USDA initiative restores forests, reduces wildfire threats through local partnerships
USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie earlier this month announced a federal investment of over $40 million for restoration of forests near growing communities to reduce wildfire threats, protect water supplies, improve wildlife habitat and support rural economies. This is the third year of the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration 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.
“The health of our forests and our rural communities very often go hand in hand,” Bonnie said. “USDA works with other public and thousands of private landowners through a range of programs and partnerships to decrease the threat of wildfire, restore forest habitat and increase economic and other opportunities for the families and businesses that make their homes near woodlands.”
Bonnie unveiled 11 new Joint Chiefs projects totaling $7 million for 2016 and committed additional investments totaling nearly $33 million in 27 projects launched in 2014 and 2015. Local partners plan to invest up to an additional $11 million in financial, technical and in-kind assistance for the 38 projects.
-U.S. Forest Service
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I want to address a couple of issues in this week’s editor’s note.