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You are here: Home / Resources / Research / Projects / Prescribed Burn / Monroe Mountain Aspen Ecosystem Restoration Project

Monroe Mountain Aspen Ecosystem Restoration Project

Project implementation created 39 jobs, such as equipment operators, surveyors, and foresters, plus supporting jobs in the local communities.

Aspen ecosystems support a wide array of wildlife, including mule deer, elk, Northern goshawk, migratory birds, amphibians, and insects. It has been estimated that 70% of the properly functioning aspen ecosystems have been lost on Monroe Mountain, Utah.

These declines are from a lack of natural disturbances such as fire, too many unnatural disturbances such as overgrazing, and the spread of conifers. Because aspen trees are shade intolerant and sprout from root suckers, they grow back quickly after fire. Removing conifers and installing livestock watering facilities away from streams, should also improve water supplies downstream and improve habitat for native trout.

This Joint Chiefs’ project was coordinated through the Monroe Mountain Working Group and brought together 22 different groups, including state agencies, NGOs, landowners, allotment permitees, Fishlake National Forest, and NRCS.

Using Good Fire to Restore Aspen

Mark Blake is a landowner in southern Utah. “I was raised here, so my roots are pretty deep,” Blake said. “We have about 500 acres up here. It’s pristine and there’s a lot of water and natural springs. We love it and we spend as much time as we possibly can up here.” The Blakes feel like they are stewards of the land. They have participated in several efforts to improve the health of the forests and benefit wildlife, so when they heard about an initiative to help regenerate aspen ecosystems on their private land, they were excited.

“We understand the benefits of something like this,” Blake said. “Things like fire suppression, improving the health of the forest, and added benefits to wildlife.”

The Monroe Mountain Aspen Ecosystem Restoration Project (MMAERP) was designed to do just that, as a collaboration between more than twenty stakeholders and agencies. Following a recommendation from the Monroe Mountain Working Group (MMWG), the Joint Chiefs submitted a funding proposal. This was a catalyst for improved treatment outcomes across the entire area.

“I just want to express my appreciation,” Blake said. “To be able to have the resources that the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the USDA Forest Service have provided, along with the state, I just feel very grateful.”

“We’ve probably done nearly 15,000 acres of aspen work,” said Jason Kling, Forest Service District Ranger. “We’re improving aspen ecosystems. We’re reducing fire risk, and we’re improving habitats for grazing, both for domestic animals and wildlife.”

Key Partners:  Monroe Mountain Working Group, Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Division of Forestry, Fire, & State Lands, National Wild Turkey Federation, Sportsman for Fish and Wildlife, Mule Deer Foundation

Download PDF brochure (PDF, 209KB)

View more about the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership in Utah at offsite link image   



  • USFS & NRCS JCLRP funds awarded 2017–2019: $4,017,933
  • Total USDA and partner project funds: $5,807,955
Monroe Mountain, Utah