Cow Creek’s ‘Vital Partnership’ with Umpqua National Forest Featured in Congressional Hearing

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians was recently highlighted as a national example of implementing successful and collaborative forest management practices in a congressional hearing.

At a May meeting of the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Forestry called, “To Review the National Forest System: Supporting Forest Health and Confronting the Wildfire Crisis,” the Chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Forest Service said Cow Creek is doing meaningful work on forest health rehabilitation in Southern Oregon.

“In one noteworthy example, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians and the Umpqua National Forest in Oregon signed one of the largest of all Forest Service TFPA (Tribal Forest Protection Act) proposals, and the largest Forest Service self-determination agreement to date, to reduce fuels in strategically important areas of NFS (National Forest Service) lands that border tribal lands, the wildland urban interface, and private property,” said Randy Moore, USDA Chief.

Moore went on to say that both Cow Creek and the Umpqua National Forest are particularly focused on reducing catastrophic wildfire risk.

“This collaborative work will simultaneously reduce fuel concentrations enough to enable firefighters to use treatment areas as potential control lines in the event of future wildfires and reduce the severity and intensity of fire in the treated areas,” he said.

Representative Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon’s 5th District also commented that the work is vital to improving forest health.

“In your testimony, you discussed your staff’s work with Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians on a Tribal Forest Protection Act proposal and Self-Determination Agreement. This agreement’s goal is to reduce hazardous fuels on national forest system lands that border, tribal lands, and private property. I do appreciate this vital partnership to reduce wildfire risk, but it’s clear we really do need to do more,” said Rep. DeRemer.

Moore said that partnership between Cow Creek and the Umpqua National Forest is a model that can work for multiple agencies with a common goal.

“No matter what state you go in, whether it’s Oregon or whether it’s any other state, what you’ll find is that we have all agreed on one thing, and that is working across boundaries if we’re going to make a difference. And that goes back to ‘All Lands, All Hands’ approach to try and address some of these significant issues that we have on the landscape,” he said.