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News Release

USDA to Focus on Lake Superior Forest Project: NRCS and Forest Service Partner to Improve Forest Health

Madison, Wis……… The Natural Resources Conservation Service and the U.S. Forest Service have announced a multi-year partnership to improve the health and resiliency of ecosystems where public and private lands meet across the nation. 

“Both of these agencies have the same goal – improving the health of our forests, fields and streams,” said Jimmy Bramblett, NRCS State Conservationist for Wisconsin. “By combining resources and working in a coordinated fashion, this partnership will restore large landscapes regardless of ownership.”

The project, called the Chiefs’ Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership, will invest $30 million in 13 projects across the country, $625,000 in Wisconsin, to help mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protect water quality, and supply and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

The project will bring special funding to help farmers improve farm and livestock operations and profitability while improving water quality. The NRCS will also have additional funds available to help forest landowners improve timber quality and deer and grouse habitat while improving habitat for at-risk species.  

“Habitat and water quality don’t stop at boundaries between public and private lands,” Bramblett said. “By working together, we can provide more assistance to help public and private landowners and managers put practical conservation solutions on the ground, providing greater benefits to surrounding communities and habitats, such as improving soil and water quality, reducing sediment to streams and protecting a critical part of Lake Superior’s watershed in northeastern Wisconsin.”

 “The Chiefs’ Joint Landscape Restoration Partnership is an opportunity for our agencies to pool resources and get better results for the American people,” addedPaul Strong, Forest Supervisor for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. “Restoring the health of our nation’s forests and grasslands is a critical effort, and it’s going to take partnerships like this to see the job through.”

 

Lake Superior Project Watersheds map

Wisconsin – Lake Superior Landscape Restoration Partnership: This partnership project came out of discussions that took place at One USDA Meetings in Wisconsin in 2013. The project will develop new levels of collaboration between USDA agencies, other government agencies, private landowners and the eleven federally recognized Tribes in WI. The NRCS and the USFS will direct financial and technical resources toward priority projects within critical Lake Superior sub watersheds. These efforts will build on existing local efforts and will focus on: critical fuel management, improving water quality, enhancing soil and forest health, and habitat restoration for Golden-winged Warblers, Kirtland Warblers, Sharp-tailed Grouse, and inland and Coaster Brook Trout populations. Conservation activities will improve water quality in tributary streams to Lake Superior, improve forest health and improve wildlife habitat.  This collaboration will use the full range of authorities of the agencies to produce solutions on both public and private lands as envisioned by the USDA All-Lands Approach to conservation. FY 2014 funding: FS (National Forest Land) - $305,000; NRCS - $320,000.

Summaries of all projects selected can be found here.

NRCS:  The Natural Resources Conservation Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The NRCS mission is to work with America’s farmers and landowners to protect their land and water through conservation.  NRCS is the primary federal agency dedicated to working on private land, which is 70 percent of the U.S. land base, to protect natural resources and agricultural sustainability.

 

Forest Service:   The only national forest in Wisconsin is the Chequamegon-Nicolet NF., headquartered in Rhinelander.   The U.S. Forest Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with a mission of sustaining the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.  Nationally, the U.S. Forest Service manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.

 

For more information, contact Chris Borden, USDA NRCS, at chris.borden@wi.usda.gov or 715-748-4121.