WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2016 – The Central Sierra Recovery and Restoration Project in the Sierra National Forest in California is the big winner among the 10 new projects earmarked for funding in 2017 through USDA’s Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership.

The project is earmarked for $3.37 million of the $32 million USDA is investing in new projects and in support of 26 projects already underway, all aimed at improving the health and resiliency of ecosystems where public forests and grasslands connect to privately-owned lands.

The partnership is a collaboration between two USDA agencies – the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Forest Service. USDA says federal, state, and local partners will bring an additional $30 million through financial and in-kind contributions over three years to help implement the newly added projects. With this funding, Joint Chiefs' projects will extend to 29 states.

"This collaboration helps local partners meet the growing challenges faced by all stakeholders that comes with protecting communities, watersheds, forests and woodlands from the devastating and costly impacts of wildfires and other threats, while protecting water resources, and improving wildlife habitat," USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie said in a release.

Bonnie cited the recently completed Lake Superior Basin Landscape Restoration Project in Wisconsin as an example of how the partnership can work to provide multiple resource benefits on public, private and tribal lands.

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According to USDA, the nearly $4.4 million project improved and restored critical spawning habitat for brook trout by reducing sedimentation and removing in-stream barriers on 48 miles of rivers and streams; improved nesting habitat for Golden-winged warblers, Kirtland warblers and Sharp-tailed grouse on nearly 3,000 acres; and reduced hazardous fuels on more than 5,360 acres of public lands.

"The Lake Superior project and other Joint Chiefs' projects show that smart, proactive investment in restoring forest ecosystems in these landscapes yields extraordinary benefits for landowners, communities, taxpayers, and wildlife," Bonnie said.

The 10 new projects and the amounts of USDA funding are listed below. For full project descriptions and information on completed projects, visit the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership website.

Alaska – Prince of Wales Island Landscape Restoration Partnership (Tongass National Forest) $490,197 (Forest Service $392,197, NRCS $98,000)

California – Central Sierra Recovery and Restoration Project (Sierra National Forest)

$3,370,911 (Forest Service $1,799,344, NRCS $1,571,567)

Michigan – Partnering for Watershed Restoration of Lake Superior (Ottawa National Forest) $176,400 Forest Service

Nebraska – Nebraska Northwest Landscape Restoration Project (Nebraska National Forest and Pawnee National Grasslands) $874,746 (Forest Service $547,336, NRCS $327,410)

Oregon – Salmon Superhighway Basin Management Project (Siuslaw National Forest)

$412,855 (Forest Service $162,855, NRCS $250,000)

Oregon – North Warner Multi-Ownership Forest Health Project (Fremont-Winerna National Forest) $1,149,283 (Forest Service $353,084, NRCS $796,199)

Pennsylvania – Sustaining Pennsylvania's Oak Ecosystems through Partnership in Forest Management (Allegheny National Forest) $1,074,030 (Forest Service $724,030, NRCS $350,000)

Utah – Monroe Mountain Aspen Ecosystems Restoration Project (Fishlake National Forest) $434,107 (Forest Service $375,765, NRCS 58,342)

Virginia – Lower Cowpasture Restoration Project (George Washington National Forest and Jefferson National Forest) $523,984 (Forest Service $373,984, NRCS $150,000)

West Virginia – Appalachian Ecosystem Restoration Initiative (Monongahela National Forest) $1,561,896 (Forest Service $526,612, NRCS $1,035,284).

Since 2009, USDA said it has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect over 400 million acres nationwide, boosting soil and air quality, cleaning and conserving water and enhancing wildlife habitat.


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