Cooperatove Conservation Project

Building Collaborative Stewardship, North Fork Crooked River

Building capacity for collaborative stewardship

Location: Far West Region: Oregon

Project Summary: Project is a model for future efforts as partners work together to forestall lawsuits and establish improvements on private land as well as Federal.
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Mutual learning and joint fact finding support collaborative decision making
Resource Challenge

The North Fork Crooked River is located within Crook County, OR – a place where agriculture and natural resources are valued in the face of on-going demographic and economic transition.  Designated a National Wild and Scenic River (WSR) in 1988, the North Fork Crooked River has existing outstandingly remarkable scenic and botanical values as well as a sensitive species of frog and redband trout. Issues and concerns include: effects of de-watering (irrigation) and increased water temperature (303(d) list) on fish; grazing impacts and whether livestock grazing is a suitable use in WSR; strongly held values tied to the protection of historical grazing use and water rights; concern over upland condition with heavy concentration of small diameter trees; disparate opinions regarding restoration approaches; and inconsistent implementation of the 1993 interagency management plan.  With the proliferation of lawsuits regarding WSR management in Oregon , the Ochoco National Forest contacted the NRST to help them initiate a collaborative process to address the management of the North Fork Crooked River .

Examples of Key Partners

Principle partners: U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Crook County Natural Resources Planning Committee (CCNRPC), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), permittees, private landowners and managers, National Riparian Service Team (NRST) and members of the Riparian Coordination Network (RCN)

 Others involved: U.S. Fish and Wildlife,   OR Dept. of Agriculture, OR Dept. of Forestry, OR Dept. Fish and Wildlife, OR State University Extension Soil and Water Conservation Districts, interested citizens, county planners, Crooked River Watershed Council, Juniper Chapter of the Sierra Club, OR Fly Fishers, OR Natural Desert Association, and the Deschutes Resources Conservancy.



Results and Accomplishments

Pre-work - The Forest Service, CCNRPC and NRST  hosted a series of  meetings with principle partners and other interested parties to develop an inclusive  involvement strategy. A  situation assessment included a series of interviews conducted with key stakeholders  to get a sense of existing concerns and issues. Finally, an electronic communication network and website were created for interested parties who were unable to directly participate in the process.

 Creeks and Communities Workshop - Held on a Friday and Saturday to increase community involvement, a workshop was conducted to build a foundation of understanding based on riparian-wetland function and the Proper Functioning Condition (PFC) assessment method, and to create a common vocabulary while building relationships among diverse stakeholders.

 Community PFC Assessment (5 days, 20 stream miles) – An experienced interdisciplinary team and diverse stakeholders together assessed the NF Crooked River  and engaged in  facilitated discussions regarding     current condition, limiting factors and opportunities.

 Community Briefing – The PFC assessment results along with management and monitoring recommendations were presented to the community at an evening meeting providing a forum for questions and discussion 

 Outcomes - Individual and institutional capacity for collaborative stewardship were strengthened by providing training and mentoring opportunities in a “learn by doing” approach while working to resolve water and riparian issues on-the-ground.  Information gathered during the community assessment will be used for the next phase of collaboratively designing a management and monitoring strategy.  Participants’ efforts  to forestall lawsuits, potential improvements on private land as well as Federal, and a model for future efforts has been initiated.













“The outcomes are more than I had hoped for. The education, collaboration and joint assessments are a wonderful model.” Larry Timchak, Supervisor, Ochoco National Forest Supervisor

Project Contact
Janice Staats
National Riparian Service Team
3050 NE 3rd Street
Prineville, OR 97754
(541) 416-6891
Mike Lunn
Crook County Natural Resource Planning Committee
2400 Century Drive
Prineville, OR 97754
(541) 416-7671

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