As of Monday, November 20, 2017
GRANGEVILLE Forest health issues are driving two harvest projects on city-owned property south of town that were given the go-ahead by the council last week.
Of these, work alone on 35 acres near Fish Creek and the Sno-Drifters warming cabin is estimated to net the city more than $90,000.
At its Nov. 6 meeting, the Grangeville City Council approved contracting with Northwest Management of Moscow, which for about 30 years has overseen and advised on the property. Speaking for Northwest Management, Matt Engberg said the Fish Creek work would involve sanitation and salvage of dead and dying trees, which include grand and Douglas fir, spruce and western larch.
“This will open it up quite a bit,” he said.
Plans call for seed tree harvest of overstory trees to select the healthiest crop trees and species for regeneration, and thinning to preferred species and spacing post-harvest. Along with forest health, the work would remove thick undergrowth, allowing improved recreational access for the Sno-Drifters, and according to the proposal, it would make the property more resilient to wildfire.
Estimated harvest is 350 thousand board feet*. On an average delivered log price of $447 per MBF, estimated gross income would be $156,450, and with $66,000 in costs, estimated net income is $90,450.
The second work is on city watershed property, concentrating on removal of dead, dying and diseased trees.
“This would be a true maintenance, sanitation harvest,” said Tera King, Northwest Management, with Engberg saying, “There are a lot of diseases up there.”
Estimates on the work are pending, but the proposal stated it should still be a positive cash flow to the city.
“We’d like to move forward this late fall or winter with the log marking being very good,” Engberg said, on both projects.
Updating the council on prior watershed work, King said stand 5 within the watershed, planted in 2012, is “looking good…. We’ve got a good mix of larch, Douglas fir, natural spruces and lodgepole. In a few years, this will be visible from town again.”
To an inquiry by Councilor Beryl Grant on how Northwest Management is utilized by the city, Mayor Bruce Walker explained it has been a long-standing “gentleman’s agreement” they keep an eye on the property at no charge, with their fees coming from when the city formally contracts with them on management projects.
“In my estimation, it’s good for the city, and it’s good for them,” he said.
The city was planning to go with its normal harvest contractor on these projects, Jesse Geis, if available. Otherwise, Engberg said he would be contacting Mike Burell of Excell Logging & Forestry Inc., of Stites.
- (Editor's note: story has been edited to correct estimated harvest amount.)