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Be sure to check back regularly to get our latest news updates.

In places where social distancing was already a way of life, the pandemic has begun to reshape the economy.

Local teens from Harney County’s Mentor Match Youth Entrepreneur Program traveled to Baker City March 6 to participate in the “First Ever Rural Teen Entrepreneur Summit.” The Summit brought together three teens from Harney County, and five teens from Wallowa County. Both groups are part of the Mentor Match Youth Entrepreneur Program, sponsored locally by High Desert Partnership under Executive Director Brenda Smith.

Lessons learned from High Desert Partnership about working together to find common ground.

High Desert Partnership collaboratives are working to create economic opportunity, promote healthy lands and waters, and ensure Harney County’s rural way of life endures for generations to come. This article shares High Desert Partnership's secret sauce of how people work together to find common ground.

Student entrepreneurs from Baker, Harney and Wallowa counties gathered for the first Youth Entrepreneurship Summit Friday at the Hatch Lab in Baker City

High Desert Partnership awarded $70,000 through Business Oregon and their Rural Development Initiative program.

Harney County residents have been aware for a number of years that there are places in the county where groundwater levels have dropped. Some residents are having to dig deeper or drill new wells to access water.

The groundwater problem has been more than a decade in the making. As the results from a multi-year groundwater study become available from the Oregon Water Resources Department and the United States Geological Survey, residents are learning more about the unique geology and the basin water budget and what it might mean for the future of groundwater use in the basin.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, 21 participants and nine volunteers braved the snow and cold to participate in Harney County’s First Christmas Bird Count for Kids (CBC4Kids). Three hardy teams counted birds in assigned neighborhoods of Burns and Hines.

Collaboration is positively changing how we prevent fires, how we manage fires when they do happen and how we restore the landscape following fires. This recent article from the Associated Press and carried by the Albany Democrat-Herald looks at a study out of Oregon State University by lead author Emily Jane Davis about how Rangeland Fire Protection Associations have had a positive impact for communities like ours in Harney County. Click the headline above to read the article.

The culture of Harney County has been described as “full-contact citizenship,” as people of this county put in time and effort every day to make Harney County a place we’re all proud to call home. Our style of “full-contact citizenship” is represented consistently through several collaborative efforts. Unless you’re directly involved or know someone who is, you may not even be aware of the important work these groups are doing in our community. Click the article title above to read more.

We historians are trained to look for contingency, for those moments when a different choice or action might have set history down a different course. But study Northwest timber country long enough and you start to lose sight of contingency. Forest debates have often been so fierce and so long lasting that it’s easy to forget that things might have gone another way. Click the headline above to read more.

Collaboration is the established way of doing business and building community in Harney County, and The Ford Family Foundation is supporting this culture through a three-year, $300,000 community building grant awarded to High Desert Partnership. Click the headline above to read more.

Collaboration is the established way of doing business and building community in Harney County, and The Ford Family Foundation is supporting this culture through a three-year, $300,000 community-building grant awarded to High Desert Partnership. Click the headline above to read more.

Collaboration is the established way of doing business and building community in Harney County and The Ford Family Foundation is supporting this culture through a 3 year, $300,000 community building grant awarded to High Desert Partnership. Click the link above to read more.

With over 70 percent government-owned and -managed land, Harney County is no stranger to disputes between ranchers, federal wildlife employees, and environmentalists. In many ways, the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (MNWR) by Ammon Bundy and his followers was the culmination of years of conflict and seemingly nonstop litigation. However, that national news story obscured the more important local story of how people in Harney County have been working to successfully resolve conflicts through collaborations like the High Desert Partnership. Click the title above to read more.

"In the opening pages of his book, Walker announces his goal to be showing how Harney County, faced with a divisive invasion, chose not to fall on its own knives. Instead, residents elected "sagebrush collaboration." It was also the author's goal to attempt "to explain how and why Harney County made that decision." He has achieved those helpful purposes -- and more." ~Richard W. Etulain

On the night of Jan. 26, 2016, Brenda Smith was nearing the end of a six-hour drive home from the Portland area to Burns, in Harney County, Oregon, basking in the knowledge that her scrappy nonprofit had just won a $6 million grant. The High Desert Partnership helps locals collaborate on natural resource management, and this was by far the biggest grant it had ever received. Read more . . .

Youth Changing The Community's skate park project is moving right along. Learn more about how the project is progressing in this Burns Times-Herald article.

This article focuses on Forest Service land in Arizona, but it speaks to the universal challenges that face prescribed fire despite the many benefits to the landscape.

In 2014, Harney County Restoration Collaborative held a science and economic summit, and one of the outcomes was the development of a biomass district heating system that could be used by local facilities in Burns. The system not only reduces green house gas emissions, but also uses low-value forest residuals that are generated from local restoration projects. A few days ago, the system became community owned! Check out the article below to learn more about this awesome biomass system.

In the 1930s the Forest Service took panoramic photos from every fire lookout in Oregon and Washington. The project's goal was to increase the effectiveness of fire suppression by providing a communication aid between fire lookouts and ranger stations. Now over 80 years later the photos are an invaluable record of the effects of management on ecosystems across the Pacific Northwest. Several of these fire lookouts are located on the southern Malheur National Forest. These fascinating photos provide a great perspective on how fire suppression has changed the landscape. Check them out!

We recently received a generous donation from Rita Poe, that will support the work of Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Rita's generous donation to Malheur and other public lands will allow future generations to enjoy the places she cherished. You can read Rita's interesting story below.

Iron Triangle, a Harney County Restoration Collaborative partner, is opening two new facilities in John Day and Seneca and will create at least 10 new jobs. The facilities will utilize low-value vegetation from the Malheur National Forest. Initially the facilities will produce posts, poles and chips, but may eventually manufacture torrefied products

This 60 Minutes piece highlights some of the same points that Dr. Hessburg brought up in his Era of Megafires presentation in April. You can watch the video or read it as an article!

Thinning trees can be very beneficial. Read to learn more.

Great news for forest restoration efforts across the state of Oregon! The new bill will create value for the woody biomass currently being created through restoration projects.

Hot off the press! Our executive director Brenda Smith and newest board member Dan Nichols are in this article about public lands in the New York Times. Check it out!

On a recent visit to Harney County Oregon Governor Kate Brown met with our board members and participated in the youth initiative meeting being held that day. Amanda Preacher with Oregon Public Broadcasting covered Governor Brown's visit. You can listen to the story by clicking on the link above.

This article written by Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative (HBWI) partner Chris Colson discusses the benefits of flood irrigation for both birds and ranchers. Chris works with ranchers to help improve flood irrigation infrastructure in Harney Basin, which has been identified as a priority by HBWI partners. This article will give you perspective on why we believe flood irrigation is so important for the basin and its inhabitants.

In November, an Alaska Airlines flight flew from Seattle to Washington D.C. using 20% renewable biofuel made from forest byproducts in the Pacific Northwest. If this biofuel can continue to be developed and obtained at a lower cost, it has the potential to lower greenhouse gas emissions from flights significantly.

The NEPA process can be long and complex. This article does a good job explaining NEPA in simple terms. It also discusses an effort by the Ochoco, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests to expand forest restoration efforts. The current rate of forest restoration isn't sufficient on many forests to keep up with forest growth and adequately decrease the risk of large, destructive fires. If successful, this could become a model that other forests use to increase the rate and scale of restoration.

Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, could help struggling forest communities across the United States. Harney County Restoration Collaborative partner D.R. Johnson is one of two companies in the US making this product currently. Read the article to learn about the challenges facing and exciting possibilities of their timber product.

A newly published study examined more than 400 years’ worth of information on wildfire behavior in the Sierra Nevada and compared it with temperature and moisture data. But it turned out that climate was not the biggest influencer of fire behavior.

Months after the Bundy insurrection rocked Harney County, Oregon, a group of local residents is trying to heal the community and overcome the American West’s long history of land-use conflict. Their secret: Bring cowboys and conservationists together.

This fall partners from the Harney County Restoration Collaborative and Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative worked together for two days to eradicate carp from the tributaries of Malheur Lake. Click on the link above to read more about the experience.

Our board members are always improving themselves, which improves our organization. Board member Kathy Rementeria recently completed a three day course that will bring more knowledge and insight to our organization.

Our communications coordinator will be attending a two day training this weekend on collaboration and facilitation. Read to find out more.

The Forest Service silverculturist is leaving, but his impact will be lasting.

Jack Southworth, facilitator for the Harney County Restoration Collaborative, received a prestigious award from the Forest Service National External Range Management Award. His ranch, Southworth Brothers Ranch, was nominated for their "continued commitment to sound management, their passion for public rangelands, and their involvement in the numerous different public projects." Read the article below from the Blue Mountain Eagle to learn more about the Southworth's ranch and their commitment to sustainability!

NPR's EarthFix created a short video about what led to the creation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge: bird plumage!

An interesting read shared by Intermountain West Joint Venture, one of our partners in the Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative (HBWI). One of HBWI's goals is to enhance wetlands in Harney Basin through flood irrigation.

This article discusses how the Harney Basin Wetlands Initiative came to exist and the work being done to improve waterbird habitat.

"The Resilient Federal Forests Act would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to transfer disaster funding to the Forest Service and BLM when they have exhausted their firefighting budgets, rather than borrow the money from other programs. The bill would also expedite forest thinning projects up to 15,000 acres if they are planned by collaborative groups."

A win-win for forest collaboration if this bill is passed!

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell discusses collaborative efforts in the west, particularly those involving sage grouse, and references the High Desert Partnership has "a 'model' for how things should work." Exciting to be cited by Sally Jewell for our work!

Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge grabbed headlines earlier this year when it was seized by armed militants protesting federal control of local lands. But for the past decade, some local ranchers have been striving to find common ground with environmental groups and refuge officials, and important strides have been made for birds and cows. Special correspondent Cat Wise reports.

Restoration Field Tour with USDA undersecretary and the USFS regional forester

Robert Bonnie, USDA undersecretary, and Jim Pena, Forest Service regional forester, met with Emigrant Creek Ranger District employees, county officials, and the High Desert Partnership to see the restoration work on the southern Malheur Forest that has resulted from the efforts of the Harney County Restoration Collaborative. The group spent half of a day driving around to different restoration areas on the southern Malheur Forest. See photos from the tour in our photo gallery.

A story produced by KOIN 6 featuring our executive director and board members.

Land management professionals from around the world will be visiting the Malheur National Forest in May as part of the International Seminar on Forest Landscape Restoration. Jack Southworth, the facilitator for Harney County Restoration Collaboration, will be presenting to the group to share the experiences and successes of HCRC over the past 8 years.

Oregon is thought of as an ideal location to study land management because it provides examples of long-term restoration projects across a mosaic of land uses, that cover a wide range of ecosystem services and bring together diverse and sometimes conflicting interest groups. You can find out more about the seminar below.