The projects, which are funded by Title II dollars, are intended to enhance forest health

Secure Rural Schools dollars are often connected with county road departments or school districts, but those are not the only groups that benefit from them.

A portion of the money also goes toward Title II projects intended to improve forestland, and once again projects are sought that the funds will cover.

The Deschutes and Ochoco Title II Resource Advisory Committee is soliciting the projects, which must benefit national forestlands directly or indirectly. They can include forest ecosystem enhancement, the improvement and restoration of land health and water quality, or the maintenance of existing forest facilities.

“Of the projects that have been approved over the last four to five years, the focus areas are on invasive weeds,” said Ochoco National Forest Supervisor Kate Klein. “Control and education on prevention and management of invasive weeds is a huge issue for Crook, Wheeler, and Jefferson counties.”

While people may overlook or fail to recognize an invasive weed issue on the forest, Klein contends that it can cause critical issues if noxious vegetation is not controlled.

“They crowd out native plants,” she said. “They can adversely affect wildlife habitat as well as forage for livestock.”

Although invasive weeds programs have risen to the top in recent years, Klein noted that the Title II projects could cover a variety of forest issues.

“Another area that we do a lot of work, and I think it reflects our values in aquatic restoration as well as the communities, is the RAC grants have funded a lot of riparian and watershed restoration,” she said.

Typically, groups that successful secure a RAC grant represent established agencies, such as the Crooked River Watershed Council or the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council. However, that does not necessarily mean that individuals from the public couldn’t organize and submit a project for consideration.

“In competing for the RAC funds, the committee will look at whether the group brings a (money) match,” Klein said. “So that may limit some independent individuals or groups from submitting proposals, but certainly they can.”

For such groups, forming partnerships with other established organizations can improve their chances.

“To be competitive, generally it is important to show partners,” Klein said.

The deadline to submit a project proposal is May 5. After that deadline, RAC members, which are meant to represent a diverse cross-section of the public, vote on project recommendations and funding levels. Those decisions will then go to the designated forest official, Deschutes National Forest Supervisor John Allen, for final approval.

Project submission forms are available at under Quick Links, and can also be obtained at the Deschutes Headquarters, 63095 Deschutes Market Road, Bend. Send competed submission forms to Katrina Van Dis, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with a hard copy sent to COIC, Attn: Katrina Van Dis, 334 N.E. Hawthorne Ave., Bend OR 97701.

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