Washington's Colville National Forest awards US$30M 10-year stewardship contract to Vaagen Brothers Lumber covering 54,000 acres; landscape-scale treatments will include removal of timber, biomass, creating local forestry, processing jobs

COLVILLE, Washington , September 18, 2013 (press release) – The Colville National Forest announced today the awarding of a 10-year stewardship contract worth up to $30 million.

The Integrated Resource Service Contract (IRSC) was awarded to Vaagen Brothers. Lumber Inc. of Colville, WA. It was the sole bidder.

The goal of the IRSC is ecological restoration at a landscape scale. The IRSC will be used to eventually treat approximately 54,000 acres on the Colville NF. These treatments are scheduled over the 10-year period of the contract. The contract will provide opportunities for restoration work, including the removal of timber and biomass through the treatment of large landscape areas. This will provide jobs and forest product processing in local communities.

“The Colville National Forest is proud to be on the forefront of innovation in the agency and is looking forward to learning as much as we can from this project to help improve the pace and scale of restoration in the future,” said Forest Supervisor Laura Jo West. “This approach will create capacity and flexibility on the Forest by contracting out project work that would normally require additional appropriations if completed by Forest Service staff.”

The contract is unique in requiring Vaagen Bros. to complete necessary National Environmental Policy Act planning before work begins.

The IRSC will include various types of work such as pre-commercial thinning, mechanical fuels reduction, road maintenance, and timber product removal. Approximately 50 million board feet of timber could be harvested over 10 years; however annual harvest amounts are subject to negotiation.

Stewardship contracting helps achieve restoration goals while contributing to the sustainability of rural communities through continuing employment. Stewardship contracting focuses on end-result ecosystem benefits and outcomes, rather than on what's removed from the land. It allows the Forest Service to trade goods for services to achieve desired conditions on the ground.

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