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Collaborative efforts net greater understanding for future responses to wildfire in Oregon
The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) president, Curtis Martin, formally wrapped up the work of RESTOR, an OCA-created collaborative effort to respond to the devastating wildfires in Oregon this past summer that caused significant damage to grazing lands, ranch land and infrastructure.
The RESTOR Task Force was formed to gather information from impacted livestock producers and surrounding communities, provide assistance and education and build understanding and awareness regarding wildfire impacts to public and private lands in Eastern Oregon.
Curtis Martin, OCA president, stated, “The OCA applauds the work of the RESTOR Task Force. It is the intention of the OCA to continue building on the conversations and collaboration that began during the work of RESTOR that will continue to enhance communication and work towards policies to support flexible and adaptive management for both ranchers and land management agencies.”
The task force was comprised of representatives from the cattle industry, leaders of federal land management agencies, rangeland science, office of the governor and other stakeholders. The task force facilitated listening sessions in affected communities, emergency hay deliveries to fire-affected ranchers, compilation of information and findings from listening sessions to help frame long-term conversation regarding restoration seeding, post-fire livestock management and improved wildfire emergency communications. As a result of the work of RESTOR, two more rural fire protection districts have been created, plans for increasing fire equipment available to rural districts are in place and strategies are being created to improve communications between land management agencies, public land grazing permitees and other private landowners before, during, and after wildfire season.
“The work of the RESTOR Task Force members demonstrates that collaborative thinking and working together can bring about positive and important outcomes to critical issues such as wildfire, maintaining healthy high desert plants, protecting wildlife, and providing flexibility to our livestock communities. We were able to put a framework in place to enable understanding, communication, and come up with innovative solutions among all those who love this land. We look forward to the work of the OCA in building on the findings of the task force moving forward,” commented Colby Marshall, RESTOR Task Force chair.
OCA will continue the conversation around key issues discussed in the RESTOR Task Force during upcoming meetings. For more information on findings from the RESTOR Task Force or future strategies for wildfire management and affects in ranch lands, contact Kay Teisl, OCA executive director, at 503-361-8941 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.