Plan To Restore Bear Creek Greenway Announced
Jackson County has laid out a multi-phase plan to restore and improve the Greenway after large swathes of the riparian corridor from Ashland to Medford were burned in the Almeda Fire.
Emergency Operation Center director John Vial laid out the plan during a press conference on Wednesday, September 30th. He said the most urgent need is to re-seed the area to prevent erosion.
"The current estimate right now is approximately $500,000 to do that initial seeding and try to stabilize the Greenway before the rains come," he said. "That’s not going to address the long-term needs to re-vegetate the area with native species and a whole bunch of other issues that are associated with the fire on the Greenway. Right now we’re just trying to get the area stabilized before the winter rains."
The county is in talks with FEMA to figure out how to pay for the re-seeding work.
One of those other issues is the need for new and bigger firebreaks along the Greenway that will hopefully stop or slow the spread of future fires. The firebreaks in place at the time of the Almeda fire had been completed this year just prior to the recent fire. But they proved to be no match for the 40-mile-per-hour winds that pushed the fire north.
The Greenway is managed and owned by a consortium of five different cities, Jackson County, and the Oregon Department of Transportation. But Vial said that all parties recognize the need to restore the Greenway, and to reduce future fire danger.