The U.S. Forest Service announced Monday its final record of decision which, will allow for implementation of the Lower Joseph Creek Project.
The long-awaited decision gives the green light to improve forest resiliency on and enhance fish and wildlife efforts on about 100,000 acres of forest land in northern Wallowa County. The project is located about 20 miles north of Enterprise along Highway 3.
On March 17, Wallowa-Whitman forest supervisor Tom Montoya signed the final decision authorizing implementation of the project. With some changes, the U.S. Forest Service chose alternative two of the final environmental impact for project implementation. A more detailed exploration of that alternative will appear in a future edition of the Chieftain.
A brief overview includes: tree thinning, commercial logging and other treatments on about 17,000 acres. An additional 90,000 acres will receive prescribed fire treatments in the next decade.
Changes in road density, including the opening 23 miles of road to public access while closing 12 miles of road, is also part of the project.
“The thoughtful feedback we received from all participants in this project really helped shape a decision that will allow positive progress across the landscape, resulting in a healthier decision,” Montoya said.
The project is expected to support several dozen jobs to the community throughout its duration, which could be as long as a decade.