USDA Investing in Wildfire Mitigation and Water Quality Projects

The agency will invest nearly $32 million in 2018 to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, and restore health forest ecosystems in 24 states and Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will invest nearly $32 million in 2018 to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, and restore health forest ecosystems in 24 states and Puerto Rico. Since 2014, USDA has invested $176 million in 56 Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership Projects, which focus on areas where public grasslands and forests intersect with privately owned lands, the agency announced.

The Joint Chiefs partner USDA agencies will provide $2.9 million to fund seven new projects and $29 million to support 21 ongoing partnership projects in 2018. Federal, state, and local partners will contribute an additional $12 million over three years to implement the newly added projects, which contribute to jobs and economic benefits for rural communities.

"Through Joint Chiefs, the Natural Resources Conservation Service works with agricultural producers and forest landowners to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs, and the Forest Service enhances forest health on public lands -- stitching together a larger footprint of healthy ecosystems in priority areas," said Leonard Jordan, acting NRCS chief.

With Joint Chiefs projects, USDA will be working with local partners to control invasive species, install fire breaks, and implement other practices to help mitigate wildfire risks. Joint Chiefs projects also work to improve water quality via healthy forests and grasslands restoration.

The seven new 2018 projects include Taos Valley Watershed Coalition (Carson National Forest), Landscape-scale Restoration Initiative to Establish Biological Corridors and Restore Ecosystem Functionality after the Impact of a Major Hurricane in the Caribbean Area (six watersheds in Puerto Rico), and Wildfire Prevention and Invasive Plant Control in West Maui (West Maui Mountains, non-national forest).

More information on the seven new projects and completed projects can be found here.

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