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Eddie Bauer Partners for Habitat Restoration in Washington’s Methow Valley, Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest
Posted on April 18, 2015

Andrew Bennett hooks into a native Steelhead on the Methow River. Photo: Jeremiah Watt

 

Last year, the Carlton Complex wildfire in Washington’s Methow Valley hit very close to home. The frightening conflagration, Washington’s largest recorded wildfire and a tragedy that impacted many residents of Eddie Bauer’s home state, resulted in relief efforts that our brand backed through the American Red Cross. The aftermath left hundreds of thousands of acres charred in an idyllic mountain area that many of us from Eddie Bauer, including Eddie Bauer Sport Shop guides Andrew Bennett and Lucas St. Clair, visit regularly for recreation, inspiration, and world-class fly-fishing. We’ve been announcing our American Forests conservation projects all week and today we’re highlighting the two home turf efforts we picked in the Northwest, in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest and after the fire in the Methow.  —LYA Editor

Top Image: Jeremiah Watt, All Others Courtesy American Forests

Project: South Summit Restoration Project

Location: Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WA

Problem: Watershed Conditions

 

MethowValley

American Forests and the U.S. Forest Service are reforesting 1,000 acres in Washington’s Methow Valley District of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest with 112,600 ponderosa pine and western larch to help restore watershed areas damaged by the 2014 Carlton Complex fire. This is the first year of reforestation on national forest lands burned in the Carlton fire, the largest wildfire on record in the state of Washington. Estimated tree mortality exceeded 95 percent within the high-severity fire area, and a reliable seed source for natural forest regeneration has been eliminated.

Extensive flooding and soil erosion have occurred following the Carlton fire. On Aug. 21, 2014, a thunderstorm with high levels of precipitation impacted the South Summit area, causing major flooding in Frazer Creek and Benson Creek. These waterways connect to the Methow River, which provides habitat for three federally listed fish species: the Upper Columbia River steelhead, spring Chinook salmon, and Columbia River bull trout.

The aftermath of the Carlton Complex fire, Washington's largest wildfire, that left more than 200,000 acres charred

Project: Pole Creek Fire ReLeaf Project

Location: Deschutes National Forest, OR

Problem: Recreational Access

The east side landscape of the Deschtues National Forest, a major recreation destination for central Oregon and the Portland metropolitan area. Photo: Sheila Sund

The Pole Creek Fire began as a lightning strike in September 2012 and grew to consume approximately 26,120 acres of National Forest System lands within the Sisters Ranger District. The severity of the fire was particularly intense in the Pole Creek, Whychus Creek and Snow Creek watersheds, where more than 250,000 acres, nearly 400 square miles, burned at high severity, leaving little or no surviving forest cover. This project will work to control erosion, maintain wildlife habitat, and restore a highly utilized recreational area. The project will also work with the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC), an alternative high school program that provides opportunities for youth to learn and work in the outdoors while restoring and caring for our forests.

Soil erosion on the Pole Creek Fire. With the vegetation gone and few trees to intercept rain, short but intense rain events can move large amount of soil. Photo: USFS

The burned area is within a major recreation destination for central Oregon and the Portland metropolitan area. The area hosts many events, including the Sisters Rodeo and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, which draw people from across the U.S. The Pole Creek Fire area, in particular, enjoys heavy recreational use during all seasons for hiking, camping, fishing, mushroom collecting, and cross-country skiing. However, access to many of these activities has been diminished because of several fires in the last decade, including the Pole Creek Fire. Many woodland trails have become brush-choked tunnels with limited access. The fire area contains the Park Meadow, Chus Falls, Pole Creek, Scott Pass, and Milican trailheads, which are some of the most popular access points to the Three Sisters Wilderness. Restoring this area will increase access, improving outdoor recreational opportunities for several of Oregon’s major population centers.

American Forests and the U.S. Forest Service are reforesting 2,000 acres of Deschutes National Forest with more than 350,000 ponderosa pine and Douglas fir to restore an ecosystem affected by the 2012 Pole Creek Fire.

Looking South into the Three Sisters Wilderness within the Pole Creek Fire. Photo: USFS

Eddie Bauer kicked off its 20th-anniversary celebration of partnership with American Forests with an Earth Week campaign starting April 17, and invites all customers to join the cause. Customers can donate to American Forests directly through Eddie Bauer’s philanthropic microsite, or “Add a Dollar, Plant a Tree” during checkout both online and in-store. To close out Earth Week, Eddie Bauer will plant a tree for every transaction made on April 21 and 22.

Author: - Saturday, April 18th, 2015
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