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Louisiana Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership

The Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership program (16 U.S.C. § 6592d) is working to improve the health and resilience of forest landscapes across National Forest System land and state, tribal, and private lands.

The Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership enables NRCS and the Forest Service to collaborate with agricultural producers, forest landowners, tribes and public land managers to invest in conservation and restoration at a big enough scale to make a positive difference. Working in partnership, and at this scale, helps reduce wildfire threats to communities, protect water quality and supply, and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

Through the three-year projects, landowners will work with local USDA experts and partners to apply targeted forestry management practices on their land, such as hazardous fuel treatments, fire breaks, reforestation, and other systems to meet unique forestry challenges in their area.

2024 Projects

USDA will invest nearly $55 million this year through the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership for projects that mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, and restore forest ecosystems. This year, the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest in 10 new projects, bringing together agricultural producers, forest landowners, and National Forest System lands to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs and other authorities.

Thumbnail of fy24 Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership Projects

Recent Projects

Fiscal year 2024 projects will build on the fiscal year 2023 and 2022 investments in projects that contribute to USDA’s efforts to combat climate change.  

In 2023, USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) invested $48.6 million in 10 new projects.

In 2022, USDA invested more than $48 million in 41 projects, including 17 new ones.

Completed Project Accomplishments

Since 2014, USDA has invested more than $423 million in 134 projects in 42 states as well as Guam and Puerto Rico. These projects focus on areas where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately-owned lands and have delivered important forest and rangeland funding. They provide private landowners with conservation resources that help them complete restoration efforts on their land for healthier and more resilient forest ecosystems

The efforts of the Joint Chiefs' have produced outstanding results that can be explored here.

Opportunities to Collaborate

Joint Chiefs' project proposals are developed at the local level through a collaborative process between NRCS, Forest Service and partners. Past partners have included county, state, non-governmental, Tribal, utilities or private individual stakeholders. The collaboration process and partnerships will depend on the specific community needs of each project. Proposals are submitted by the local NRCS and Forest Service offices to the national agency offices. Proposals are reviewed and vetted at multiple levels in the agencies based on local, state, Tribal and regional priorities.

NRCS and Forest Service national offices is accepting proposals submissions for FY25 projects now and are due by September 13, 2024. An announcement of the selected projects in planned for late fall 2024. For more information on the proposal development process, evaluation criteria, or collaboration opportunities, please contact one of the program contacts below, or use the following links to find a local NRCS office or Forest Service contact.

Evaluation 

The following evaluation criteria will be considered in the selection process:

  • Reduction of wildfire risk in a municipal watershed or the wildland-urban interface (WUI).  A municipal watershed is a watershed from which municipal water is provided by a utility.  The WUI is as defined by the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. § 6511).
  • Increase of forest workforce capacity or forest business infrastructure and development.
  • Leveraging existing authorities and nonfederal funding contributions from partners.
  • Provides measurable outcomes.
  • Education and outreach to local communities about the project.  
  • Support of established state, tribal, and regional priorities. Proposals should describe how the eligible activities were prioritized across the landscape and the source of the state, tribal, or regional priorities (e.g., fireshed analysis, wildfire risk assessment, state technical committee watershed prioritization, Endangered Species Act recovery plan, state wildlife action plan).
  • Alignment with USDA equity priorities, including benefits to disadvantaged communities (as defined for the Justice40 Initiative) and historically underserved farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners.
  • Alignment with USDA ecological priorities, including post-fire recovery, reforestation, and ecological connectivity and wildlife corridor conservation.
  • Alignment with USDA Forest Service priorities, including Wildfire Crisis Strategy landscapes and high-risk firesheds.
  • Geographic distribution of individual project activities across the landscape demonstrates a focus on resource conditions and a relative balance between land ownership types.
  • Development of the proposal through a collaborative process with participation from diverse stakeholders.
  • Partner participation in project implementation.
  • Coordination (i.e., pre-planning) with individual landowners within the proposed project’s boundaries.
  • Clear descriptions of the project goals and objectives, deliverables, timeline, and desired outcomes.

Program Contacts:

Clint Cross, FS
202-205-0995
clint.cross@usda.gov

Matthew Vandersande, NRCS
202-690-1588
matthew.vandersande@usda.gov

Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm number.

If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.