Part of the national Joint Forestry Team's mission is to draw attention to local, state and regional projects that bring forestry partners from various agencies and organizations together...
North Dakota State Forestry, Conservation Districts partner on many projects
Several years ago, Barnes County Soil Conservation District (SCD) employee Lori Frank was approached by the North Dakota Forest Service to apply for a U.S. Forest Service wildfire grant project. While working on the grant application the Bucyrus Fire struck Adams County (Frank’s previous home country). Local residents – some of them Frank’s friends – had less than 20 minutes to gather whatever possessions they could from their homes.
The Wyoming way to combat wildfire
The best defense against catastrophic wildfire is a good offense – sound forest management to improve forest health and reduce fuel loads. But state and federal land managers often do not have the luxury to invest; same as catastrophic wildfires consume forests, fire suppression dollars consume budgets.
The State of Wyoming is doing its part to reverse this trend. Recent fire seasons in Wyoming have been mild, leaving unused money from the state’s suppression fund. The governor’s office, with approval from the state legislature, made the money available for the removal of mountain pine beetle-infested trees throughout the state. Two $1 million grants were created for the work, under the direction of the Wyoming State Forestry Division.
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Two Chiefs Partnership Awards
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) collect nominations each year for the Two Chiefs’ Partnership Awards. The awards are given to recognize successful conservation efforts made possible through partnerships among employees or officials from state forestry agencies and conservation districts, as well as Forest Service and NRCS, who have worked collaboratively to support conservation and forest stewardship.
2013 Award Winners
- Kurt Atkinson, Assistant Director, Oklahoma Forestry Services
Through Kurt's leadership and partnering efforts, NRCS forestry activities in Oklahoma have rapidly accelerated in recent years. Kurt promoted a closer working relationship between the Oklahoma Forestry Services and NRCS, and encouraged NRCS to expand their forestry related activities in southeastern Oklahoma.
Kurt was heavily involved in the formation of an Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Local Emphasis Area in southeastern Oklahoma. He encouraged close working relationships between Oklahoma Forestry Services foresters and local NRCS District Conservationists to promote sound conservation planning with forest landowners including financial assistance to implement the plans. To date, $1.9 million in EQIP financial assistance has been targeted to forest landowners as a result of this partnership. Kurt's efforts have had a noticeable impact on the extent and quality of forest landowner technical assistance provided in the state.
- Denise Coleman, State Conservationist, NRCS Pennsylvania State Office
Denise is a collaborative leader who promotes strong working partnerships with local, state and regional agencies, universities, and conservation groups, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, to address a diverse array of natural resource issues. Denise spearheaded the $2.2 million Golden-winged Warbler project in Pennsylvania that is restoring key habitat for the declining species. Denise also partnered with Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry leadership to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and guidance document to streamline private forest landowner technical assistance. Through a MOU, local Bureau personnel provide technical assistance to landowners using NRCS EQIP funds. In 2013, there were 100 EQIP forest management plans and 73 EQIP contracts totaling $1.3 million to implement forestry practices on private land. In 2014, there were 103 forest management plan applications and 203 EQIP forestry contract applications totaling $1.6 million.
- Lewis and Clark Fuel Break Partnership
Mindy Gauthier, NRCS Montana State Office; Diane Fitzgerald, NRCS Montana State Office; Jim Williams, NRCS Montana State Office; Chris Evans, Lewis and Clark
Conservation District; Montana Department of Natural Resources Forestry Division - Central Land Office and Clearwater Land Office
After the 2006 pine beetle infestation, the Lewis and Clark Fuel Break Partnership (the Partnership) formed to address fire risk and potential post-fire issues on private lands. Partners worked together on a fuel break initiative to assist private landowners and protect public resources. They collaborated with private landowners to target fuel breaks near structures and critical roads. Landowners in target areas received NRCS funds to implement fuel breaks. The Partnership received a Chiefs' Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership Award to implement 675 acres of fuel break in the Ten Mile watershed that includes the City of Helena's water supply.
Since its inception, the Partnership has implemented fuel breaks on 950 acres, with another 700 acres planned. Forest stand improvements have taken place on 1,400 acres throughout Lewis and Clark County. These efforts resulted in substantially different fire behavior; the treated areas often force fire out of tree crowns and to the ground, where it can be controlled by fire crews.
- Weston and Crook Counties Mountain Pine Beetle Initiative
Jennifer Hinkhouse, Weston County Resource District; Sarah Mason, Crook County Resource District; Hale Reddning, Weston County Weed and Pest; Bob Gilbert, Crook County Weed and Pest; Craig Bobcien, USDA Forest Service; Rich Miller, Bureau of Land Management; Bill Kohlbrand, Wyoming State Forestry; Kara Dunlop, USDA Forest Service;
Keela Deaton, NRCS Wyoming State Office; Paul Eitel,NRCS Wyoming State Office; Randy Wiggins, NRCS Wyoming State Office
A "super partnership" including Resource Districts, County Weed and Pest, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Wyoming State Forestry, NRCS Wyoming State Office, the Nationa l Wild Turkey Federation, and local landowners used a proactive approach to address a Mountain Pine Beetle infestation before it became too large to overcome. Conservation Districts led landowner education workshops on beetle identification and treatment methods.
Wyoming State Forestry flew over the area to identify treatment areas. NRCS created a Geospatial Information System layer, which correlated data with aerial images to create a baseline inventory. The information was used for resource planning and to track beetle movements. Partners funded a forester to help identify infected trees, develop forest management plans, and implement management practices on private forests utilizing EQIP funds.
The "super partnership" works collectively to find the best management practices for each specific location. To date, financial support in the amount of $472,021 has been provided to 925 landowner agreements, which include over 1,369 acres (an additional 1,867 acres are planned).
- Florida Land Stewards
Chris Demers, University of Florida School of Forest Resources and Conservation; Anthony Grossman, Florida Forest Service; Joe Prenger, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Michael Bush, NRCS Florida State Office
This coalition created a first-of-its-kind, one-stop private forest landowner center to enhance natural resource management capabilities. The center utilizes multiple communication tools to deliver information and technical assistance to landowners, including a website, email listserv, Facebook page, and blog, to distribute land stewardship information and publicize upcoming events. Outreach program s organized and coordinated by Florida Land Stewards partners are attended by diverse audiences. The partners also created multi-agency teams to develop whole property management plans and provide technical assistance to landowners.
This program serves as a timely centralized source of partners' information on forestry, agriculture, and natural resource management. Outreach efforts allow attendees to receive information and services in a unified package, which helps prevent duplication of effort, contradictory messages, or missed opportunities. Partners' outreach efforts resulted in 38,800 website hits in 2013, email updates sent to 1,500 landowners and professionals, and over 7,000 calendars distributed annually.
- Pike County Woodland Owner Outreach
Rick Merritt, Missouri Tree Farm Committee; Zach Rasche, Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District; David Vance,Missouri Department of Conservation; and Keith Jackson, USDA NRCS
Pike County Soil and Water Conservation District, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the NRCS Missouri State Office, in cooperation with the American Tree Farm System, used innovative approaches to reach landowners. Partners compared plat book landowner information to aerial photography to create a database of landowners with at least 40 contiguous forested acres. Landowners in the target areas received multiple mailings promoting two woodland management workshops. Articles and advertisements were placed in local newspapers and in Soil and Water Conservation District and Farm Service Agency newsletters. Seventy landowners attended workshops in 2012 and one hundred landowners attended in 2013.
Remaining funds were used to rent billboard s along a major highway in the target areas. The billboard s promoted sound private forest land management. Partners' outreach and education efforts will result in increased forest management and improved forest health in Pike County.
- White Mountain Soil-Site-Vegetation Project
Robert Long, USDA NRCS; Jessica Phillipe, USDA NRCS; Roger Deckett, USDA NRCS; Martha Stuart, USDANRCS; Mark Duey, University of New Hampshire; Thomas Lee, University of New Hampshire; Michael Palace, University of New Hampshire; Scott Bailey, USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station; Gregory Nowacki, USDA Forest Service, Region 9; Robert Colter, USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest; Erica Roberts, USDA Forest Service, White Mountain National Forest.
The team established a partnership in 2011 to increase the understanding of soil-site-vegetation relationships on the White Mountain National Forest with a collective goal of producing Terrestrial Ecological Units (TEU) and Ecological Site Descriptions (ESD). The project created a new tool using high-resolution Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) images and utilized the application of NRCS' Soil Inference Engine to map a 20,000-acre watershed. This watershed covers almost the full range of soil parent material, elevation, and nutrient gradients of the Forest. Samples taken from approximately 200 soil-site-vegetation plots are being used to test the new tools' results.
The partners collaborated in providing training and professional development for soil scientists, ecologists, and other research scientists. This collaboration has laid the groundwork for future TEU/ESD projects across the country and created stepwise procedures to facilitate future collaboration.
2011 Award Winners
- Cynthia Tarwater
Cynthia is the Watershed Restoration Project Implementation Coordinator for the Trinity County Resource Conservation District. She has a passion for restoration of the Trinity River System. As the Project Coordinator, Cynthia’s responsibilities include: actively seeking funds and assisting with planning and implementing a watershed restoration program through the sediment impaired Trinity River basin, including the South Fork Trinity River watershed, one of the most unstable and erosion-prone landscapes in Northern California, where restoration work requires substantial technical knowledge and expertise.
Over the past 15 years, the partnership has focused on road decommissioning and road drainage improvements. Cynthia works closely with the Forest Service to assess and prioritize watershed restoration needs. Her dedication to land restoration include some of the following achievements: securing over $5 million in outside partner funding to match $2.5 million in Federal funding, decommissioning over 300 stream crossings, removing over 250,000 cubic yards of sediment from the channel system and reducing erosion sedimentation and road maintenance needs by improving draining on over 300 miles of road. The success of the restoration program is due in great part to Cynthia’s expertise, attention to detail, and personnel dedication.
- Carl Garrison, and John Bricker
Through the strong leadership of State Forester Carl Garrison and State Conservationist John Bricker, the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and Virginia National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) have expanded their partnership beyond traditional boundaries using “targeted” agreements to deliver more conservation practices without adding additional staff. Two agencies have increased the development of forest management plans, trained more than 300 natural resource professionals, and triples the number of technical assistance providers in just one year. NRCS and VDOF increased direct technical assistance to landowners to support Farm Bill programs. VDOF staff promoted the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program, and the Conservation Stewardship Program, developed forestry management plans, and worked closely with landowners to instill forestry practices. Virginia became one of the first states to sign an agreement between VDOF, NRCS, and the Virginia Tree Farm Committee acknowledging the equivalence of Forest Stewardship, Tree Farm, and Conservation Activity Plans 106 forest management plans. These efforts have benefited several organizations and agencies, including the USDA Farm Service Agency, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Virginia Department of Games and Inland Fisheries, and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
- Texas Conservation Collaborative
This is a partnership among the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, the NRCS, the Texas Forest Service, and Polk-San Jacinto Soil and Water Conservation District to restore longleaf pine to its historical range. The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has enrolled 400 acres into NRCS’s longleaf pine landscape initiative through the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program. This is the first time the Tribe has signed a contract with NRCS as part of a Farm Bill program. The Tribe’s history dates to the 1700’s, when they settled in East Texas’ Big Thicket. Longleaf pine trees are a treasured cultural resource used for centuries in making handmade baskets from the needles. Leaders of the Tribe recognized the need to create a sustainable supply of the needles and approached the NRCS to help them accomplish this goal. This successful partnership benefits the estimated 1,150 Tribal members and future generations, along with the land’s wildlife habitat, and aesthetic and recreational value. Partners have developed and implemented a conservation plan focused on restoration and enhancement of this diverse ecosystem. Site preparation has begun and tree planting is schedules for 2012. A successful multi-media outreach effort includes feature stories in newspapers and partner publications. A video featuring this project has reached numerous outlets, including RFD-TV’s Voices of Agriculture. This partnership was featured at the 2011 Intertribal Agriculture Council and Indian Nations Conservation Alliance symposium.
The Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) and the Forest Service Southern Region (Southern Region) worked with Southern Regional Extension Forestry, North Carolina State University, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, NRCS, and North Carolina A&T State University to produce five webinars in fiscal year 2011 through the Forestry and Natural Resources Webinar portal. SRS and the Southern Region invited the NRCS and North Carolina A&T State University to join the partnership to provide leadership in reaching underserved audiences. In collaboration with SRS scientist, Southern Region natural resource specialists, and university scientists, the team delivered two webinars about the Southern Forest Futures Project and three webinars about invasive plants.
Over 900 people - policymakers, scientist, managers, county officials, private and nongovernmental resource specialist, investment specialists, master gardeners, and landowners-have participants in webinars, with potential impact to 49 million acres. Responding participants indicated the total economic value of the webinars equaled $531,924. Live and archived webinars enable participants to save travel dollars and fuel costs. This also equates to a reduction of carbon emissions. For designated webinars, eligible participants can earn continuing education credits through the Society of American Foresters (SAF) and the International Society for Arboriculture (ISA). SAF credits have been awarded to 437 people, and 30 people have earned ISA credits.
Redwood Valley Collaborative Forest Service, NRCS, and CAL FIRE collaboration over the past 12 months treated 314 acres infested with Sudden Oak Death at the Redwood Valley, Humboldt County. For a decade, this disease has ravaged areas of northern California, killing over five million trees. The partnership resulted in a reduction of the disease on lands at Green Diamond Resource Company and twelve small landowner parcels. It reduced the risk of infection in the following adjacent high value areas: Redwood National and State Parks, Bureau of Land Management, Yurok and Hoopa Valley Indian Reservations, and Del Norte County. Eradication efforts here were especially important because the area is far from any other infestations. The large area, remote location, and multiple ownerships made the project particularly challenging.
The U.S. Forest Service and NRCS each contributed $200,000 through the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act and Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative, which was matched by University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and North Coast Land Conservancy. Green Diamond treated its own land. CAL FIRE, NRCS, and the U.S. Forest Service developed the biological and cultural evaluation and treatment recommendations. CAL FIRE, Department of Corrections, provided labor from two Conservation Camps and Able Forestry handled the in-camp logging, Hoopa Reservation staff marked trees. UCCE led the communication and coordination effort that engaged the affected landowners and stakeholders. UCCE also provided project level administrative and financial oversight. Infected material was taken to nearby biomass power plants to create electricity, which supported maintaining biomass infrastructure.
New Hampshire Conservation Leaders
New Hampshire conservation leaders joined forces in 2011 to enhance fish and wildlife habitat improvement on private and federal lands in the Upper Ammonoosuc and Israel River watersheds of Northen New Hampshire. The unique collaboration between the Forest Service and NRCS expands the New Hampshire conservation footprint by connecting the White Mountain Forest lands and privately owned lands to enhance fish and wildlife habitat management. Tom Wagner, Supervisor of the White Mountain National Forest and Rick Ellsmore, New Hampshire NRCS State Conservationist joined forces to pursue landscape-level habitat improvement on federal and private lands in Coos County. NRCS, in cooperation with Brad Simpkins, Acting State Forester, and Darrel Covell, Forestry and Wildlife Program Leader with New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, began to focus Farm Bill resources on private lands to restore and enhance a large and important mass of critical fish and wildlife habitat.
Key forestry agreements with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, New Hampshire Fish and Game, Trout Unlimited, Wildlife Management Institute, Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forest, and New Hampshire Conservation Districts, energizing the New Hampshire wildlife and fisheries, control invasive species, improve dense softwood and aspen birch habitats, decommission logging roads, build fish friendly stream crossings, and reduce soil erosion and sedimentation of surface success, U.S. Forest Service, NRCS, and other partners are working together to protect important forest tracts in other key New Hampshire and multi-state watersheds water quality and fish and wildlife habitat is declining at a rapid rate.
2010 Award Winners
- Cheri Ford
Cheri serves as the Capital City Coordinator for the National Forests in the State of Colorado. Cheri has been vital in moving three Regional/National initiatives forward in the past year with Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) and NRCS partners. She also facilitated, coordinated input and engagement of the seven National Forests and the CSFS on data collection and analysis, review and comment, and strategic outreach and collaborative input for the Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy. Cheri also led the development of a statewide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NRCS, CSFS, and Conservation Districts that describes how the partner agencies will work together to deliver conservation planning and implement technical assistance across all lands.
West Virginia Forest Stewardship Partnership
West Virginia (WV) Division of Forestry, NRCS, and the FS, Monongahela National Forest signed a MOU in 2008. The WV Division of Forestry and NRCS play critical roles in timber and vegetation management on state and private lands, while the Monongahela National Forest manages FS land in the state. These agencies also collaborated to help manage vegetation and soil resources across land ownership boundaries. NRCS and FS capitalized on the depth of skills of the State Forester’s workforce to promote exemplary forest stewardship in West Virginia. The FS provided technical expertise and counsel needed to maximize those benefits on the ground. The WV Division of Forestry assisted the FS with professional foresters to assist with federal workload backlog. The WV forestry community has grown through the accomplishments and collaborative efforts of this partnership.
Alabama Natural Resource Council
The Alabama Natural Resource Council includes 21 members from various federal and state government agencies, organizations representing non-industrial private forest landowners, cooperative extension, and research institutions. The council coordinates on various projects including outreach and education, which includes a field trip for private forest landowners and elementary school children.
One area of active collaboration is an ongoing restoration and maintenance project on 700,000 acres of longleaf pine in Alabama. In 2010, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), thru American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants, received thru the FS, accomplished 2,900 acres of restoration activities on state lands and leveraged funding with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to establish longleaf on 1,256 acres on private lands. In addition, the NRCS obligated $1.16 million of Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) funds to establish/improve longleaf pine on 6,023 acres on private lands and is looking to double those results in fiscal year 2011. The FS is implementing landscape level programs to restore and improve 166,000 acres of existing longleaf on FS lands in Alabama, including prescribed burning over 70,000 acres.
The AFC completed the comprehensive Alabama Statewide Forest Assessment and Resource Strategy in 2010. Through the cooperation of the partnering agencies and organizations, 216 core response strategies were developed. This collaboration of leadership continues with the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for implementation of the response strategies. The MOU represents their commitment to sustaining momentum for conservation of Alabama’s natural resources.
Collaborative Coastal Whole Watershed Restoration: The Siuslaw Partnership
This partnership is composed of organizations and individuals including private landowners, environmental groups, watershed councils, forest restoration contractors, soil and water conservation districts, tribal and local government representatives, and the Siuslaw National Forest. Their designated Stewardship area covers almost 65 percent of the total forest area, plus adjoining private lands within the same watershed. Some innovative tools and approaches the partnership has developed include:
- Work in watersheds is prioritized and plans are completed sequentially, identifying and then completing the mix of integrated actions needed to restore each watershed across multiple ownerships.
- Monthly open stewardship meetings plus regular roundtables and field trips to project sites enables these groups to interact and provide well-vetted feedback to Forest staff on forest restoration plans.
- Student-led ‘charrette’ planning: an interdisciplinary team of graduate students quickly compiles and analyzes historic, social, and scientific information, then guides the local community in developing a conceptual plan for the area. Four of these landscape plans have been implemented across the Forest.
- Extensive use of Wyden Amendment authority includes applying portions of proceeds from Forest Service stewardship timber sales (approximately $150,000- $300,000 annually) as ‘core’ funding for watershed restoration on private lands, encouraging other state, federal and private investments.
This partnership has been successful in completing five watershed restoration projects; nearly completed priority restoration needs in a small tributary and another larger river estuary system; improving community relationships by creating sustainable jobs through a program that produces a dependable output of small diameter, high quality timber; and leveraged the Siuslaw National Forest $1 million restoration fund by an average of $2 million in partner investment in collaborative restoration projects. This partnership has shown tremendous initiative, imagination, and the highest level of professional skills to implement a rapidly expanding, world-class program for forest and watershed restoration.
2009 Award Winners
- Jonas Feinstein
Jonas is awarded for his knowledge and dedication to both Forest Service and NRCS national programs. Jonas diligently uses his knowledge to efficiently apply those programs at the local, state, and regional levels.
- Ohio Forest Resource Partnership
This collaborative effort includes the Ohio Division of Forestry; Forest Service, State & Private Forestry, Northeastern Area; Forest Service, Wayne National Forest; and the Ohio NRCS. Since the group implemented one of the first Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) among a State Conservationist, State Forester, State and Private Field Representative, and a National Forest Supervisor, the group has worked effectively together to increase conservation and stewardship in the state of Ohio. The partnership has successfully attracted funds from incentive programs to apply to conservation and stewardship efforts across landscape boundaries.
Montana Joint Forestry Team
This partnership includes Montana Department of Natural Resources; Forest Service, State and Private Forestry; NRCS; Montana State University; and Montana Association of Conservation Districts. This group has collectively implemented a MOU, which has become a template for the national Joint Forestry Team MOU efforts. The group is also developing a stewardship plan template that can be used for American Tree Farm System, Forest Service Forest Stewardship Program, and NRCS conservation plans. The partnership has been actively working together to structure a cost-share program to support important conservation efforts.
2008 Award Winners
Nikki Lohse (Lake DeSmet Conservation District), Wyoming
Nikki Lohse, working closely with the Forest Service, BLM and NRCS, manages a $3 million dollar sage grouse habitat program, with over 300,000 acres enrolled. This project is a wide-reaching conservation effort across private, state, and federal lands.
Steve Chick, Nebraska State Conservationist -NRCS and Scott Josiah, Nebraska State Forester
The Nebraska Forest Service and Nebraska NRCS have a collaborative partnership that embodies the principles of Cooperative Forestry. The forestry programs from which Nebraska landowners continue to benefit would not have been possible without the strong support and leadership by State Conservationist, Steve Chick, and State Forester, Scott Josiah.
Greg Sundstrom, Colorado Forest Service
Greg Sundstrom works tirelessly to promote collaborative conservation and forest stewardship in Colorado. Greg represents CSFS on the NRCS State Technical committee and partners with the NRCS to promote forestry and engage our personnel in the Technical Service Providers program.
Indian Creek Wildlife Habitat Restoration Initiative (South Carolina)
This unique cooperative conservation project in Newberry County, S.C., is restoring and improving National Forest lands, as well as privately-owned acreage, in the Indian Creek Watershed. The Cooperative Conservation Partners of the Indian Creek Wildlife Habitat Restoration Initiative (WHRI) joined forces to restore and improve habitat for declining species that depend on grasslands and open forest stands.
Washington State Enhanced Forestry Partnership
In just a few years, this precedent setting collaboration and partnership has forged innovative ways to support forestry conservation activities on private lands. Through these collaborative efforts, EQIP forestry practices in Washington State increased 10-fold in just four years.
Maine Forest Working Group
This group helps promote agroforestry, alternative forest products and forestry issues throughout Maine by educating forest landowners about opportunities beyond traditional forest management. The exemplary group has developed an effective and inexpensive educational model that has directly reached over 400 landowners, representing over 10,000 acres of forestland.
Biomass Utilization and Restoration Network for the Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Numerous partners are working jointly on a multi-faceted woody biomass utilization project for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP). The project is promoting opportunities in the UP to facilitate the development of an active and commercially viable woody biomass industry.
2007 Award Winners
Utah Partners for Conservation and Development (UTAHPCD)
A statewide partnership composed of leaders from state and federal agencies, academia, and non-governmental organizations, UtahPCD focuses on multi-stakeholder watershed issues, wildlife habitat improvement, and wildfire rehabilitation. Having initiated 240 restoration projects on 150,000 acres throughout Utah since 2005, this year UtahPCD made a significant contribution towards addressing wildfires in a timely manner. UtahPCD’s rapid response to the State’s historic wildfire season was possible because of in-place infrastructure and relationships. Joint UtahPCD efforts include immediate restoration and long-term rehabilitation planning and support to affected communities.
Kentucky Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) Partnership
This federal, state, and private initiative targets significant resources to the geographic area of the upper Green River to address important agriculture-related environmental concerns under a coordinated effort to protect an extremely valuable and biologically diverse ecosystem – the Mammoth Cave System. This partnership is Kentucky's first designated CREP area and is the single largest conservation program in the state's history to protect a unique and biologically diverse watershed. In addition, this voluntary incentive-based program has solidified and strengthened intergovernmental and public/private partnerships, and through a 'locally led' conservation approach, has now reached two-thirds of its objectives for enrolling land in the CREP.
Clackamas Stewardship Partners (CSP): Restoring the Clackamas River Watershed
The CSP is a group of diverse stakeholders dedicated to restoring ecosystem health and ecological function to the Clackamas River Basin while supporting the economic viability of local communities. Using stewardship contracting authorities, CSP prioritizes, identifies and designs restoration projects to recommend to the Clackamas River Ranger District of the Mt. Hood National Forest. As of the end of 2007, the seven awarded stewardship contracts included 1,350 acres of commercial thinning which then paid for over $1,200,000 of restorative services. An additional $650,000 receipts have been retained to fund additional restoration projects recommended by the CSP. Based upon CSP recommendations, USFS has approved additional restoration projects that will be advertised and awarded in FY08 and FY09.
Outreach to Limited Resource and Minority Forest Landowners in Arkansas
This initiative is composed of partnerships between several agencies working together to assist private landowners in Arkansas in an effort to move conservation to the local level. Through various partnerships, this group of partners has reached out to limited resource and minority forest landowners in the state. Partnering organizations set up several workshops to specifically target minority and limited resource forest landowners, thereby tripling assistance given to this subset of landowners. They also created an Outreach Coordinator staff position to further target minority communities and developed a Revolving Loan Program for the Cost Share portion of the Forest Land Enhancement Program (FLEP) and Southern Pine Beetle Prevention and Restoration Program payment to reduce the financial burden for minority landowners. Partnering organizations also created a Forestry for Women Program to provide forestry education to the ever-growing number of female landowners in the state.
Alder Springs: Forest Health and Carbon Sequestration
This cutting edge intergovernmental and NGO partnership will result in improved forest health, fuel reduction, and comprehensive insight into carbon sequestration methods. The project consists of thinning forest stands and removing biomass to reduce the size and intensity of future wildfires while improving forest health. Biomass removed will be transported to a local co-generation plant for conversion to electricity. Due to current interest in carbon sequestration to help mitigate global warming, Forest Service researchers are collaborating with partners to measure greenhouse gas emission reductions resulting from fuels and forest management treatments; evaluate and quantify potential revenues in current and future carbon markets; and evaluate the potential for renewable energy credits and incentives associated with biomass energy production.
2006 Award Winners
Collaborative work on forest health and fire protection in San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego counties
The USDA Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties have collaborated in a highly effective partnership across ownership lines to seamlessly ensure forest health and fuel treatments are placed in the most critical community protection and evacuation route sites. This work was accomplished in response to the catastrophic forest mortality in southern California forests in San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties. The combination of a five-year drought and insect and diseases resulted in a massive area of vegetation mortality in 2003 -2004 that threatened human safety and had significant economic and ecological impacts on communities and forests. The work of these partners across the landscape has transformed these forests from an explosion waiting to happen to forests with a future.
North Dakota Living Snow Fence Task Force
The North Dakota Living Snow Fence Task Force has been hugely successful in delivering the North Dakota Living Snow Fence Initiative since 1997. Members of the multi-agency Task Force have been exceptionally willing to support the initiative in a unified and collaborative effort toward a common goal. They have utilized existing delivery mechanisms, while taking advantage of a combination of currently available and creative new local, state and federal funding sources. North Dakota has established 526 new projects and planted 833 miles of trees protecting 236 miles of roads in 40 counties. Over $2.8 million in grant funds have been made available.
The Living Snow Fence Initiative has been lead by a pro-active task force who have developed cost-effective and sensible solutions to mitigate life threatening problems. Through initiative, partnerships, resourcefulness and creativity, the Task Force will continue to succeed. In doing so, they will make North Dakota a better, safer place to live.
Restoring Riparian Forests on the Hopi Reservation
The Hopi Tribe Department of Natural Resources, Moenkopi School, FS State & Private Forestry, National Forest System, and Research & Development, and NRCS Los Lunas and Aberdeen Plant Materials Centers have worked together to restor riparian forest on the Hopi reservation. The Hopi are using FS and NRCS training to identify, collect, propagate, and deploy native species to restore their riparian forests after removing invasive species; are using propagation techniques and planting tools developed by FS and NRCS to restore their important plant species; are using curricula prepared by FS and NRCS to teach their children (and Navajo children) about conservation issues; and are involving their children in restoring their lands by growing plants in a Cultural Plant Propagation Center (CPPC) at Moenkopi School.
The Vermont Envirothon has been training high-school students for 12 years in natural resource concepts and challenges. Besides learning basic concepts in soils, forestry, aquatic environment and wildlife, the partners in this program use the environmental issue to send students out into their community to do an assessment, inventory or investigation. The outcome of this partnership is 100 – 200 Vermont students/year with increased environmental literacy. The Natural Resource Conservation Service, Forest Service, Vermont Forestry, Vermont Aquatics, Vermont Wildlife, and Vermont Conservation Districts have partnered in this effort.
National Agroforestry Visual Simulation Kit
The USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC) has developed and delivered the Visual Simulation Kit for creating visual simulations of agroforestry and conservation proposals. This kit consists of the Visual Simulation Guide the CanVis image editing software, and self-paced Training Modules.
NAC worked with the Nebraska Forest Service to beta test the Kit and in June of 2006 Alcorn State University and the Mississippi Forestry Commission hosted two trainings to evaluate the pre-requisite self-paced training modules. Other accomplishments and utilization include:
• 7 training sessions for natural resource professionals,
• NRCS approved the use of CanVis on its CCE,
• The Mississippi Urban Forestry Council will highlight the Kit in their training of over 500 Master Urban Foresters in 2007,
• NOAA is using CanVis with their coastal zone manager partners,
• Over 2,000 copies have been requested requested, including Southern & Auburn Universities for teaching, Trees Forever with community development projects, and numerous RC&Ds, communities, conservation districts and counties from 54 states and territories.
- New Hampshire Environmental Quality Incentives Program
New Hampshire ranks second among the States in terms of forest cover, but its NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) proudly leads the Nation in allocating resources to address forest land environmental concerns. With executive support from NRCS, New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, and University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, the NH State Technical Committee dedicated over 15 percent of its FY-2005 EQIP budget to forest land conservation practices (compared with between 1 and 5 percent in most States).
In FY 2005, EQIP funding was used to accomplish the following:
• 1,246 acres of forest land thinned
• 2 acres of new riparian forest buffers established
• 190 acres of land planted to native trees and shrubs
• 152 acres of forest harvest trails and landings stabilized
• 7,185 acres of forest stand prescription (forest management plans)
- Southeastern Silvopastural Initiative
In 2000 the USDA National Agroforestry Center dedicated the primary staff time of one technology transfer specialist to solicit support from its conservation partners, to identify barriers to implementation, and develop the technology transfer program targeted principally for Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi.The resulting targeted technology transfer program provided:
•12 technical training sessions to over 500 agency personnel and about 50 consultants;
•15 landowner workshops or field days;
• 8 silvopasture demonstration plantings in 5 states;
• An estimated 10,000 acres of new silvopastures established across the south
• Grants supporting CRP to Silvopasture demonstration 4 states, and a cooperative venture with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Alabama Forestry Commission;
• Increased emphasis on silvopasture at universities, particularly 1890 Universities, and agency programs researching and promoting goat-silvopasture for limited resource farmers.
Cooperative Conservation in Missouri
Since March 2002, through the cooperation and leadership of Roger A. Hansen, Missouri NRCS State Conservationist, and John D. Hoskins, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), 10 soil conservationist positions have been established throughout the state focusing on forest stewardship and wildlife management. In response to the 2002 Farm Bill, Hansen and Hoskins decided it was of mutual interest to work together to achieve conservation of fish, forest, and wildlife, as well as soil and water resources, on threatened Missouri agricultural lands. These 10 conservationists work directly with private land users and SWCD cooperators on forestry, fisheries, and wildlife planning, practice application and conservation outreach activities. MDC provides $300,000 per fiscal year to match NRCS funding. As a result of this unique collaboration, Missouri stands out as a national leader in state and federal forestry and wildlife application through cooperative funding.
Arizona National Forest Environmental Quality Incentives Program
NRCS and USFS have always encouraged Coordinated Resource Management on the intermingled private, state, federal, and tribal land ownership in Arizona to improve resource management and to solve problems.
NRCS and USFS piloted the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) on Arizona’s Tonto National Forest in 2004. The pilot project was initiated with the support of the State Technical Committee, the Gila County Cattlegrowers, the Arizona Cattlegrowers, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, NRCS Chief Bruce Knight, and Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey.
The pilot project allowed EQIP cost share funds to be used on any part of a ranching operation being managed under a Coordinated Resource Management plan. NRCS also signed agreements with the University of Arizona, Arizona Cattlegrowers, and Arizona Association of Conservation Districts to help develop case studies on selected ranches across Arizona that represent a variety of land ownerships, vegetation types, and grazing issues.
In 2006, the pilot project was expanded to all national forests in Arizona. As a result of this three year cooperative effort, NRCS and USFS have worked with ranchers and other partners to develop coordinated resource management plans on over 1 million acres of grazing lands. Forty seven coordinated resource management plans were developed over 3 years, and over $5.6 million in EQIP funds have been obligated.
Numerous NRCS Field Office and USFS Ranger District staff provided the daily cooperative work to get the job done. However, there are four individuals I would like to nominate, who provided the leadership to ensure that USDA programs were delivered in the spirit of cooperative conservation.