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NWW: Dworshak Forest Management Partnership


Lake: Dworshak Dam & Reservoir, ID

Partners: USACE; Clearwater National Forest; Potlatch; Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP)

Corps POC: Russ Davis, Wildlife Biologist

Story: Historically, lightning-caused fires created a diverse ecosystem that included Ponderosa Pine habitat around Dworshak Reservoir in Idaho. Without these frequent, low-intensity fires, timber stands have become dense and stressed as individual trees compete for water, sun, and nutrients. The result is trees that are more susceptible to beetle infestation, disease, and damaging hot fires. Also species such as Douglas fir begin to encroach on this unique pine habitat. Potlatch Corporation, the Clearwater National Forest, and the Corps are seeking to restore the natural ecosystem at Dworshak by using selective tree thinning and prescribed fire on 1,300 acres of land. The management plan prioritizes protection of threatened and endangered species, wildlife, fisheries, water quality, visual aesthetics, recreation, snag management, and protection of cultural and historic features surrounding the 54-mile-long reservoir. Also consulted in the implementation of this effort are the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project (ICBEMP), Idaho Forest Practices Act, USDA Forest Service Best Management Practices, and the Inland Native Fish Strategy. Dworshak Dam is the highest straight-axis gravity dam in North America at 717 feet and the site of the largest steelhead trout hatchery in the world.

What our partners are saying: "The US Army Corps of Engineers here at Dworshak Reservoir have taken a bold step in restoring the ecological health of low elevation Ponderosa pine habitat. The proposed project will benefit many wildlife species especially wintering elk and deer by maintaining the larger mature pine and removing the younger trees. After harvest the project calls for using prescribed fire to further reduce fuel loadings and restore natural processes. Implementing this phase of the project will require special cooperative measures in order to protect adjacent private lands. Hopefully, the efforts of Corps staff at Dworshak will serve as a model for other land owners and agencies managers to follow." - Dan Davis, Forest Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Forest Service.

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