Forest restoration projects are different from typical timber sales in that they generally do not create enough saw-logs and other valuable commodities to pay for themselves. Federal agencies do not have sufficient appropriations to pay for these types of projects, at least at the scale required to achieve restoration across these affected landscapes. In order to accomplish landscape-scale forest restoration goals across Oregon, local collaborators are increasingly looking to the private sector to build markets for restoration byproducts in order to reduce the costs of ecological restoration.
The Lakeview Biomass project assisted local collaborators in achieving ecological restoration goals by creating the necessary relationships and supply agreements to support the development of a biomass power facility associated with the existing Collins Company sawmill in Lakeview, Oregon. The project also helped persuade the Collins Company to retool their sawmill to better handle the smaller-diameter timber that flows from restoration projects.
- Development of a biomass-based, renewable energy resource;
- Recovery of watershed health, including enhanced water flows and quality, improved fish and wildlife habitats, and resiliency to drought, insects, fire and invasive species;
- Return of natural ecosystem processes including restoring fire’s natural role in forest and rangeland ecosystems;
- Reduced threats to forest and rangeland values, property, and human lives from uncharacteristically severe fire;
- Reduced future costs of fire suppression;
- Improved understanding of the role of forest and rangelands, forest and rangeland products and biomass energy as mitigation for carbon dioxide emissions;
- Creation of forest-based jobs and wealth for long-term residents of rural communities;
- Enhanced and improved economic resiliency and viability of the regional lumber mill and surrounding communities;
- Improved efficiency and efficacy of state and federal agencies to carry out their missions (e.g. ecosystem restoration, community economic development, renewable energy development, etc.);
- Enhanced social capacity to solve problems in ways that build and sustain desired environmental, economic and community conditions;
- Identification of partners and investors to develop “intermediate” small diameter processing capacity, to derive maximum value and to assist in paying for the transport of biomass material from the woods to the biomass power site.
- The Collins Companies opened a $6.6 million small diameter sawmill
- Serving 495,000 acres of public and private forest
- 80 local jobs saved
- Iberdrola Renewables began construction on a 26.38MW biomass cogeneration plant, which is expected to be completed in 2012
- Creating 18 on site family-wage jobs
- Creating more than 50 other forest-related jobs