Category: Ecological Research
Title: White Mountains Stewardship Project: Evaluating the Impacts of the Nation’s First Long-term Stewardship Contract.
Author: Hurteau, S.R.
Subject: White Mountains
Abstract: Trying to pinpoint the “beginning” of the White Mountain Stewardship Project (WMSP) is in itself a challenge. Clearly the contract signing in 2004 was the official start, but there was a long history of collaboration that came before, leading to that very moment. What began as an attempt to change the potential fire behavior around communities evolved into the largest and longest national example of how various interests, businesses, communities, and the federal government demonstrated that they can work together to improve local economies, enhance wildlife habitat, and restore forest health using a variety of treatments. Early into its path, the WMSP was charting its own course. It was the first long-term stewardship contract in the nation. A contract with an unwritten agreement of a diameter cap. A contract predicated on expanding the scale and pace of forest treatments with only a handful of industry professionals to make it happen. All with limited funds in the USFS Southwestern Region (R-3) that were shuffled to one forest to essentially conduct a very large, very expensive experiment. The first five years were a time of trust building, experimentation, learning, and moving past buzz words and theoretical ideas to translate those into on-the-ground accomplishments. With a goal of treating at least 50,000 and up to 150,000 acres of forested land, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs), their partners, contractor, and collaborative board really had their work cut out for them. They set monitoring questions and data collection targets, and embraced the adaptive management cycle. The Five Year Report provided a summary of monitoring data at a critical time. There was still enough time in the contract to adjust the trajectories that weren’t heading in the right direction and to solidify those that were. There were many, many lessons learned, and even more recommendations. Some of these recommendations were heeded, while others were missed.
Source: Integrated Biological Solutions, LLC
Publisher: Integrated Biological Solutions