Leaders from state forestry agencies, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), conservation districts, and USDA-Forest Service (USFS) have been actively forming partnerships to increase cooperation and improve forestry-related assistance to landowners, consistent with the purpose of the national “joint forestry” memorandum of understanding (MOU). Examples of these partnerships (e.g., MOUs and agreements at the state, multi-state, watershed and landscape scale), outreach and marketing tools and other information are provided below as a resource for leaders in other states or geographic areas to use to enhance their cooperative activities and further implement the national Joint Forestry Team MOU.
These are recently approved state-level MOUs, cooperative/contribution agreements and related documents that include at least two of the national joint forestry MOU partners (i.e., state forestry agencies, conservation districts, NRCS, USFS).
Alabama Joint Forestry
- Alabama Joint Forestry Memorandum of Understanding - The Alabama Forestry Commission, Alabama Association of Conservation Districts, the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee and NRCS signed an MOU in March 2009, that will provide more coordinated services to the state’s forest landowners. The MOU is modeled after the national joint forestry MOU.
- Alabama Joint Forestry Press Release - The Alabama partners publicly announced their joint signing of the MOU on March 11, 2009 with a joint press release.
California Joint Forestry
The California Association of Conservation Districts, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), NRCS and the U.S. Forest Service signed an MOU in May 2010. The purpose of the document is to strengthen cooperation among the partners that will result in coordinated interagency delivery of forestry-related conservation assistance to private landowners in order to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of California’s private working lands – forestland, cropland, pasture, and rangeland.
Colorado Joint Forestry
In September 2010, the Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Colorado State Office, and the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as forestry partners.
Florida Joint Forestry
- Florida Joint Forestry Memorandum of Understanding - The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Forestry and Florida NRCS signed this MOU in February 2009 to establish a foundation for an enduring cooperative working relationship. Their MOU is tiered to the national Joint Forestry Team MOU and also incorporates several of the national MOU action items.
Georgia Cooperative Agreement
The Georgia Forestry Commission and NRCS entered into a cooperative agreement to provide technical assistance to producers for Farm Bill conservation programs.
Hawai'i Joint Forestry
A Joint Forestry Memorandum of Understanding was signed to create a partnership that will help private Forest Stewardship, landowners and managers conserve forests across Hawai’i. This agreement strengthens the cooperation for the delivery of forestry conservation assistance to private landowners and managers.
The partnership consists of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawai’i Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service.
To learn more, click here.
Maryland Joint Forestry
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources with support from the maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, the Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the University of Maryland Extension, the USDA Forest Service, and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service came together to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), agreeing to work together to provide more effective technical and financial assistance to forest landowners and managers.
Maryland Forestry Subcommittee Establishment
The three letters listed below illustrate the process that was used by the NRCS State Conservationist in Maryland and the Maryland State Forester to establish a forestry subcommittee to the Maryland State Technical Committee.
Montana Joint Forestry
In November 2009, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Montana Department of Natural Resource and Conservation, Forestry Division; the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; the USDA Forest Service, Northern Region; Montana State University Extension Service; and the Montana Association of Conservation Districts. The five partners represent some of the most qualified expertise in forestry-related research and science, forest practices policy and in service, education and program delivery to private landowners.
North Carolina Forestland Bird Legacy Program
The Forest Landbird Legacy Program is a voluntary wildlife conservation program for private non-industrial forest landowners in North Carolina who want to manage their mature forests to benefit forest dwelling landbirds. Program cooperators are NRCS, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The NRCS, Wayne National Forest, and Ohio DNR, Division of Forestry, entered into an MOU to achieve mutually beneficial goals in natural resource management within the twelve-county administrative area of the Wayne National Forest in Ohio. The partners also agreed to a FY 2008 Plan of Work and announced their agreement through a press release. The USFS Northeastern Area is providing funding to support implementation of the MOU and plan of work.
Pennsylvania’s Guide to Forestry Roles and Responsibilities
Nearly 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s land is forested. Nearly three-quarters of these acres are owned and operated by non-industrial private forest landowners. The 2008 Farm Bill offers a variety of opportunities to help forest land-owners develop plans and implement conservation practices. This guide described how NRCS, DCNR and consulting foresters work together to provide Technical and Financial Assistance to Non-Industrial Private Forest Landowners.
Tennessee Shared Forester - NRCS and Division of Forestry
The Tennessee Division of Forestry and NRCS entered into a contribution agreement where each party agreed to share in the cost of a cooperative forestry position to facilitate implementation of Farm Bill programs.
Texas Joint Forestry
The Texas Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthens the cooperation between the two by coordinating the assistance provided to landowners. The MOU focuses, in particular, on forest-related conversion assistance for private landowners, which is designed to help sustain the health, diversity and productivity of Texas' private working lands including forests, crops, pastures and ranges.
These are recently approved MOUs and agreements at the multi-state/watershed level between agencies and organizations that include at least two of the national joint forestry MOU partners.
Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont “Keeping Forest in Forest”
- Memorandum of Understanding - The NRCS (state conservationists for Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont), USFS (field representative for the Durham Field Office and the Forest Supervisors for the Green Mountain & Finger Lakes and White Mountain National Forests), the North East State Foresters Association (representing the state forestry agencies from Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont) signed an MOU to provide a framework for the partners to actively cooperate in the conservation and management of working forest landscapes within the Northern Forest in the states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Upper Mississippi Forestry Partnership MOU
- Original MOU (June 2006) - Eight partners with forestry and conservation assistance responsibilities in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin (MOU signees are State Foresters for IL, IN, IA, MN, MO, WI; NACD Chair for North Central Region; and USFS Northeastern Area) signed this MOU in 2006 to provide a general framework of cooperation concerning the common goal of restoring or enhancing the forest resources of the Upper Mississippi watershed.
- Updated MOU (July 2008) - The original MOU was modified to include NRCS and USFS partners (new MOU signees are State Conservationists for IL, IN, IA, MN, MO, WI; and USFS Regional Forester, Region 9).
The documents below are brochures, handouts and other tools and information aimed at communicating with landowners about forestry-related programs, issues and opportunities.
- NRCS Forest Futuring Report
The Forestry Futuring Team makes recommendations to NRCS regarding what should be the agency's future role and staffing in order to efficiently deliver technical assistance in forestry and agroforestry. The team's recommendations will focus on the forestry and agroforestry training/technology/information that District Conservationists will need to meet the anticipated requests for assistance from private landowners. The recommendations will also address how NRCS will meet the current and future need to provide forstry interpretations for soil surveys.
- Joint Forestry Team MOU Implementation Webinar (PDF)
In November, the JFT hosted a webinar to discuss highlights from the survey responses and other forestry issues.
- Communication Plan targeted at forest landowners in Washington State
This communication plan was developed by NRCS and Washington State Department of Natural Resources for the purpose of making forest landowners (particularly those with Forest Stewardship Plans) aware of technical and financial assistance available through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program and how that assistance can help them implement their plans.
- EQIP Forestry Campaign Pamphlet Brochure
This brochure provides forest landowners in Washington State with information on how to keep their forests healthy through the technical and financial assistance offered through the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
- National Forests in the Farm Bill Customizable PowerPoint Template
NRCS, USFS, and FSA developed a customizable PowerPoint presentation in March 2009 to be used as a template that state partners could customize for use in 2008 Farm Bill workshops. State partners are encouraged to delete/hide program slides that are not relevant to their landowners/producers and to consider adding slides that provide details about how programs are delivered (e.g., program priorities, sign-ups, application ranking processes, payment rates).
- Indiana Forests in the Farm Bill Example Presentation
This PowerPoint presentation was used by Indiana partners (e.g., NRCS, IN DNR, FSA, IN Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts) at a April 2009 workshop to inform landowners and cooperators about new opportunities for forestry-related conservation assistance in the 2008 Farm Bill. More forestry resources from the Indiana partners are available at http://www.iaswcd.org/icp/icpforestry.html.
- Montana Forests in the Farm Bill Workshop Handouts
Montana partners used these materials at a April 2009 workshop to inform landowners and cooperators about new opportunities for forestry-related conservation assistance in the 2008 Farm Bill. Workshop presenters included Montana DNRC, NRCS, FSA, University of Montana and U.S. Forest Service. The workshop was sponsored by the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition, American Forest Foundation and the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition.
- Joint Fire Letter
The leaders of NASF, NACD, NRCS, USFS and the Office of Wildland Fire Coordination for the Department of Interior jointly signed a letter in October 2008 encouraging agency leaders at the regional, state and local level to facilitate improved communication with private landowners and other interested citizens about wildland fire activities. The letter also provides links to two additional resources: 1) Montana Interagency Coordination Guide: Working with Communities and Private Landowners, Before, During and After Wildfires and 2) Earning Bridges.
Integration of Forest Management Plans
The section below contains examples of joint efforts to integrate NRCS conservation plans with Forest Stewardship plans.
- Montana Forest Stewardship-Tree Farm-NRCS Conservation Plan
Montana State University Extension Forestry developed this plan with cooperation and endorsement from American Forest Foundation (Tree Farm) Family Forestry Program, U.S. Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Montana Association of Conservation Districts. The Plan meets or exceeds the Forest Stewardship Plan national standards and guidelines, the American Tree Farm System Management Plan requirements, and, as determined by Montana NRCS, NRCS Forest Management Plan requirements for cost-share participation in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The plan is not intended to meet NRCS Conservation Activity Plan requirements. For more information about the Montana plan template and to download a copy, go to the Montana Tree Farm System website at http://mttreefarm.org/Management%20Plan/management-plan.html.
- Montana Union of Forest Stewardship and Forest Management Plans
Rob Ethridge, Montana DNRC, presented the Montana Union of Forest Stewardship and Forest Management Plans PowerPoint presentation on the May 4, 2009, JFT web conference. The presentation highlights Montana partners’ successful efforts to develop a forest management plan template that is endorsed by the American Forest Foundation Family Forestry Program, U.S. Forest Service, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Montana Association of Conservation Districts, and Montana State University Extension Forestry.