Work being done on a unit. Photo Credit: Lomakatsi Restoration Project

Topic: Watershed protection / management Type: Success Story / Lessons Learned

Funding for Watershed Resiliency in Ashland

Authors: Emily Troisi

Steve Parks, fire adapted communities coordinator for the City of Ashland / Ashland Fire & Rescue, shared a press release with FAC Net members about the Ashland City Council’s vote to enact a fixed monthly charge to help pay for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project. Water meter surcharges are one way communities are funding important restoration and mitigation projects to protect water supplies from the impacts of fire in their municipal watersheds. For more information on watersheds and living with fire, see the FAC Net quick guides on watershed management; specifically part 4 which highlights some of the funding mechanisms for watershed management.

See the press release from Ashland below:

Ashland Forest Resiliency Surcharge Begins July 1

Ashland residents and businesses will see a new charge on their water bill beginning July 1. Each water meter in the City (and some outside the City), whether for domestic or irrigation use, will be assessed a fixed monthly charge to help pay for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project. For a water customer with a three-quarter inch or one-inch meter, about 90% of City water customers and virtually all residential customers, the surcharge will be $1.39 per month. The surcharge for larger meters increases in proportion to the size of the meter and the level of water flow the larger meters can accommodate.

The Ashland Forest Resiliency Project (AFR) is a long-running multi-agency project aimed at reducing wildfire risks in Ashland’s watershed by thinning dense timber stands and removing highly flammable undergrowth. A fire in the watershed would have devastating consequences for Ashland’s water supply; hence the connection between water meters and funding for AFR.

Nearly all of the AFR work to date has been paid for by the federal government and private grants. The cost of maintaining the work that’s been done, about $175,000 annually, must be borne by the City. The money will be spent on contract services to remove flammable materials that have regenerated in areas previously treated.

For more information about the AFR project, please visit www.ashland.or.us/AFR.

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