The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest nearly $32 million this year through the Joint Chiefs’ Partnership to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest ecosystems in 24 states and Puerto Rico.
“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 acting State Conservationist Ray Dotson.
More than $4.2 million of this year’s funding will support three ongoing forestry projects in California that focus on wildfire protection and mitigation, improving forest health and enhancing habitat for at-risk species. Project locations include the Los Angeles County area, the front country of the Sierra National Forest east of the San Francisco Bay metro area, and Trinity County near Eureka in northern California.
“Wildfires are a serious and on-going threat to forests and communities alike, as we’ve seen throughout California this year,” Dotson said. “Through these Joint Chiefs’ 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.”
Private forestland owners in these project areas may be eligible for financial assistance from the NRCS to help them perform forest conservation practices on their land. Contact a local USDA Service Center to learn more.
Since 2013, USDA has invested $176 million in 56 Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership (LRP) projects, which focus on areas where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately-owned lands. Including this year’s funding, USDA’s LRP investment in California has been $27.5 million for a total of five projects that are helping to minimize wildfire risk, protect landscapes and communities, improve forest health, and enhance wildlife habitat.