The wildfires that struck our community will forever be burned into our memories.
The smoke, red sky, and walls of flames were terrors to confront. Our hearts go out to those who are still affected by the destruction, especially those who have lost their homes and continue to be displaced.
As a watershed organization, we are not experts on fire, but the Clackamas River Basin Council has many other areas of expertise that we can offer to our community.
During the fires, we leveraged our communication networks to help get important information out to our followers. We continue to update our database of fire information resources, sharing as best we can all of the research weíve done to learn how to manage post-fire landscapes.
We also have a long track record of managing environmental engineering projects. In our work to restore our watershed, we have collaborated with foresters, heavy construction crews, biologists and private landowners. As we continue to identify opportunities, we promise to do our best to help direct resources for our communityís fire recovery.
One of the best things to do after a fire is to help the forest recover. Trees help prevent erosion and check the post-fire succession of invasive weeds that can get out of control. Burned forests can become shrublands more prone to fire in the future. We need our forests to provide habitat for the wildlife we all love.
And of course, our PNW rainforests define us. Many of us choose to live in the region for the expansive forests of green, the fresh air, and the solace we find when retreating into the woods.
We must acknowledge that each summer the threat will grow, and fires will force us away, fleeing the smoke to return to expanses of blackened landscapes.
Although fire is natural, the future fire regime we face will be unnaturally fierce. Weather trends will bring us more irregularities in precipitation. We will have more frequent droughts that dry out our forests and make them more exposed to fire risk. We will also have wetter Spring seasons that propel the growth of grasses and shrubs, creating more flashy fuels to burn when theyíve dried by August. These climatic changes encourage fires that are larger in scope and of greater intensity. The fires of our future climate – like this yearís massive Riverside, Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires – will not be regenerative for the landscape. They will be destructive. Our forests will require assistance to return.
We will have to manage our forests to reduce fire risk, manage them to adapt, and manage them to survive.
We are fortunate in Oregon to have a proud tradition of forestry. While our scientists, timber crews and caring citizens develop new solutions to protect our forests, we do know we have a clear path: we must plant more trees.
For the Clackamas River Basin Council, restoring our native forests is one of our most important areas of expertise. We have been working with landowners across the watershed to Shade Our Streams, planting trees to restore over 31 miles of riparian forests (more on that program on page 3).
Now, we are launching a new initiative to help our community recover from the wildfires. We are calling upon you to Replant the Riverside.
In our campaign, “Replant the Riverside: 10 Trees for the Clackamas,’ we are asking you to do three things:
1) Donate $10. That covers the costs of purchasing a seedling and treating a plantation site for 5 years so that our seedlings get established and outcompete weeds.
2) Tag 10 friends on social media to donate too. Please help us spread the word and get the call out to our community, like spreading seeds in the wind.
3) Help us plant these trees. We will gather to plant the trees when it is seasonally appropriate for planting. We hope to gather in late January, public health ordinances permitting.
Together we can help our forests heal. Please consider donating to Replant the Riverside. Thank you.
To donate to Replant the Riverside go to: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=BLN3B3Z3LHZDE
You can also send us a check: PO Box 1869, Clackamas, OR 97015
or call our office so we can take your info: 503.303.4372 x106