Missoula, Mont., September 27, 2018 – The State of Montana, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, opened bids on the Boulder Lowlands II Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) Timber Sale today as part of a growing state-federal partnership to increase management activities and restoration outcomes on federal lands in Montana.
Sun Mountain Lumber submitted the winning bid to purchase the sale located north of Butte in Jefferson County. Approximately 2.25 million board feet of dead and dying lodgepole pine from 375 acres will be removed within the Boulder Lowlands II project area. Benefits of this forest restoration project include: decrease in wildfire intensity and severity; increase in safety to adjacent landowners and firefighters; and a forest with more age diversity and resilience to future insect and disease outbreaks.
The Boulder Lowlands project will result in approximately $395,000 dollars available for investments into other restorations activities such as hazardous fuels reduction, aspen restoration, weed spraying, and stream improvement projects.
This is the first time the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) has used federal authority to oversee the harvest of federal timber. The DNRC and the Northern Region of the Forest Service have more GNA projects scheduled for the future and are working to establish a robust program of work to fully utilize GNA in the state of Montana.
“GNA allows the State, Forest Service, and outside partners to align objectives to improve forest health, reduce wildfire threats to communities, create jobs, and produce economic benefits from Montana’s National Forests. The Boulder Lowlands project is an outstanding first step in utilizing GNA to reach these goals,” states Sonya Germann, DNRC Forestry Division Administrator.
“We recognize the need and benefits of resource and vegetation management on all lands,” states Melany Glossa, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest Supervisor. “I am very proud of the foresight and collaboration of employees on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and the MT Department of Natural Resources and Conservation as they forged the way for this and future collaborative efforts to advance restoration work on the ground across the state. GNA added the needed capacity to get this project done ahead of schedule.”
Boulder Lowlands II is part of the larger Boulder Lowlands Forest Service project that was collaboratively developed by the Beaverhead-Deerlodge Working Group. This working group is comprised of diverse stakeholders who seek to come to a consensus about forest projects on public lands. Under 2014 Farm Bill Insect and Disease Authorities, the working group identified the Boulder watershed to be included in Governor Bullocks request as a Priority Landscape designation, which was approved by the Chief of the Forest Service. The first Boulder Lowlands timber sale treated over 800 acres of mountain pine beetle impacted and wildland urban interface areas for a combined treatment of over 1,100 acres in this Priority Landscape.
Today’s timber sale and other GNA projects planned across Montana’s forests are the result of many years of hard work and commitment between the DNRC, U.S. Forest Service, local government, industry partners, conservation organizations, collaborative and watershed groups, and other partners.