All-Lands Partnerships in Southern-Central Oregon: Reporting Out From a Peer Learning Exchange

All-lands projects, which involve planning and implementation across landownership boundaries with multiple partners and landowners, are increasingly common. On May 1st, 2018, a peer learning exchange was held in Klamath Falls to bring together all-lands partners in Lake, Klamath, Jackson, and Josephine Counties. Over 60 participants representing a range of landowner, nonprofit organization, state and federal agency, private sector, and other perspectives attended. The purpose of the workshop was to:

·        Share specific activities, experiences, and lessons learned

·        Explore tools and ideas that improve the practice of all-lands management

·        Connect to a community of area practitioners and form new peer relationships

Meeting presentations and breakout sessions were provided on the following topics:

  • An overview of all-lands management: who, what, and why?
  • North Warners and Chiloquin Community Forest and Fire projects
  • Ashland Forest Resiliency project
  • Inventory and mapping methods
  • Neighborhood and smaller-scale efforts
  • Private landowner outreach including My Southern Oregon Woodland
  • Tools, funding, and mechanisms

Presenters, facilitators, and attendees were asked to discuss how they were accomplishing all-lands work and key lessons they were learning. Some of the theme, questions, and ideas shared included:

  • Strategic prioritization and landowner engagement: How do we balance prioritization (e.g., around ecological or fuels goals) with landowner involvement? What if the willing landowners are not in the priority landscapes? NRCS has some approaches in this vein including their Strategic Approach to Conservation, Long Range Plans, and Conservation Implementation Strategies. May also try using neighbors and social networks to try to branch into the priority areas.
  • Climate change: How can all-lands projects incorporate planning for probable climate futures, and frame forest resiliency and health in that context?
  • NEPA readiness: Choosing to do all-lands work in areas adjacent to federal planning areas where the environmental analysis process is done or nearly done can help ensure that projects are ripe, rather than subjecting partners and landowners to years of planning. Conversely, there could be opportunities for collaboration and co-development of priority landscapes and purposes if partnership begins earlier in or before the NEPA process.
  • Role of nonprofits: Nonprofit organizations such as watershed councils or community-based organizations can write, administer, and manage multiple grants with flexibility that other partners may not have. They may also be able to bring capacity for various aspects of planning and implementation that agencies can lack.
  • Workforce development aspects: All-lands projects should have an effort to train and develop local workforces. The economic and social aspects of doing so are important. Having multiple projects/locations to share the workforce helps sustain it and ensure its capacity is available.
  • The eight-step pathway: Parties in the Klamath-Lake Forest Health Partnership suggest an eight-step approach to designing and implementing all-lands projects. This is being published in an OSU Extension document in the fall of 2018.
  • Mixing and matching: Different sources of funding can be obtained and used strategically to match the personality of involved landowners.
  • Landowner outreach: All-lands projects appear to be fostering innovation in landowner outreach, including new efforts at segmentation, using social networks and media, approaches to mailings, and use of template binders and map books to delve into project opportunities and increase knowledge of the landscape. Examples include the My Southern Oregon Woodland effort.
  • Leadership: The importance of individual leaders or “champions” remains key to all-lands work. It is not institutionalized and is not given a particular job title. Bottlenecks may exist in middle levels of agencies that inhibit more of these efforts.

This meeting was planned and implemented by: Oregon State University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension, Oregon Department of Forestry, Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition, Oregon Forest Resources Institute, Fremont-Winema National Forest, and Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center.

Meeting materials will be available shortly. These include powerpoints that were given, results from a lessons learned exercise, and a list of attendees.