2016- Whitebark Pine Thinning Baree Ridge

General Project Information

Project Title: Whitebark Pine Thinning Baree Ridge

Project Dates: 2016

Year project implementation started:

How many more years is this project expected to continue, if any?

Project Contact: (Please provide complete information for primary contact(s), e.g., name, position, phone number, email, agency name, unit/sub-unit)

Rudy Geber, rgeber@fs.fed.us, 406-283-7594

Location (Land management agency or ownership and name of geographic area(s) where project was implemented. This information should be specific enough to identify a general project location on a map but not specific enough to compromise the project.)

USFS Kootenai National Forest, Libby Ranger District, Montana

Cooperators: (List cooperating agencies and sub-units, other companies/organizations, and individuals as needed.)


Project Funding

Funding Sources (amount FHP/amount other incl. in-kind)

Forest Health Protection funding                   $3,800

Other funding                                                 $5,250

Total                                                               $9,050


Did Whitebark Restoration funding get used or obligated? (If not, please explain.)



Project Details

Scope and/or Size of Project or Treated Area: (Include a short description of the project or treatment area if helpful in understanding the scope of the project.)

Number of Acres or Other Units Treated, Monitored, or Surveyed:

77 acres, 60 trees

Specific location of project or treated area(s): (If desired, add more specific project location information here, e.g., UTMs, Lat-long, specific landmark. Otherwise, indicate if more information is available by request.)

Objective(s) (from original request):

  • Daylight whitebark pine trees by clearing competing conifers from within 15 feet of each tree.
  • Reduce ladder fuels surrounding high value whitebark pine trees to increase wildfire resistance.
  • Improve whitebark resistance to nearby mountain pine beetle populations.
  • Increase vigor and tree survival through release cutting.
  • Improve climbing ability by creating easier access to cone bearing trees.
  • Implement NEPA that was completed for this project in 2014.

Planting: (Please answer the following questions if the project includes plantings or cone collections.)

Number of seedlings planted (List by location if applicable): N/A

Was the seed source screened for resistance? (If other, explain.)

Were Plus trees used?


  • One day of project reconnaissance took place on 6/7/16 to locate additional WBP in need of daylighting and to designate a medivac site for saw operations. Several additional trees were located but only a couple of them needed saw work. Most of the additional trees needing daylighting were in Management Area 2 (semi-primitive) where no saw work was allowed in the Decision Memo.
  • The heaviest fuel loadings were located between the switch-back on the 594 road.
  • Daylighting took place 6/22/2016 to 7/14/2016.
  • Three sawyers were used to cut an approximately 30-foot radius around designated trees.
  • It took 3.5 days to complete daylighting around 60 trees; the remaining trees proposed didn’t require daylighting due to the open forest condition.
  • The 8-person Libby MCC crew came to the project area on 6/28/16. They received a tailgate safety session and project briefing. Additionally, a 30-minute presentation was given on WBP, its importance as a food source, mountain pine beetle, blister rust, wildfire, cone collections, daylighting, and genetics. After the briefing, they dispersed slash around 10 trees with the highest fuel loading. They had a great day.


Project Status (Is the project complete? If not, what remains to be accomplished and when?

Daylighting and slash dispersal has been accomplished. A monitoring plan was likely to be developed by Bob Keane but the status of that is unknown at this time.

Will outcome meet objectives?

The outcome met several of the objectives. Ladder fuels were reduced and scattered increasing resistance to a wildfire. Trees are now easier to access for climbing and cone collection. Existing NEPA was implemented and the trees have more room to grow due to reduced competition. The remaining objectives such as increased resistance to mountain pine beetle populations would take a formal monitoring plan and several years to determine.


Project Follow-Up

Are there plans for monitoring or follow-up? (If not, please explain.)

A discussion took place with Bob Keane about having him monitor the project area but the status of the monitoring plan and whether or not monitoring has already occurred is unknown.

Changes Needed or Problems Encountered:

Studies are on-going as to whether this type of treatment is effective in detouring mountain pine beetle.