USDA will invest nearly $32 million this year to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest ecosystems in 24 states and Puerto Rico. Since 2014, USDA has invested $176 million in 56 Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership Projects, which focus on areas where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately-owned lands.
“Through Joint Chiefs, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works with agricultural producers and forest landowners to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs, and the Forest Service enhances forest health on public lands — stitching together a larger footprint of healthy ecosystems in priority areas,” said Leonard Jordan, acting NRCS chief.
This year, the Joint Chiefs’ partner USDA agencies are providing $2.9 million to fund seven new projects and $29 million to support 21 ongoing partnership projects. Federal, state, and local partners will bring an additional $12 million through financial and in-kind contributions over three years to implement the newly added projects. These contribute to jobs and economic benefits that sustain rural communities.
“Wildfires are a serious and on-going threat to forests and communities alike, as we’ve seen in California and throughout the nation this past year,” said Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. “Through these Joint Chief’s projects, USDA will be working with local partners in high-risk project areas to control invasive species, install fire breaks and implement other targeted forest management practices to help mitigate the risk of wide-spread wildfires.”
Descriptions of the remaining seven new projects follow. For full project descriptions and information on completed projects, visit the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership website.
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