Many in Northeast Washington agree that proactive management is necessary to restore the health of our overstocked forests and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Nowhere is that agreement more evident than on the Colville National Forest. Thanks to a collaborative effort among diverse interests, a unique public-private partnership was formed to help thin the forest, restore streams to improve water quality and repair washed-out roads in the Mill Creek watershed.
Unfortunately, an outside group from Montana has filed a lawsuit to stop the plan, highlighting the need for Congress to protect forest health projects that are developed and supported by local forest collaboratives.
Such collaborative efforts are essential because as many as 80 million acres of federal forest land is vulnerable to wildfire, insects and disease. Due to current federal policies and chronic budget shortfalls, the U.S. Forest Service is capable of restoring only a fraction of these forests back to health.