Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) proposes to fund the Confederated Tribes of the Warms Springs (CTWS) to conduct a prescribed burn as part of the Lonerock Ridge Prescribed Juniper Burn Project in Upper Lonerock Creek in the southeastern corner of Gilliam County, OR. Lone Rock Creek and its tributaries are suffering from a loss of hydrologic function due to western juniper encroachment. In the absence of a normal fire regime for the past 150 years, the over-proliferation of western juniper in the Lonerock Watershed has resulted in a substantial loss of native vegetative cover, rangeland health, fish and wildlife habitat, and overall watershed function.
The proposed solution is to strategically and systematically conduct a prescribed landscape burn over approximately 8,588 acres of productive rangeland sites primarily on north- and east-facing slopes with deep soils, which are excellent for producing forage and ground cover essential for fish and wildlife species. The result would be the release of sequestered upland water supplies, restored upland conditions, and a return to dynamic watershed function; including increased instream flows during critical spawning and rearing times. Partners on this project include the Gilliam-East John Day Watershed Council, Gilliam Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and multiple participating private landowners.
NRCS would fund the prescribed burn of 2,188 acres, OWEB would fund 3,200 acres, and BPA would fund an additional 3,200 acres on private lands.
This proposed action would be conducted in accordance to BPA’s HIP 3 programmatic agreement. The burn would be conducted on riparian areas and adjoining uplands to help restore plant species composition and structure that would occur under natural fire regimes. Prescribed burning is the measured application of fire to control invasive woody plants. The technique involves the hand application of fire via drip torches or similar equipment. The conservation measures listed below would be addressed prior to implantation and may be found in the HIP handbook at: https://www.bpa.gov/efw/Analysis/NEPADocuments/Pages/ESA-Process.aspx; additional guidelines on management of western juniper can be found at:
The following measures will apply:
a) A 15 m (50 feet) vegetative buffer would be maintained adjacent to any fishbearing stream.
b) A burn plan is required, although it may vary by management objectives and site conditions.
c) Firebreaks would be used to prevent fire from spreading outside of the planned burn area. Fire retardant chemicals would be used sparingly and would not be used within 37 m (120 feet) of surface waters.
d) An area 3 to 6 m (10 to 20 feet) wide may also be mowed around the outside boundary of the burn area to help assure fire control.
e) Fire management vehicles would be restricted to adjacent non-native or resilient vegetation except during an emergency, and then for only the duration of the emergency.
The burn plan measures include establishing a black line buffer (i.e., a condition where no combustible fuels remain between the fireline and the main fire) to protect the riparian area. The buffer would be created approximately 100 feet out from the riparian area prior to the burn, depending on the terrain. Once the buffer is in place and weather conditions are conducive, the burn would then begin at the buffer with the fire progressing uphill and away from the riparian area.
The goal is to implement this burn in fall 2018, preferably October, to satisfy several objectives. Prescribed burns are facilitated by the weather and condition of juniper trees during a typical October, and it is outside the nesting season. At this time of year juniper will be drier for hotter, more complete burns of the trees and cold, moist weather conditions help the fire self-extinuguish.
The proposed restoration would improve habitat for ESA-listed Mid-Columbia steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), as well as other fish species and wildlife species. The proposed restoration actions are consistent with the actions considered in the Fish and Wildlife Implementation Plan EIS (DOE/EIS-0312).
||October 22, 2018|
|For environmental information, contact:
Environmental Protection Specialist
Bonneville Power Administration - ECF-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208-3621
Direct line: 503-230-3967
|For project information, contact:
Bonneville Power Administration - EWL-4
P.O. Box 3621
Portland, OR 97208-3621
Direct line: 503-230-4506