Friday, June 2, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will be investing $10 million from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to help increase fire resiliency and protect native vegetation on public lands in Oregon.

“Dynamic ecosystems have defined Oregon for ages, but with intensifying climate chaos, fires and other threats are putting Oregonians, our communities, and our natural treasures in danger,” said Senator Merkley, who pushed for this investment and chairs the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee. “Working together to make our lands and waters more resilient and healthier has never been more important. This federal investment will be used for collaborative efforts to help make our forests more resilient and conserve and restore Oregon’s important habitats, for the benefit of future generations.”  

“As summer approaches with its increased threat of wildfires, protecting Oregonians’ lives, homes, businesses and our unmatched outdoors from those destructive blazes is top-priority work,” Wyden said. “These federal funds from the Inflation Reduction Act I worked to pass into law take a significant step forward throughout southern Oregon to provide that protection and restore ecosystems. And I’ll keep battling to equip our entire state with similar resources.”

This funding is part of the BLM’s $161 million investment in ecosystem restoration and resilience on the nation’s public lands funded in the IRA. The investment will focus on 21 “Restoration Landscapes” across 11 western states, with two in Oregon, working to restore wildlife habitat and clean water on public lands and strengthening communities and local economies. 

Senators Merkley and Wyden pressed the Departments of Agriculture and Interior to prioritize these investments.

Information on the awards coming to Oregon can be found below:

  • Southwest Oregon Landscape Restoration Area: $5 million for aquatic restoration projects to focus on the threatened Oregon Coast Coho Salmon and other threatened species as well as forest resilience restoration projects.
  • Southeast Oregon Sagebrush Restoration landscape: $5 million for planting sagebrush, treating invasive or encroaching vegetation, promoting growth of native vegetation, and creating fuel breaks in uplands to restore habitat for hundreds of species.