The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be investing more than $1 million in California this fiscal year for wildfire mitigation and improving water quality. The efforts are being made possible through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership. The Partnership allows the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to work with farmers and landowners in implementing conservation and restoration projects on a substantial scale.
“The Joint Chiefs’ initiative is a timely effort, that expands NRCS conservation investments on California’s public and private forest lands,” NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez said in a press release. “The funding will enable private property owners to play a major role in this conservation effort to improve the health and resiliency of the forest and watershed landscapes.”
Through the Partnership, NRCS and USFS will be working together on two newly selected projects in California. The projects seek to improve the fire-adaptive capability of communities, assist with wildfire mitigation, enhance ecological resistance to wildfire, and improve water quality and supplies.
Federal agencies will contribute $697,000 to the Little Jones Creek Project-Smith River Collaborative within the Six Rivers National Forest in Del Norte County, completing a network of fuelbreaks to protect the wildland-urban interface within approximately 8,700 acres. The USDA agencies will also invest more than $340,000 in a project within the Los Padres National Forest to reestablish historic fuelbreaks and complete vegetation management treatments across 1,400 acres.
This fiscal year, NRCS and USFS will be investing more than $41 million nationally through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership. A total of $10.6 million will be used for 16 new projects, with another $30.5 million going towards the completion of 20 projects that were selected in previous years. Over the course of seven years, USDA has invested more than $225 million through Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership projects.