Fire and Collaboration on the Fishlake National Forest
The Richfield Ranger District (District) has been working collaboratively with the Monroe Mountain Working Group (MMWG) (20 plus stakeholders) to develop strategies to improve aspen ecosystems on Monroe Mountain; part of which includes reintroducing fire to these disturbance dependent ecosystems. Using fire at a landscape scale (approximately 61,000 acres) to improve and maintain aspen ecosystems over time while also minimizing impacts to private property and other uses on Monroe Mountain has been a challenging task. The Monroe Mountain area, located in Central Utah, encompasses approximately 176,000 acres of National Forest lands and approximately 12,000 acres of private inholdings. Dominant vegetation includes aspen and conifer in the higher elevations and sagebrush and pinyon/juniper in the lower elevations. Monroe Mountain provides elk and mule deer habitat with associated hunting opportunities, multiple allotments for livestock grazing, boreal toad and Bonneville cutthroat trout habitat, Northern goshawk and Flammulated owl habitat, Inventoried Roadless Areas, and much more. In August 2015, the District released a Final Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Record of Decision (ROD) that outlines a 10 year plan to improve aspen ecosystems on Monroe Mountain; a Final ROD is currently being prepared. This four year collaboration process has been enlightening and a success on the Fishlake National Forest, Richfield Ranger District.