The Biden-Harris Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service today announced $31.1 million for 15 projects funded through the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) that, with partnership support, aim to reduce the risk of severe wildfires, support local economies, create jobs and enhance forest and watershed health in eight states. These funds were made available through a combination of funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and annual appropriations.
The selected projects are in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington.
“Programs like this show just how much we can accomplish across a shared landscape, when we work together,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Under President Biden’s Leadership, the Department of Agriculture is leveraging partnerships and seeking new opportunities to protect our communities, natural resources, and support and create jobs where they are needed most.”
“The selected projects will enhance the work already accomplished through the program. Together, they highlight the widespread support of the work to improve the nation’s natural resources for the benefit of everyone,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “The infusion of funding augments the work we do with other governments and partners around other important work such as improvements to infrastructure and the 10-year wildfire strategy. The Collaborative Forest Restoration Program is working for all Americans.”
Started in 2009, the 24 funded landscape projects advanced treatments to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire on more than 4.5 million acres — the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. The projects also supported more than $2.3 billion in total labor income and engaged more than 420 organizations in local collaborative work alongside landowners and interested individuals. These landscape restoration activities established 224,000 acres of forest vegetation by planting, seeding, and natural regeneration while also reducing or eradicating invasive plants across 210,000 acres. Restoration also enhanced more than 1,760 miles of stream habitat. The multi-year funding commitment and collaborative capacity are key enabling conditions for these results.
The projects selected for FY22 investments include three that received funding in previous years:
- $3 million to Northern Blues Forest Restoration, a 10.4-million-acre project to reduce wildfire risk and prepare the landscape to safely manage fire. The area has a strong history of successful cross-boundary, all-lands restoration collaboration.
- $673,000 to the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project includes 258,000 acres of high-value landscape with a broad array of collaborative support. Previously funded with $6.7 million, the additional funding will keep the project going for another five years. Efforts focus on reducing high-severity wildfire in the wildland-urban interface, protecting watersheds, preserving recreation areas, and providing jobs and wood products.
- $757,000 to Dinkey Collaborative, a 154,000-acre project that sits in the epicenter of unprecedented fuel loading due to the Southern Sierran tree mortality that to date has received $7.6 million in CFLRP funding.
The 12 newly funded projects are:
- $1.1 million on 569,000 acres for the large-scale restoration of the shortleaf pine- bluestem grass communities. Restoration includes reducing density with thinning and prescribed burns to promote healthier growth, improving habitat for federally listed species such as the Red-cockaded Woodpecker and providing economic benefits to the community.
- $3 million to Rio Chama, a 3.8-million-acre project that spans lands managed by Tribes, states, the Bureau of Land Management and private landowners. This collective vision to reduce wildfire risk has galvanized communities in this landscape. The project will increase resilience to catastrophic wildfire and other natural disturbance events, sustaining healthy forests and watersheds for future generations.
- $3 million to the Southwest Colorado Restoration Initiative, a 1.9-million-acre project that spans private, municipal, state and federal lands. The project aims to promote resilience, enabling the area to adapt to future disturbance while retaining ecosystem function, productivity and ecosystem services. The strategy is to enhance the resilience of critical watersheds, wildlife and aquatic habitats, community infrastructure, economic drivers and forest conditions.
- $3 million to the Western Klamath Mountains Fire and Fire Resiliency Project, a 1.2-million-acre project to prepare the landscape for frequent, yet smaller, lower-intensity wildfires to protect communities and critical transportation routes. This work will increase watershed health and ecosystem resilience that includes areas traditionally managed by the Karuk Tribe. The work will also prepare the land for traditional burning.
- $3 million in the North Yuba River watershed across 356,000 acres. The watershed provides clean water for homes, communities, businesses and ecosystems. There is an urgent need to address high wildfire hazard potential and areas more susceptible to insects, disease and drought. Treatments will promote forest conditions that are more resilient, while restoring watershed health and native biodiversity.
- $1 million to the Zuni Mountains to extend the project on 253,000 acres to increase resilience to climate change, uncharacteristic crown fires, and support healthy communities and wildlife habitat. This project provides a long-term supply of wood for businesses and creates a suite of restoration-oriented businesses.
- $2 million to the Lakeview Stewardship project on 859,000 acres important to rural communities for recreation and forestry sector jobs. The goal is to create a healthy, resilient and functional forest landscape maintained with fire to mitigate the threat of high-severity wildfires to dry forests, habitat, water quality and communities.
- $3 million to the Southern Blues Restoration Coalition for a million acres that suffer from departed fire regimes, species composition, and forest stand densities that threaten to destroy key habitat, old growth, important aquatic resources and private property due to uncharacteristic wildfires and effects of a changing climate. The overarching goal is restoration at a scale that will help native wildlife thrive, create forests that are resilient to climate change, and support the health, safety, and prosperity of local communities.
- $3 million to the Rogue Basin Landscape Restoration Project across 4.6 million acres. The proposed work will accelerate urgently needed restoration treatments to meet long-term, collaboratively developed strategic goals of wildfire risk reduction, landscape resiliency, improved wildlife habitat, watershed protection, adaptation, and social and economic resilience.
- $180,000 to the Missouri Pine Oak Woodlands for 445,000 acres that contain Missouri’s largest contiguous forest and designated scenic riverways with important conservation implications for the long-term survival of birds and aquatic life.
- $1.4 million to treat 1.1 million acres to align with the state’s 20-year Forest Health Action Plan. The approach strategically places treatment to reduce wildfire risk for some of the most vulnerable cities and communities in the Pacific Northwest so that multiple tools and tactics can be used to manage the fires safely and appropriately. Work will include fuels treatments, stream and fisheries improvements, and wildlife habitat restoration.
- $3 million to Northeast Washington Forest Vision 2020 on 916,000 acres to align with the state’s 20-year Forest Health Action Plan. The project restores forested landscapes and watersheds to prepare for future wildfires and the effects of climate change. The overarching goals are to restore forests and habitats, reduce hazardous fuels, use woody biomass and small-diameter trees, and reduce the costs of treatments and wildfire management.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov .
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originally published at Ag/Farm/Forestry - Social Gov