USDA Forest Service invests $20M to restore forests, reduce wildfire risk, and create jobs in 18 states

USDA Forest Service invests $20M to restore forests, reduce wildfire risk, and create jobs in 18 states

Good Neighbor Authority leverages state and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds to accomplish critical work on national forests and grasslands

Washington – Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service announced that it is investing more than $20 million for projects that reduce wildfire risk and restore healthy forests while creating jobs through USDA’s Good Neighbor Authority. The Good Neighbor Authority allows the USDA Forest Service to enter into agreements with state forestry agencies to complete critical management work that keeps our forests healthy and productive.

Made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the investments will fund projects and leverage state resources across 18 states to protect communities, improve forest health, reduce invasive plants, and improve watersheds, while creating job opportunities for state crews in rural areas.

“The work accomplished through the Good Neighbor Authority demonstrates what we can achieve when we work with partners to leverage capacity, funding, and knowledge,” said Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “Co-stewardship with the states, tribes, and counties increases capacity and allows for greater opportunities and resources for us all to do the critical management work needed to keep our forest healthy and productive. have the potential to greatly increase the pace and scale of our work, making communities safer and ensuring natural resources like clean drinking water are protected.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is part of the Biden-Harris Investing in America agenda to grow the American economy from the middle out and bottom up, by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing investments, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient.

Background on Good Neighbor Authority:

Established by Congress in 2014, Good Neighbor Authority provides the Forest Service a simple and straightforward way to enter into management agreements with states, tribes and counties. Today, the Good Neighbor Authority is essential in pooling federal, state, Tribal, and county resources to complete more forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration work on national forests and grasslands.

The Good Neighbor Authority funds work like the Tillicum Hazardous Fuels Reduction project on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, which reduces wildfire risk to the nearby city of Entiat and protects resources like clean drinking water. The project’s fuel reduction work is a part of the Central Washington Initiative, capes identified in the Forest Service’s 10-year strategy to promote resilient landscapes and communities.

This landscape-scale restoration project, expected to be completed this month, covers more than 4,000 acres. It is the largest, single contract non-commercial fuels reduction project completed in Washington State using the Good Neighbor Authority and leverages $3.3 million in state funding.

In total, there are 26 projects using existing collaboratives and Good Neighbor Authority agreements. Selected projects strengthen partnerships, enhance shared stewardship, and prioritize and advance work to improve forests conditions and protect communities based on state and federal management plans.

Visit the Forest Service website for a complete list of projects and more information on Good Neighbor Authority.