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NRCS and Forest Service Partner to Improve Forest Health

Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie announced today a multi-year partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet across the nation.

Two of the areas to be addressed are within the Appalachian LCC boundary; at Triplett Creek in Kentucky where activities will reduce the risk of wildfire and improve fire resilience of communities in the Triplett Creek Watershed through conservation treatments and homeowner and landowner education, and in West Virginia where a restoration venture will accelerate recovery from historic degradation from industrial logging and associated wildfires.

"NRCS and the Forest Service have the same goal in this partnership – working across traditional boundaries and restoring the health of our forests and watersheds whether they're on public or private lands," Bonnie said.

Today's announcement is part of the Obama Administration's Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put America on track to a cleaner environment.

The project, called the Chiefs' Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership, will invest $30 million in 13 projects across the country this year to help mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protect water quality, and supply and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

The 13 priority projects will build on existing projects with local partnerships already in place. By leveraging technical and financial resources and coordinating activities on adjacent public and private lands, conservation work by NRCS and the Forest Service will be more efficient and effective in these watersheds.

"Wildfires and water concerns don't stop at boundaries between public and private lands," NRCS Chief Jason Weller said. "By working together, we can provide more focused and effective assistance to help public and private landowners and managers put conservation solutions on the ground nationwide."

"The Chiefs' Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership is an opportunity for our agencies to pool resources and get better results for the American people," U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell added. "Restoring the health of our nation's forests and grasslands is a critical effort, and it's going to take partnerships like this to see the job through."

The list of the 13 projects:

Montana – Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir

California – San Bernardino and Riverside County Fuels Reduction Project

California – Mid-Klamath River Communities Project

Minnesota – Upper Mississippi Headwaters Restoration

New Mexico – Isleta Project

New Hampshire – New Hampshire Drinking Water Improvement

Wisconsin – Lake Superior Landscape Restoration Partnership

West Virginia – West Virginia Restoration Venture

Kentucky – Triplett Creek

Arkansas – Western Arkansas Woodland Restoration

New York – Susquehanna Watershed Riparian Buffer Enhancements

Mississippi – Upper Black Creek Watershed

Oregon – East Face of the Elk Horn Mountains

Summaries of all projects selected can be found here.

The agencies are reviewing additional sites for the partnership to collaborate in the future and will continue to capitalize on NRCS and Forest Service overlying priorities and programs.

Press Release by NRCS.