(Salem, OR) — Governor Kitzhaber today announced the approval of a $50,000 grant from the Strategic Reserve Fund to help retain rural economy jobs with fencing repair, re-seeding and restoration research in areas affected by the southeastern Oregon wildfires of 2012. The Strategic Reserve Fund grant matches an earlier Oregon Emergency Board grant provided through the Oregon Department of Agriculture, for a total of $100,000.
"Oregon’s economic recovery won’t be complete until it reaches every corner of the state and includes a strong and vibrant rural economy," said Governor Kitzhaber. "As Southeastern Oregon recovers from the fires of 2012, these funds will directly assist landowners with essential repairs and help regenerate the grasses that are essential to grazing."
In July 2012, the Long Draw Fire, the Miller Homestead Fire and the Hollaway Fire burned nearly a million acres in southeastern Oregon, the state’s largest wildfire blaze in more than a century. Forty property owners were left with approximately 90 miles of damaged fencing and a large number of acres needing re-seeding.
Of the $100,000 in total grant funds, 70 percent will be used for fencing repair and re-seeding. The remaining 30 percent will go toward research to improve the regenerative success of perennial grasses used for livestock grazing. The total production value of cattle and calves in Oregon for 2011 topped $600 million.
"Oregon Cattlemen's Association is very appreciative of the Governor's office and Oregon Department of Agriculture realizing the devastating impact to not only livestock producers, but the financial strain to Oregon's rural communities," said Curtis Martin, President of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. "The efforts of Governor Kitzhaber and Director of Agriculture Katy Coba to assist economically in both job creation and continuing the rangeland research for ecosystem health, will greatly benefit the rebuilding of our landscape infrastructure. The ongoing research will help in implementing management strategies to reduce future threats of wildfire, while maximizing the positive aspects of healthy, working rangeland ecosystems."
In response to the fires, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association formed the RESTOR Task Force, comprised of representatives from the Governor’s Eastern Oregon Regional Solutions Team, the Bureau of Land Management, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Agricultural Research Service. Along with organizing a Victim’s Relief Fund, the Task Force identified long-term solutions for restoration seeding and post-fire livestock management and solutions to enhance communications between firefighters and communities during future fires.
Tim Raphael, 503-689-6117
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324