2014 New Project Summaries - Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership
Arkansas - Western Arkansas Woodland Restoration
The forests and woodlands in the area provide significant ecosystem service benefits for society. The project aims to increases the conservation activity on private lands in the project area over the next three years. Woodland restoration in the Sylamore Ranger District of the Ozark and St. Francis National Forests will improve habitat used by the Indiana bat and other wildlife species. Watershed restoration activities on the Ouachita National Forest will reduce sedimentation and improve water quality for three federally listed species of mussels. Improvements to water quality and increases to water quantity will help protect the 464 active public water sources in the project area.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $1,300,000; NRCS - $2,180,000.
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California - San Bernardino and Riverside County Fuels Reduction Project
In October 2003, Southern California experienced catastrophic wildfires that burned over 750,000 acres, destroyed 3,500 homes, and resulted in 22 fatalities and over $3 billion in losses. Since then, multiple partners have committed time and resources to planning and implementing forest health and wildfire hazard reduction projects on private land and working with the owners within San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Reducing forest fuels will provide additional protection for community safety, wildlife habitat, watershed health, recreation opportunities and cultural resources.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $1,428,000; NRCS - $2,620,000.
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California - Middle Klamath River Communities Project
The communities within the project area have seen significant fire activity over the past few decades. Fuel breaks, thinning, broadcast burning, and improved fire suppression infrastructure such as water tanks and ingress/egress routes are needed to meet objectives for fire resilient communities and landscapes. The funding will provide local landowners and federal land managers with the means to reduce fuels and contribute to community safety, restore ecosystems on their land, and provide a boost to the local economy.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $800,000; NRCS - $665,000.
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Kentucky - Triplett Creek
The fire occurrence and the number of acres burned in the Triplett Creek watershed have increased over the past 20 years. This area has experienced several major weather events that affected timber quality thereby increasing the fuel load and decreasing firefighter safety due to hazard tree density. A large part of the Triplett Creek Watershed is classified as Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) with private homes immediately adjacent to National Forest lands. Conservation activities will reduce the risk of wildfire and improve fire resilience of communities in the Triplett Creek Watershed through conservation treatments and homeowner and landowner education.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $350,000; NRCS - $280,000.
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Minnesota - Upper Mississippi Headwaters Restoration
Minnesota takes great pride and responsibility in protecting the source of the mighty Mississippi River, a watershed that covers half of the United States. The headwaters area is used for timber production, agriculture, recreation and as a primary drinking water source. In July 2012, a large wind event severely damaged a large area of the forest, wildlife habitat, infrastructure and recreational activities. Although much recovery work has been completed, there is still a need for reforestation, hazardous fuels reduction, non-native invasive species control, and long term protection and management of this vital ecosystem.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $250,000; NRCS - $185,000.
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Mississippi - Upper Black Creek Watershed
The Upper Black Creek watershed is located approximately 15 miles southeast of Hattiesburg, Mississippi and approximately 45 miles north of Gulfport, Mississippi. Major threats to the system include pollution from household and industrial garbage dumping, untreated sewerage run-off, increased sedimentation from roads/development, and non-native invasive species (e.g. cogongrass and feral hogs). Conservation activities will reduce fire risk and decrease hazardous fuel loads, restore habitat including longleaf pine ecosystems that are home to gopher tortoises, and decrease sedimentation and erosion.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $600,000; NRCS - $1,165,000.
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Montana – Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir
$865,000 for restoration of the watershed is critical to protecting communities, watershed health and drinking water. This watershed contributes 80 percent of the water supply for Helena, Montana. Successful implementation of this project will protect public health and safety, reduce the risk of erosion and flooding that could result from a wildfire, and potentially save millions of dollars in mitigation costs.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $800,000; NRCS - $65,000.
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New Hampshire - Drinking Water Improvement
New Hampshire has the fastest growing population in New England and ranks second in the country for the percentage of people served by private wells. Many of these wells are experiencing water quality issues related to land use, forestry activities, agriculture and pollution, which have worsened due to the increased frequency and intensity of extreme events such as hurricanes Irene and Sandy. NRCS and FS will work to provide landowners access to conservation efforts and to reduce sedimentation in headwater streams on public lands. The project will have a direct impact on drinking water quality for eight New Hampshire communities.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $250,000; NRCS - $710,000.
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New Mexico - Isleta Project
Several large wildfires have severely impacted the project area over the last decade, burning private lands and homes and impacting the area’s natural resources. Approximately 10,420 acres are identified for treatment on this landscape including roughly 2,000 acres on The Pueblo, 620 acres on Chilili Land Grant and 7,800 acres on National Forest System lands. These projects will help protect communities, cultural resources, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities and improve overall watershed health. These treatments will directly protect water quality and supply in primary water source areas for Isleta, Chilili and the Tajique Land Grant as well as private homeowners living adjacent to the area.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $800,000; NRCS - $720,000.
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New York – Susquehanna Watershed Riparian Buffer Enhancements
The Upper Susquehanna and the Chemung rivers are the Chesapeake Bay’s northern headwaters. Most of the watershed’s excess nutrients and sediments come from agriculture, stream bank erosion, and construction. NY proposes to implement buffers along watercourses and address nutrient and sediment runoff concerns on land adjacent to and within 500 feet of a watercourse within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Practices to benefit fish and wildlife will be incorporated where possible. The effort’s top priority will be sites that would benefit from riparian forest buffers. Core practices also include streambank protection, tree and shrub establishment, early successional habitat development and management, forest stand improvement, stream habitat improvement, and filter strips.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS – N/A; NRCS - $3,760,000.
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Oregon - East Face of Elkhorn Mountains
The East Face area has high to very high wildfire potential on both public and private land. Funding will be targeted on the landscape to augment and increase fuels reduction activities on adjoining federal and/or state lands. Improved watershed management will enhance water yield and improve water quality. The project area contains habitat for federally threatened bulltrout, steelhead and Chinook salmon. A large portion of the project overlaps lands within the NRCS Sage Grouse Initiative focal area.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $1,000,000; NRCS - $1,680,000.
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West Virginia - West Virginia Restoration Venture
This area is one of the nation’s biodiversity hotspots. This restoration venture will accelerate recovery from historic degradation from industrial logging and associated wildfires. Partners will coordinate restoration activities to improve habitat connectivity, ecosystem restoration, improved soil health, climate change adaptation, carbon sequestration, improve water quality, increased threatened and endangered and at-risk species habitat, wetland restoration, aquatic habitat and watershed restoration, improved soil data and interpretations, ecological site descriptions, reduced sedimentation, and restoration of historic fire regimes through the use of prescribed fire. The outcomes anticipated through this public/private partnership will provide a continuing and improving domestic water supply and improved outdoor recreation experiences through ecosystem restoration and increased diversity of flora and fauna.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $850,000; NRCS - $2,190,000.
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Wisconsin – Lake Superior Landscape Restoration Partnership
This project came out of discussions that took place between USDA agency leaders, Tribal Leaders and private landowners at One USDA Meetings in Wisconsin in 2013 and will develop new levels of collaboration between USDA agencies, other government agencies, private landowners and Tribes. The project will improve and restore critical spawning habitat for Brook Trout by reducing sedimentation and removing in-stream barriers and provide nesting habitat for Golden-winged Warblers, Kirtland Warblers and Sharp-Tailed Grouse through forest conservation practices. In addition, conservation efforts will directly improve water quality in tributaries of Lake Superior (including trout streams with critical spawning habitat) by reducing sedimentation through streambank protection and stabilization and improving existing forest roads and by reducing the amount of phosphorus lost in surface runoff. Finally, forest management efforts will result in reduced wildfire risk on Tribal and other lands in the project area.
Fiscal year 2014 funding: FS - $305,000; NRCS - $320,000.
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