Biomass Application to Begin on Pole Creek Fire Area

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The Forest Service intends to begin spreading biomass (i.e. wood chips and shreds) this week in the Pole Creek Fire Area on the Sisters Ranger District. The work will be accomplished via helicopter, and will take place along Pole Creek and Snow Creek.

Water quality is at risk after wildfire. When vegetation is burned off slopes it creates the potential for soil erosion, which can then deposit sediments into adjacent lakes and streams. Even before the Pole Creek Fire was contained, a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team was called in to assess potential areas of concern, and develop mitigation strategies to minimize the impacts of erosion.

According to Rob Tanner, BAER Coordinator for the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, the primary objective of this project is to mitigate potential erosion concerns on steep slopes that burned with high intensity and severity.

Tanner says “Minimizing erosion is important to protect several values within and adjacent to the burned area including water quality, aquatic species, private agricultural water rights, and the back-up municipal water source for the City of Sisters.”

‘Heli-mulching’ will take place on approximately 75 acres along Pole Creek and Snow Creek, which are both tributaries to Whychus Creek. Weather permitting, the work is anticipated to begin on Monday, June 24 and may continue through July 3. The project location is approximately 10 miles southwest of Sisters. Contractors will stage their equipment and perform operations from both the Upper Three Creek Snopark on Forest Road 16 and the 1526-190 Road Borrow Pit.

No road closures are planned, however flaggers will be in place and used as needed on Forest Road 16. Affected side roads and trails will be signed to alert the public. Horse users and other recreationists should be aware that the helicopter will periodically be flying over the Metolius-Windigo Trail during operations.

If you have questions regarding this work, please contact Rob Tanner at 541-383-5566.

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