USDA Announces $37 Mil to Reduce Wildfire Threats

John DavisUSDA

usda-logoThe Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service are partnering to reduce wildfire threats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced nearly $37 million in investments designed to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet.

Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie unveiled the 15 Chiefs’ Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership projects for 2015. Located across the country from Washington to Vermont and Arizona to Ohio, NRCS and Forest Service will invest $10 million in new projects to improve conditions on public and private lands. One new project is in the Upper North Fork region near Gibbonsville, Idaho designed to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire to communities along a portion of the Highway 93 corridor.

“By leveraging the technical and financial resources of both agencies, this coordinated effort is helping to restore lands across large landscapes regardless of whether they are on public or private lands,” Bonnie said. “Our successes from the 2014 projects demonstrate that these partnerships make a difference on the ground and we are grateful for the cooperation of several partners.”

Bonnie noted that in some cases these new projects build on last year’s efforts. The partnership made investments in 2014 that will result in conservation improvements to over 266,000 acres. NRCS and Forest Service will provide an additional $27 million to continue work on 2014 projects.

Partner organizations will also kick in more than $5 million in financial, technical and in-kind services over the next three years for the 2015 projects.