Wildfire money

Wildfire money

David Sparks Ph.D.
David Sparks Ph.D.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest more than $46 million this year through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership for projects that mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, and restore healthy forest ecosystems on public and private lands. Funding for 37 projects includes $13 million for eight new projects and $33.3 million to complete work on 29 projects previously selected in 2019 and 2020. Through the projects, USDA’s Forest Service (FS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are working hand-in-hand with agricultural producers, forest landowners, and National Forest System lands to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs and other authorities.

These Joint Chiefs projects are proof positive of what can be achieved when there is collaboration at all levels – federal, state, and local,” said Curtis Elke, NRCS State Conservationist in Idaho. We’re proud to help continue these conservation partnerships and successes with these next eight projects, including the project here in Idaho.”

The Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership enables NRCS and FS to collaborate with agricultural producers and forest landowners to invest in conservation and restoration at a big enough scale to make a difference. Working in partnership, and at this scale, helps reduce wildfire threats, protect water quality and supply, and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

North Fork Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project in the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Lemhi County is one of eight new projects. The purpose of the project is to implement fuel reduction treatments in areas threatened by the invasion and continued build-up of cheatgrass on federal and private land. Sources and causes of this build-up include disturbance from wildfire, mining, timber harvest, heavy use by big game, and grazing. Treatments will include ground-based and/or aerial herbicide application, re-seeding of native species on federal and private land as well as understory thinning on private land to provide fuel breaks where applicable. The primary goal of this project is to reduce the wildfire threat to at-risk communities, wildfire threat to wildlife habitats of at-risk species, while also protecting and improving localized watershed conditions by reducing fine fuel buildup and controlling further cheatgrass colonization within the area.

The other seven projects are:

Alabama and Florida: Sustaining Gains in Longleaf Pine Restoration Through Coordinated Cogongrass Control

Alaska: Prince of Wales Landscape Restoration Partnership

New Mexico: Sierra Blanca Restoration Partnership

Oregon: Buttes to Basins - All Lands Forest Resiliency Project

Oregon: Lake County All Lands Restoration Initiative

Puerto Rico: Ecosystem Resilience Through Conservation Practices

Tennessee: East Tennessee Aquatic Habitat for At-Risk Species

Through the new three-year projects, landowners will work with local USDA experts and partners to apply targeted forestry management practices on their lands, such as thinning, hazardous fuel treatments, fire breaks, and other systems to meet unique forestry challenges in their area.

For full project descriptions and information on completed projects, visit the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership website.

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