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2016 New Project Summaries – Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership

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NRCS and the U.S. Forest Service are investing $7 million in 11 new projects and $33 million in existing projects through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership. Below are descriptions of new fiscal year 2016 projects:

Alabama – “My Alabama Woods Restoration” Team, Restoring Shortleaf and Longleaf Pine

The “My Alabama Woods Restoration” project is located across multiple counties in Northwestern and Northeast Alabama. The project area is located at the center of ongoing partnerships working to restore both longleaf and shortleaf pine. The goal of this project is to build upon ongoing work to expand restoration of shortleaf pine to an additional 1,375 acres across the project area. Technical assistance will also be provided to privately owned lands within the counties in the project area.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $100,000; NRCS - $194,537

Forests: National Forests in Alabama

Partners: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; American Forest Foundation; Alabama Forestry Association; Auburn University – School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; Alabama Forestry Commission; Alabama Treasured Forest Association.

Arkansas and Oklahoma – Woodland Restoration 2016-2018

Within the project area, most forestlands are characterized by a closed canopy and an understory dominated by low-valued hardwoods, with little herbaceous cover. Existing conditions are increasingly susceptible to stressors, such as periodic drought, native and non-native forest insects, and climate change. This project will focus on restoring a more resilient, open woodland structure. Project activities will improve water quality and quantity, improve habitat for federally listed species, reduce wildfire losses, improve forest health, and provide environmental education. Funding from NRCS targeted at forest landowners will make a substantial impact on the resiliency of private forests by building on the success of a current Joint Chiefs’ project – the Western Arkansas Woodland Restoration Project (WAWRP). This project will also help enhance economic development opportunities for chronically impoverished counties

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $318,750; NRCS - $350,000

Forests: Ozark St. Francis and Ouachita

Partners: Oklahoma Forestry Services; Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation; Arkansas Game and Fish Commission; Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts; Oklahoma Conservation Districts; Arkansas Forestry Association; The Nature Conservancy - Arkansas; Native Expeditions; National Wild Turkey Federation; Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission; Monarch Watch; Arkansas Natural Resources Commission; Central Hardwood Joint Venture; 27 organizations involved with the Shortleaf Bluestem Community and Ozark Highlands projects.

California – San Gabriel/Sierra Pelona All Landscape Restoration Project

Located in Los Angeles County in the Central Transverse Range, this project will assist communities and adjacent landowners in forest stand improvement, watershed management, and defensible space on private and National Forest System lands. This area has been impacted by fires, drought, and invasive beetles, increasing the risk of tree mortality and severe fires. Project activities focus on community assistance and fuelbreak projects, forest-wide invasive weed strategy and revegetation restoration, and forest health projects.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS- $180,000; NRCS - $93,000

Forest: Angeles

Partners: National Forest Foundation; Southern California Edison; Los Angeles County Department of Public Works; National Forest Wildlife Foundation; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; TheTreePeople; Civilian Conservation Corps; Antelope Valley Resource Conservation District; LA County Consolidated Fire District; Habitat Works; Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

California – Trinity County Community Protection Project

Over the past decade, significant federal resources have been spent suppressing fires that burned over 300,000 acres in the project area, resulting in dozens of community evacuations. 2015 saw multiple lightning complexes threaten communities, habitat, and resources across the project area. This project will build on work done over the past three years by the Trinity County Collaborative Group. The project’s primary goals are community wildfire protection and restoration of ecological processes, while also enhancing habitat for at-risk species, such as the Coho salmon. By working with diverse partners and private landowners, this project will establish a sustainable system of shaded fuelbreaks and strategic fuel treatments to reduce the potential for high severity wildfires while benefiting aquatic and terrestrial habitats, sensitive populations, and watersheds.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $497,250; NRCS - $50,000

Forests: Shasta Trinity and Six Rivers

Partners: Trinity County Collaborative Group; Trinity County Board of Supervisors; Watershed Research and Training Center; Trinity County Resource Conservation District; Yurok Tribe; National Forest Foundation; The Nature Conservancy; Trinity County Fire Safe Council; Trinity Timberlands; Sierra Pacific Industries.

Georgia and South Carolina – Cherokee Foothills Fire Adapted Landscape Restoration Project

Multiple federal, state and non-governmental partners have been working together in a collaborative across the project area to reduce hazardous fuels while promoting native species restoration on a fire-adapted landscape. This project will build off of the work being accomplished through two initiatives – the Southern Blue Ridge Fire Learning Network and the Fire Adapted Communities Initiative. The project will focus on expanding the capacity within the landscape to restore forest health and reduce fuel loads; improve habitat for at-risk species; and create educational and outreach programs and management plans for private landowners.

          Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $200,000; NRCS - $112,510

Forests: Chattahoochee-Oconee and Sumter

Partners: Chestate/Chattahoochee RC&D; The Nature Conservancy South Carolina and Georgia; South Carolina Forestry Commission; Georgia Department of Natural Resources; Georgia Forestry Commission.

Idaho – Curlew National Grasslands Area Restoration Project

The Curlew Area Restoration Project consists of several multifaceted and interrelated projects planned for the Curlew National Grassland and adjacent private lands. These projects have been developed to improve watershed and natural resource conditions while benefitting local farmers and ranchers, along with the wildlife and the public using the lands. Project activities will improve public safety, improve water quality and aquatic habitat, increase riparian and wetland habitat, remove invasive plants, protect sagebrush habitat, improve grazing and farming practices, improve recreation opportunities and increase public awareness about restoration activities.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $207,375; NRCS - $279,179

Forest: Caribou-Targhee

Partners: Sugarloaf:  Federal Highway and Local Highway Technical Assistance Council; State of Idaho; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Sagebrush Stepp Regional Land Trust; Oneida County; Idaho Transportation Department; Idaho Fish and Game; Idaho Department of Environmental Quality; Idaho Parks and Recreation; Curlew Grazing Association

Indiana – Hoosier Hills and Highlands Oak Community Restoration Partnership

The Hoosier Hills and Highlands Oak Community Restoration Partnership project area is located within 18 counties of the most heavily forested and biologically diverse forest systems in the Central Hardwoods Region. The area provides habitat for federal and state-listed bats, birds, cave-dwelling species, and other declining wildlife species and also contains watersheds that provide drinking water to several communities. This project seeks to consolidate the individual efforts of a variety of partners focusing on oak community regeneration within the region. Project activities will help improve water quality, reduce wildfire risk, and enhance at-risk habitat on public and private lands. The project will also promote improved and complementary conservation and restoration practices on private lands, ensure consistent education and outreach, and enable implementation of preferred practices.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $504,000; NRCS - $505,000

Forest: Hoosier

Partners: Indiana Department of Natural Resources; Department of Defense; wide range of Soil and Water Conservation Districts; The Nature Conservancy; Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management; USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Indiana Forestry and Woodland Owners Association; Indiana Association of Consulting Foresters; Central Hardwoods Joint Venture; Lost River Watershed Group; Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts; Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources Extension; Indiana State Department of Agriculture; Sycamore Land Trust; National Wild Turkey Federation; National Audubon Society; Ruffed Grouse Society; American Woodcock Society.

Louisiana – Joint Chiefs’ Louisiana Longleaf Pine Partnership Project

The West Louisiana Ecosystem Partnership is a local coalition consisting of the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Department of Defense, Fort Polk and Joint Readiness Training Center. The goal of this coalition is to collaboratively accelerate restoration of longleaf pine and other native ecosystems within a six-parish conservation area anchored by Fort Polk and the Kisatchie NF. This project will expand the acreage of forestland actively managed for the longleaf pine ecosystem. Such habitat supports several at-risk species, which will benefit from riparian enhancements, use of best management practices, and restoration of native plants. In addition to implementing cross-boundary restoration, the project will also reduce the threat of wildfire to local communities, provide water quality protection, and implement forest management practices on private lands.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $203,007; NRCS - $29,735

Forest: Kisatchie

Partners: Department of Defense; Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Soil and Water Conservation Districts; National Wild Turkey Federation; The Nature Conservancy; Louisiana Forestry Association; USDA APHIS-Wildlife Services.

Oregon – Greater La Pine Basin Cohesive Strategy Project

This project leverages strong partnerships across diverse organizations and community groups to integrate multiple objectives across the landscape. This includes increasing forest resiliency to insects, disease, and fire; enhancing and protecting water yield and quality; improving wildlife habitat; and engaging communities to increase awareness about the project. Spanning 344,701 acres the project area includes state, public, and private lands. The project will implement activities focused on hazardous fuels reduction, restoration, and maintenance on federal lands, fuels reduction and restoration work on private lands, and outreach and education to assist local communities in becoming more fire-adapted.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $952,125; NRCS - $250,000

Forest: Deschutes

Partners: Deschutes County; Project Wildfire; Oregon Department of Forestry; U.S. Bureau of Land Management; Oregon State University Extension; Walker Range; Oregon Department of Corrections; Upper Deschutes River Coalition; Upper Deschutes Watershed Council; Firewise Communities; Klamath County; Central Oregon Fire Chief’s Association; Central Oregon Cohesive Strategy Initiative; Deschutes Fire Learning Network; Oregon Department of Transportation; Oregon Department of Agriculture; Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Tennessee – Joint Watershed Restoration Project

Within the project area, nonpoint source pollution has been identified as a major source of water use impairment to surface waters in the Hiawassee river basin, with agriculture being a major contributor. Past and current land uses have resulted in the loss of riparian forests leading to tributaries of the Hiawasee river basin being impacted by sediment, nutrients, and high stream temperatures. This project will focus on improving water quality and the resiliency of the forest ecosystem and at-risk aquatic ecosystem within the project area. Ultimately, the project will benefit the surface water sources for over 150,000 watershed residents and multiple industrial users through a strong, local partnership between private and non-private groups.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $567,375; NRCS - $520,000

Forest: Cherokee

Partners: Tennessee Division of Forestry; Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Bradley and Polk Soil Conservation Districts.

Washington – All Lands, All Hands: Building Resilient Landscapes and Fire Adapted Communities in Washington’s East Cascades

A partnership including 30 organizations has been working to address the increasing threats facing the East Cascades from severe wildfire and insect outbreaks. This project will build upon existing collaborative efforts to improve landscape resiliency and forest health and reduce community risk across three project areas. Project activities will focus on implementing forest and aquatic projects on public lands and funding strategic fuels reduction and aquatic habitat restoration projects on private and state lands. Overall, these activities will contribute to an increased pace and scale of restoration across the region, while enhancing habitat and protecting water quality and quantity.

Fiscal year 2016 funding: USFS - $200,000; NRCS - $580,000

Forest: Okanogan-Wenatchee

Partners: Washington Department of Natural Resources; Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; The Nature Conservancy; Conservation Districts; Yakama Nation; Washington Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network; North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative; Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative.