Fire Tolerant Forests
Fire Tolerant Forests
Mitch Baker

People Who Collaborate

As a biology major at the University of Nevada in Reno James had plans to enlist in the Army upon graduation but the Army didn't like the outcome of eye exam so plans changed and thanks to some ag students and influential professors he found another path as a Range Conservationist with the Forest Service. READ MORE.
Pictured: James Campbell, retired Range Conservationist, volunteer with the Harney County Restoration Collaborative and proud kilt wearer.

A Fire Tolerant Forest

By Jack Southworth, Rancher and facilitator of the Harney County Restoration Collaborative in light of the multiple megafires and wildfires that have caused devastation in Western Oregon.
The south end of the Malheur National Forest, which lies in the north end of Harney County and is encompassed by the Emigrant Creek Ranger District, is a dry, conifer forest. Historically, frequent fires burned across its landscape every 15 to 25 years. Since European settlement, approximately 150 years ago, fires were seen as a bad thing and were routinely put out as soon as possible. As a result of a lack of fire across the landscape, what was once an open, almost savannah-like forest is now thick with small diameter trees, the trees that were formerly consumed by occasional, low-intensity naturally caused fires. As a result, nowadays, when fires do escape early containment they tend to become very large in size and very intense in their burning, often consuming entire stands of trees. Read more. This link takes to the Resources page of the Harney County Restoration Collaborative where you'll find the article, A Fire Tolerant Forest.

Oregon Experiences Once In A Generation Fire Season

Wildfires dominated news coverage for much of September after fires erupted along the West Coast in Oregon, California and Washington. 

An uncommon weather event in Oregon just after Labor Day resulted in dozens of wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes and burned about a million acres. 

Jeff Rose, District Manager for the Burns Bureau of Land Management, was enlisted to help with management support during the wildfire emergency, which included supporting fire districts and their cities as well as creating strategies and coordinating activities between fires. “The situation over there was a very rare event,” he said. “A lot of unfortunate things lined up at the same time.” Read more. This link takes to the Resources page of the Harney County Wildfire Collaborative where you'll find the article, Oregon Experiences Once In A Generation Fire Season.
Pictured: Bucket operations on the Lionshead Fire. Photo from Inciweb with credit to Joshua Clipp.

Thank You Jacob Gear!

As shared on Facebook mid September it's worth repeating here, thank you to BLM Fire Management Specialist Jacob Gear (aka Rangeland Fire Protection Association Liasion) for making a difference in Paisley on the Brattain Fire. "I have to mention Jacob Gear from the BLM. He came here to help close the gap between the RFPA and the team. He is the reason we are getting this fire hooked on the North end. We owe Warner Valley RFPA, Crane RFPA, and Silver Creek RFPA a debt of gratitude for answering our mutual aid request . . . " ~Kevin Leehman

A Prescription For The Forest

We're excited to share that at Idlewild Campground in the Southern Malheur Forest there is a new educational trail about why prescribed fire is an important tool toward creating fire tolerant landscapes.
The Harney County Restoration Collaborative made this trail possible thanks to funding from National Environmental Education Foundation and The Forest Service. Shout out to Forest Service Rec Planner Ty Cronin and the crew from the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps for getting the signs in the ground and installed. Many thanks to J. Hill Images for the great pics.
Plan a visit to Idlewild and check it out; you will find these signs about prescribed fire on the Idlewild Campground Trail that is just over one mile long and circles the campground.

Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative now Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative

Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative is now Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative. The reality is we have always been a collaborative working group, so now our name better reflects it. While we’ve made a subtle change to our name, our focus remains exactly the same. Since 2011, HBWI, now HBWC, is finding ways to improve the aquatic health and sustainability of Malheur Lake, and wild, flood-irrigated wet meadows across the Harney Basin. This effort is led by a diverse group of stakeholders, including local ranchers, conservation organizations, the Sovereign Nation of the Burns Paiute Tribe, government agencies, technical experts, scientists, area residents, nonprofit partners, and others who share a love and concern for the Harney Basin.
All six of High Desert Partnership's collaboratives represent diverse groups working together to find common ground around addressing complex challenges and opportunities in Harney County. Learn more at

Study to Look at Emergent Vegetation in Malheur Lake

While the proliferation of carp has received much attention over the years, a new two-year study will look at the lack of emergent vegetation and try to determine the best way to foster the growth of bulrushes, cattails and other vegetation in Malheur Lake with the end goal being clearer water that is more attractive to birds and other wildlife. Read more. This link takes to the Resources page of the Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative where you'll find the article, Study to Look at Emergent Vegetation in Malheur Lake.
Pictured below: As part of a three-pronged restoration effort, Dr. James Pearson, a fish biologist at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, is looking for ways to restore emergent vegetation in Malheur Lake.

Bye Carp

Mid September 948 carp, about 4800lbs, were removed from the Blitzen River during the annual carp round-up thanks to a coordinated effort between the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge's aquatic biology team, Forest Service staff and HDP's Aquatic Health Coordinator Dominic Bachman. With this effort plus previous days of carp removal, there are 1400 fewer carp (8300 lbs) in Harney County. Invasive carp are wreaking havoc to Malheur Lake and these partners along with all partners in Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative are working to drastically reduce their population.

Mentor Match Teen Entrepreneurship Program

This program began in 2019 with a pilot run and it's back offering Harney County teens an educational program to help move their ideas from purely ideas to developing businesses. Find much more about this program including how to apply, HERE.

Harney Internship Program

The Harney Internship Program is designed to enrich and inspire high school-aged students in discovering local career opportunities. The program aims to cultivate a homegrown workforce, motivated and prepared to pursue fruitful careers in a range of industries right here in Harney County. Find much more about this program including how students can apply for an internship and businesses can register their business to offer an internship, HERE.

The Oregon Way

There's a new blog in Oregon, The Oregon Way, and HDP's, Executive Director Brenda Smith is one among several individuals from around Oregon who are contributing entries to it monthly. Read her first submission about Harney County character. We believe this blog's purpose: "build a community of freethinkers that share a common interest in helpiing identify common ground among Oregonians in every corner of the state,"  lines well with HDP's and finding common ground here in Harney County.
 2020 Upcoming Events 
Wednesday, October 21 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Thursday, November 5 | Wet Meadow Summit, day one
Thursday, November 17 | Wet Meadow Summit, day two
Wednesday, November 18 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Thursday, November 19 | Harney County Wildfire Collaborative
Wednesday, December 16 | High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
*All meetings, not including field trips, are virtual meetings that can be accessed via ZOOM conferencing or a phone call. Contact Ben Cate at for conferencing links and numbers. 

Shop Harney County!

Spark Mercantile is an online marketplace supporting local Harney County makers making it possible for their goods to be purchased from far and wide while helping to create economic opportunity in Harney County.
Click SHOP below to see what's in the store.

Malheur Lake Airboat Tour

Feel the wind in your hair.

Reviving Malheur Lake

A short film about Malheur Lake, its current condition and what is being learned to help stage its revival.

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