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Forest officials seek 'innovative' projects

Nearly half a million dollars will be available next year for public-recommended enhancement projects on national forest land in Jackson County.

Some $220,000 is expected in 2009 for similar projects on national forest land in Josephine County.

The Title II funding is the result of the October reauthorization by Congress of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000.

As a result of the legislation, the U.S. Forest Service is now looking for recommendations for proposed projects on the Rogue River-Siskiyou and the Umpqua national forests for 2009. The projects could include anything that would improve forest lands, from battling noxious weeds to watershed improvement, officials said.

Deadline for submitting proposals is Feb. 2.

"We're looking for innovative projects," said Patty Burel, spokeswoman for the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. "We always get a variety of proposed projects. Anything that will enhance and improve public lands has the potential for approval."

In addition to seeking projects on national forest land, the agency is looking for others on adjacent nonfederal land that would benefit resources on national forest land, she said.

Each project will be reviewed by either the Siskiyou Resource Advisory Committee or the Rogue-Umpqua Resource Advisory Committee. Each committee, composed of 15 volunteer members representing a broad spectrum of society, will make recommendations in early March.

In addition to the $462,000 for national forest lands in Jackson County, the Rogue-Umpqua RAC also oversees funding earmarked for national forest lands in Klamath, Douglas and Lane counties.

In addition to the $220,000 for federal forest lands in Josephine County, the Siskiyou RAC will oversee $103,000 for Title II projects in Curry County and $52,000 in Coos County, Burel said.

The agency plans to hold public workshops in January for anyone interested in making a proposal.

"The workshops will help them in preparing an application," Burel said. "We'll also explain how the funding will come to them."

For additional information, contact Paul Galloway at 471-6755 or Kim Hunter at 247-3636.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.