Sawdust flew Monday in the Ashland watershed as crews from the Lomakatsi Restoration Project started long-anticipated thinning work.

Sawdust flew Monday in the Ashland watershed as crews from the Lomakatsi Restoration Project started long-anticipated thinning work.

Some cut down small trees, while others cleared vines, brush and other flammable materials around larger trees.

The Lomakatsi workers were on the first day of on-the-ground work for the 7,600-acre Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project.

Subcontractors and workers from Lomakatsi — a nonprofit, Ashland-based ecological restoration organization — will spend the next decade thinning flammable materials in the Ashland watershed and neighboring watersheds on U.S. Forest Service land.

"We're doing fire risk reduction, but we're also doing restoration," said Nauth, Lomakatsi's workforce operations director

Thinning ground fuels around large madrone, pine and fir trees reduces competition for moisture and sunlight, encouraging the remaining trees to grow larger.

The city of Ashland partnered with the U.S. Forest Service, Lomakatsi and The Nature Conservancy, spending several years crafting an ecologically sensitive thinning project.

— Ashland Daily Tidings