating jobs through sustainable forest practices is exactly the kind of win-win for the short-term and long-term that will make a real difference in the lives of Oregonians."

This funding will be used for projects in some of the hardest hit areas of the state where the forests can provide real employment opportunities. Among these projects are $1 million for forest-wide thinning and $3.6 million for collaborative restoration projects in Grant County. The funding announced today will also help to fight invasive species such as the Opine Beetle in Deschutes County and other plant species throughout large parts of the state. As chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests, Wyden has focused on implementing sustainable forestry management that will improve the health of the forests and bolster the economy of surrounding communities. These projects complement those efforts.

The following funding is exclusively for Oregon:

  • Collaborative Restoration Forest Health Support Contracts - $3,630,000

Deschutes County

  • Sudden Oak Death Host Reduction - $2,692,000

Curry County

  • Northeast Oregon Forest Health Block Grant - $2,243,000

Baker, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa Counties

  • Ashland Forest Resiliency and Timber Stand Improvement - $2,000,000

Jackson County

  • Opine Beetle Risk Reduction - $1,890,000

Deschutes County

  • NEO Ecosystem / Riparian Restoration - $1,795,000

Baker County

  • Terrestrial Habitat Enhancement - Botany and Wildlife (Meadows) - $1,400,000

Coos, Curry, Jackson and Josephine Counties

  • Forest-wide Thinning - $1,000,000

Grant County

  • Native Conifer and Non-Conifer Seed Collection and Production for Restoration Projects- $400,000

Baker County

  • ODA National Forest Invasive Plant Control and Management - $269,000

Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Jefferson, Josephine, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa Counties.

  • Linn County Forest Health - $113,000

Linn County

The following funding will be shared with other states:

  • Research on Restoring Critical Habitat for Listed Pacific Salmon - $2,240,000

Siskiyou County, California and Benton County, Oregon

  • Forests Adapting To and Mitigating Climate Change Effects - $1,795,000

Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington

For more information about the individual projects mentioned here as well as a full listing of the ARRA funding released from the Forest Service please visit