AUGUST 18, 2010

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announces selection of collaborative forest restoration projects

Projects in 9 states will help improve forest health and water quality
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WASHINGTON – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects in nine states that promote healthier, safer and more productive public lands. The projects include partnership efforts on forest restoration treatments that reduce wildfire risk, enhance fish and wildlife habitats, and maintain and improve water quality.

"Working collaboratively with partners at the state, local and private level is an important part of the all-lands approach to improving the health our nation's forests," said Vilsack. "These projects will address forest restoration across landscapes, irrespective of ownership boundaries and helping create not only healthy forests and waterways and create green jobs and economic opportunity in rural communities."

The projects, funded at $10 million, were selected based on the recommendations of a 15-member Advisory Committee. Advisory committee members were selected based on their technical expertise, the points-of-view represented, which geographic region of the country they represent and diverse backgrounds.

"With the announcement of these selections, this valuable restoration work can begin to promote healthier, resilient, and more productive forested landscapes," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "We look forward to working with our community partners to achieve this vitally important work."

The project for Arizona is a four Forest Restoration Initiative of $2 million. This initiative, located on the Apache-Sitgraeves, Kaibab, Coconino and Tonto National forests, focuses on the restoration of the southwestern ponderosa pine ecosystem and will treat up to 50,000 acres per year. The work will include prescribed fire and management of natural fires for restoration objectives. Mechanical thinning will also engage new industry to insure that nearly all of the cost of removal of the thinning byproducts is covered by the value of the products.

Additional information about the program can be found at: