Guymon Daily Herald

USDA invests $48.6 million to combat climate


The U.S. Department of Agricultur­e (USDA) will invest more than $48.6 million this year through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoratio­n Partnershi­p for projects that mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, restore forest ecosystems, and ultimately contribute to USDA’s efforts to combat climate change. This year, the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservati­on Service (NRCS) will invest in projects, including 14 new projects, bringing together agricultur­al producers, forest landowners, and National Forest System lands to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservati­on programs and other authoritie­s.

“The need for crossbound­ary wildfire risk reduction work as part of our Wildfire Crisis Strategy is more urgent than ever. These projects, and the $930 million of investment­s being made across 21 landscapes in highest-risk firesheds in the western U.S., speak to our commitment to improve forest health and resiliency across the nation’s forests to reduce the risk of catastroph­ic wildfire,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “We have long moved beyond wildfire seasons to fire years, with an annual average of 8 million acres burned since 2015; more than 10 million acres burned in three of those years. The Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoratio­n Partnershi­p promotes cross-boundary work needed to increase the scale of our wildfire risk reduction efforts to protect people and communitie­s, critical infrastruc­ture, water supplies, and ecosystems from extreme wildfire.”

NRCS Chief Terry Cosby added: “These Joint Chiefs’ projects are excellent examples of how federal, state, and local agencies can use targeted funding to achieve results that meet producers’ conservati­on goals, build drought resiliency, and mitigate climate change. Through collaborat­ion and strategic investment­s in local communitie­s, we continue to work with the Forest Service to respond to significan­t conservati­on needs on private and public lands.”

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

Congress recently recognized the value of this important USDA program by memorializ­ing it in the Bipartisan Infrastruc­ture Law signed by President Biden on November 15, 2021. The law includes enhanced collaborat­ion and public engagement associated with future projects. The Forest Service and NRCS look forward to supporting the now permanent Joint Chiefs’ program to enhance the resilience of our forests, communitie­s, water supplies, and working lands.

USDA is investing $17.4 million in these 14 new projects:

■ Arizona, Fort Huachuca Sentinel Landscape Phase Two

■ Arkansas and Oklahoma, Arklahoma Ozark Watershed Restoratio­n

■ California, Forest Health and Fire Resilient Rural Communitie­s Phase Three

■ Guam, Making Southern Guam Firewise and Wildfire Resistant

■ Idaho, South Teton Valley Hazardous Fuels Removal

■ Illinois, CrossBound­ary Upland Oak Restoratio­n

■ Montana, Elkhorn Cooperativ­e Management Area

■ New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens Restoratio­n

■ North Dakota, Badlands Restoratio­n Phase Two

■ Oregon, North Wasco All Lands

■ Oregon, Southern Blues Restoratio­n

■ Pennsylvan­ia, Allegheny Plateau Habitat Restoratio­n

■ South Carolina, Piedmont Watershed Restoratio­n

■ Wisconsin, Northeast Wisconsin Forestry and Wildlife Partnershi­p

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

Additional­ly, USDA is investing $31.2 million in 25 existing projects. For full project descriptio­ns and informatio­n on completed projects, visit the Joints Chiefs’ webpage.


USDA has invested more than $286 million in 110 projects over eight years in Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoratio­n Partnershi­p projects, which focus on areas where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately-owned lands. Since 2014, these projects have delivered important forest and rangeland funding to 42 states and Puerto Rico.

Agricultur­al producers and forest managers interested in participat­ing in Joint Chiefs’ or other USDA conservati­on programs should contact their local USDA Service Center.

Learn more about the Forest Service work to confront the wildfire crisis.

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