Our group began working on the Lower Joseph Creek Restoration Project in 2012, using environmental data compiled by the Wallowa County Natural Resources Advisory Committee (NRAC) as a guide. The NRAC and a subcommittee of our group worked closely together to develop a Purpose and Need for the project.  

At this same time the Forest Service’s Blue Mountains Restoration Strategy Interdisciplinary Team (the “Eastside Team”), a team dedicated to planning faster, larger restoration projects in the Blue Mountains, offered to take on the Lower Joseph Project as its first East Side Restoration Strategy project. The Strategy is a set of commitments to initiate landscape-scale planning projects in the dry forests of Eastern Oregon and Washington. When the Eastside Team took on the project, it provided for an accelerated one-year planning and analysis timeline, and the capacity to work on the entire 100,000 acre project area all at once.

Our collaborative met with the Eastside Team many times to help them understand the different perspectives held by members of our group.  We also toured the area multiple times together to discuss on-the-ground treatments and the overall objectives of the project.  We worked with the Wallowa County NRAC and the Forest Service to develop a new Purpose and Need for the project that was adopted by consensus in our group.  

We continued to work with the Forest Service during the scoping and draft Environmental Impact Statement stages and assisted the Eastside Team in better understanding some of the concerns of constituents who value the Lower Joseph Watershed Area.  

We are now awaiting the release of the final Environmental Impact Statement and draft project decision. After that time we will continue working with our Forest Service partners during project implementation.

Project Facts:

  • Covers nearly 100,000 acres on the northern boundary of the Wallowa Whitman National Forest

  • Works within deep canyons, warm/moist forests on steep canyon slopes, warm/dry forests on south-facing slopes, cool/dry forest and small amounts of wet mixed conifer and subalpine fir

  • Aims to contribute to local economic and social vitality, reduce the risk of wildfire, restore forest health, enhance fish and wildlife habitat, and improve future forest, range, and fire management opportunities