Each year the North Fork John Day Watershed Council Summer Youth Program grows and improves! The summer of 2016 marks a milestone for participation and accomplishments. This is best illustrated in knowing that partners expected this summer’s crews to complete 7 miles of recreational trail rehabilitation. With great crew leaders and determined, hard-working youth, they completed 112 miles! Our Grant County kids rock!
Projects this summer were diverse and included a lot of cleanup work to rehabilitate resources burned in the 2015 fires. In addition, some of the crews built brand new fencing on the Malheur National Forest to keep domestic livestock out of sensitive aspen stands. Others repaired older woven wire fences that exclude browsing on sensitive species. The crews eradicated weeds from several sites and maintained recreational trails. Streambanks near threatened bull trout habitat were treated. Old fences were removed from the landscape to prevent life-threatening tangling situations for wildlife. Students also were engaged in data collection for research using state-of-the-art acoustic monitoring equipment to track birds and bats. They also collected monitoring data on invasive weeds. Additional projects included installation of bird houses and public presentations at the County fair. Two crews spent the entire summer dedicated to major meadow restoration where they worked tirelessly to restore the meadow floodplain. Some crews re-lined a washed-out culvert and performed forest thinning operations. One crew even had a chance to re-habilitate a remote emergency heliport pad. Every crew had an opportunity to participate in a fish salvage operation prior to in-stream restoration construction. Each year, this is a favorite activity of all crew members.
In the summer of 2016, the North Fork John Day Watershed Council added a special program for older and experienced crew participants. The Council established 2 new crews that were provided with technical skills training. The participants in these crews received USFS chainsaw training and each person became a certified sawyer. Each also received first aid training and certification allowing them to move on to be crew leaders in future years. These crews were invaluable in serving our partners with high-level services. The technical crews hiked weekly into the site of the 2015 Canyon Creek Fire Complex where they helped fell hazard trees and removed debris along recreation trails that had been impacted by the fire. Crews were also dispatched to restore habitat and maintain public land at the Big Mosquito project at the north end of Grant County. There they place woody material into several miles of incised stream channels.
Overall, 12 crews employing 60 youth and six crew leaders have contributed to the ecosystem health of the Blue Mountains. Each youth is paid hourly wages for their labors, learns new skills, and gets job training. WE ARE EXTREMELY PROUD OF OUR YOUNG EMPLOYEES!
In 2016, we had a very special opportunity for rural kids. The KEEN CORPORATION donated work boots to all of our 4-week crew participants!
The Watershed Council is deeply grateful to all the people and organizations that help fund this program and create extraordinary opportunities for Grant County youth while, at the same time, improving our lovely, local landscape! Funders and contributors who help make this program possible include:
Bill Healy Foundation
City of Long Creek
Desolation Creek, LLC
Diack Science Foundation
East Cascades Audubon
Ecotrust Forest Management
Gray Family Foundation
National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
Oregon Community Foundation
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board
Oregon Youth Conservation Corps
Ritter Hot Springs
Title II program
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
Many caring and dedicated individuals in Grant County!
Copyright © 2017 North Fork John Day Watershed Council