Excellence Award Recognizes Alabama Natural Resources Council
Auburn, Ala, November 9, 2011
Alabama ANRC receives National Award for conservation and forestry stewardship.
The Alabama Natural Resources Council (ANRC) was recently recognized with the “Two Chiefs’ Partnership Award” given by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the U.S. Forest Service. This annual national award honors individuals and partnerships for outstanding efforts in conservation and forest stewardship.
The Council is comprised of 21 members from various federal and state agencies – including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), and U.S. Forest Service (National Forests in Alabama) – and other organizations representing non-industrial private forest landowners, cooperative extension, and research institutions. This group coordinates on various projects including outreach and education, which involves field trips for private forest landowners and elementary school children.
One area of collaboration is an ongoing restoration and maintenance project on 700,000 acres of longleaf pine in Alabama. In 2010, the AFC, through an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant, accomplished 2,900 acres of restoration activities on state lands and leveraged funding with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to establish longleaf on 1,256 acres on private lands. To date, the NRCS has obligated over $5.2 million of Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds to establish or improve longleaf pine on over 32,000 acres of private lands. The Forest Service is implementing landscape level programs to restore and improve 166,000 acres of existing longleaf on National Forest Service lands in Alabama, including prescribed burning over 70,000 acres.
Another collaboration of leadership was demonstrated with the comprehensive Alabama Statewide Forest Assessment and Resource Strategy which the AFC completed in 2010. Through cooperation of the partnering agencies and organizations, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was developed for implementation of response strategies to address all of the identified threats to the state’s forests. This MOU represents the commitment to sustaining momentum for conservation of Alabama’s natural resources.
NRCS State Conservationist Dr. William Puckett and AFC State Forester Linda Casey were recipients of individual awards in recognition of their commitment to improve and promote conservation of Alabama’s natural resources. “This is an award that recognizes the strength of partnerships,” said Puckett. “Working with others to promote the wise stewardship of our natural resources benefits each of us through a healthy environment and productive lands.”
“Recognition such as this reinforces what can be achieved with teamwork,” Casey stated. “This partnership demonstrates the cooperative spirit between the agencies, which ultimately helps us all accomplish our individual goals of protecting Alabama’s invaluable forest assets.”
For more information about NRCS conservation programs, visit: http://www.al.nrcs.usda.gov or visit the nearest USDA Service Center. NRCS field offices are listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Department of Agriculture or on-line at http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov. For information about the AFC, visit www.forestry.alabama.gov.