Virginia Conservation Leaders Receive National Honor
Contact: Pat Paul, NRCS, (804) 287-1681 / John Campbell, VDOF, (434) 220-9070
Richmond, June 18, 2012 – State Conservationist John A. Bricker and State Forester Carl Garrison have received the 2011 Two Chiefs Partnership Award for their outstanding collaboration to make Virginia a national leader in forest stewardship.
These leaders created cooperative agreements and developed innovative approaches to leverage the strengths of Natural Resources Conservation Service and Virginia Department of Forestry programs and staff. Together, they have increased the development of forest management plans, trained more than 300 natural resource professionals, and tripled the number of technical assistance providers in just one year.
“In 2011, we became one of the first states to sign an agreement between VDOF, NRCS, and the Virginia Tree Farm Committee, paving the way for landowners to receive benefits from all the programs without the burden of developing multiple plans,” says Bricker. “VDOF foresters are working closely with landowners to plan and install forestry practices and the agencies are developing targeted training for all natural resource professionals.”
“Forests cover 60 percent of the state with forest products contributing in excess of $11.5 billion annually to Virginia’s economy,” says Garrison. “The NRCS/VDOF partnership benefits all Virginians by helping protect the economic and environmental value of this vital resource.”
This partnership has helped to protect and enhance 35,000 acres of valuable forest land. Successful outcomes include:
Nearly 21,000 acres of forest stand improvement
Nearly 1,400 acres of riparian buffers
Thousands of acres protected from fire hazards and improved for wildlife
Re-establishing the nearly extinct Longleaf Pine in Virginia
Thomas L. Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service and Dave White, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, annually select exemplary employees and projects for the Two Chiefs Partnership Award. Recipients are selected from among the Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, State Forest Agencies, and Conservation Districts for collaborative efforts to support conservation and forest stewardship.
“Carl and I are honored to receive this award and look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come,” says Bricker.