Long-delayed forest thinning on city-owned land in the Ashland Watershed in Ashland, Oregon is moving forward thanks to grant funding, an improved market for timber, and a neighboring thinning project on U.S. Forest Service land.

Back in 2009, the Ashland City Council approved a plan to thin wildfire fuels on the 160-acre Winburn Parcel, an island of city property in the middle of U.S. Forest Service land that makes up most of the watershed.

On Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a contract of up to $335,000 for Columbia Helicopters to remove thinned trees from the site.

Trees will likely be cut in March, with helicopter removal in April, said Ashland Fire & Rescue Forestry Division Chief Chris Chambers.

Columbia Helicopters is also doing work on the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project, a multi-year effort to thin thousands of acres of Forest Service land in the watershed. That project is a partnership between the Forest Service, the city and The Nature Conservancy.

From The Mail Tribune: http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130223/NEWS/302230314