Remembering the Miller Homestead Fire
Remembering the Miller Homestead Fire

People Who Collaborate

Meet Dr. Katie Wollstein, Rangeland Fire Specialist with the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center. What initially brought Katie to Harney County was the study of Rangeland Fire Protection Associations (RFPAs) in 2015. " . . . we have [ranchers] who are uniquely invested in reducing fire or living more positively with as fire directly affects their livelihoods . . . and so we saw them organizing to be able to respond to fire, to get to new equipment, to get training, to do that better than they have previously without the organization of RFPAs." Out of this research Katie was one within a team of researchers who produced a report that looked at how RFPAs got their start, how they operate and the successes and challenges they've had. READ MORE.

It's Been 10 Years Since the Miller Homestead Fire

On July 8, 2012, lightning ignited a fire on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land on the Miller Homestead in Harney County, Oregon. High winds combined with unusually hot and dry conditions spread the fire through dry grass, juniper, and sagebrush. Before the fire was contained on July 24, 2012, the fire burned 160,801 acres. READ MORE.
Pictured: A scene from the Miller Homestead Fire.

Building Wildfire Resilience by Treating Invasive Annual Grasses

To the naked eye, the sagebrush seas of Harney County can look like wide open, empty spaces that span from one horizon to the other. Though beautiful, on the surface there can be a perception that there is not much life in this type of ecosystem. Actually, sagebrush seas are resilient and teaming with life and provide critical habitat for a variety of species including big game, songbirds, sage-grouse and other sagebrush dependent species. But invasive annual grasses and western juniper present challenges to the health of this landscape. READ MORE.

Pictured: Sunrise over some of the sagebrush sea of Southeast Oregon. Photo by Brandon McMullen. 

A Focus on Youth Opportunity

Partners and supporters of youth programs in Harney County gathered on September 29-30 for the first Youth Summit. When the Youth Changing the Community Collaborative of HDP considered students and young people in Harney County, it was apparent that some great things were happening and it was time to recognize them. More than 70 people ranging in age from 2-80 gathered at the Sage Country Inn for a Thursday evening dinner under the stars. This celebration piece of the event welcomed families, and partner/funders from out of the area. Table topics were suggested and discussion lingered into the night. The Summit kicked off the next day at the Historic Central Hotel in downtown Burns. Four facilitated sessions included: Making Business Work, Makers and Creators, Serving the Community and Opportunities in the Field. Each session was uniquely structured to reflect the subject area and many participants shared their history as a local who returned home to establish a career and a life. Each group explored ideas for the community to encourage and enable youth to return to the rural lifestyle. Multiple opportunities were provided for attendees to network in person and to explore common ground with those we have not seen face to face in far too long. 
The Summit created a place for this communication and our hope is that the connections made turn into long lasting relationships that create new and better opportunities for youth in Harney County. In the near future, as the Youth Changing the Collaborative planning process kicks in this fall, much of what was heard at the Summit, will be considered and discussed.
Photo by Brandon McMullen.
Social, economic, ecological. Social, economic, ecological. Social, economic, ecological. The three legged stool of HDP collaboration that has evolved the last 15 years.

HDP collaboration began with a focus on land based issues and opportunities. Over time, over lots of conversations and lots of cups of coffee, conversations about natural resources evolved to include how decisions about natural resource management impact the community (social) and livelihoods (economic) in Harney County. As a result, the Youth Changing the Community Collaborative and the Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative developed and are dedicated to community and economic wellbeing of the region.

A great example of social, economic and ecological impact of collaboration, the High Desert Biomass Cooperative.
  • Small diameter trees are harvested from the Malheur National Forest reducing fire fuels and improving the wildfire resilience of the forest. Ecological impact.
  • People are needed for this timber harvesting which means job creation. Economic impact.
  • This timber is then used in the biomass facility to heat multiple facilities in Harney County. Social impact.
Photos by Brandon McMullen taken during the very recent Youth Summit.
 2022 Upcoming Events 
Wednesday, October 19 High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Monday, October 17 Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative Meeting
Tuesday, October 25 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, November 16 High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Tuesday, November 15 Harney County Wildfire Collaborative Meeting
Tuesday, November 29 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting
Tuesday, December 12 Malheur National Wildfire Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan Collaborative Meeting
Wednesday, December 21 High Desert Partnership Board Meeting
Tuesday, December 27 Biz Harney Opportunity Collaborative Meeting

Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative and

Reviving Malheur Lake

Harney County Wildfire Collaborative and
Megafire Prevention

Harney Basin Wetlands Collaborative and
Wild Flood Irrigation

Six Collaboratives Supported By

High Desert Partnership

HDP Website
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