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FY 2022 Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Project Summaries

California - Big Flat Community Protection

  • Six Rivers National Forest
  • Del Norte County

The Big Flat Community Protection Project boundary landscape covers approximately 11,388 acres dominated by dense stands of even-aged Douglas-fir and tanoak that present a high hazardous fuels risk for the remote wildland urban interface (WUI) community of Big Flat. The project goal is to alter the current density within these stands to levels adequate to effectively help protect the WUI of Big Flat from catastrophic fires and create control features to prepare for returning a favorable fire regime to the landscape. As an additional benefit, the project will restore healthy forest ecosystems that provide suitable habitat for at-risk wildlife and protect soils and water quality from detrimental effects of wildfire. The project area encompasses the Jones and Hurdygurdy watersheds within the Smith River watershed, located in Del Norte County in northwestern California, with private inholdings and isolated rural communities surrounded entirely by the Six River National Forest (SRF), Smith River National Recreation Area (SRNRA). The area is heavily influenced by historical clearcutting, fire suppression, and infrequent high-severity wildfire. The project re-establishes and maintains a network of 25 miles (600 acres) of strategically placed fuel breaks on federal lands and treats 600 acres of intersecting private inholdings along strategic access roads for the community, creating fire control points on private lands. The Big Flat Project is an identified top priority for the local Smith River Collaborative {SRC), CAL FIRE, tribal, and local and county Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs). Ongoing and planned education and outreach opportunities provided by Smith River Alliance, a local non-profit 501(c)3 and member of SRC, and SRNRA Fire Prevention program will complement the fuelbreaks work, foster a culture of preparedness and give residents the information needed to properly protect their homes.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $701,342

Partners: Smith River Collaborative, which is composed of Del Norte County elected officials, local and regional environmental groups (Friends of Del Norte, Klamath Forest Alliance, EPIC, KS Wild, and Smith River Alliance), the Elk Valley Rancheria and the Tolowa Dee-ni' Nation Tribes, the Del Norte Fire Safe Council, and the American Forest Resource Council

Idaho - Scattered Lands Hazardous Fuels

  • Idaho Panhandle National Forests
  • Bonner County

The Scattered Lands Hazardous Fuels project focuses on 173,942 acres of high-risk forestlands in North Idaho. This area was designated as one of two priority landscapes defined by the Shared Stewardship Agreement between the State of Idaho, Forest Service, and NRCS. Within Bonner County, this project is located south of the Pend Oreille River, west of Lake Pend Oreille, and adjacent to the Washington state line. It includes a mix of federal, state, and private forestlands that have extremely high fuel loads. There is an increasing risk for insect and disease outbreaks and catastrophic wildfires due to the growth in the wildland urban interface (WUI) and decreases in active forest management, which has reduced the ecological diversity and left forests dominated by stands of similar size, age, density, species composition and structure. The project will mitigate wildfire threats to communities by focusing on hazardous fuels mitigation, improving overall forest health, safeguarding road access to communities, and increasing public outreach and education. This will lead to a fire resilient landscape with wildfire prepared communities. All 15,090 acres of area to be treated are within the wildland urban interface and fire regime groups II and III. Collaboration with county, state and federal partners, national forest collaborative groups, and industrial and non-industrial private landowners has been instrumental in developing and prioritizing treatments, improving coordination with adjacent landowners, and leveraging limited resources to embrace the cross-boundary approach and achieve landscape-scale restoration goals.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $284,625

Partners: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bonner County Office of Emergency Management, Idaho Department of Lands, Panhandle Forest Collaborative, Idaho Forest Group, Stimpson Lumber Company, and Clearwater Paper

Hawaii - Hawaii Island Wildfire Mitigation and Support

  • Hawaii County

This project makes long-lasting investments to prevent the loss of Hawaii's most intact native forests from fire. Partners will actively restore degraded gaps in these forests to reduce fragmentation and increase landscape-scale resilience to climate change and invasives. Hawai'i island is experiencing increased drying and warming trends even in areas historically considered to be wet or mesic forest. Climate models predict increased and prolonged droughts, increasing the risk of wildfire. Unlike other parts of the US, wildfire is not a natural part of Hawai'i's ecosystems. In Hawai'i, wildfires destroy native plant communities and facilitate weed invasions which not only threaten the watershed but promote more fires. This is particularly damaging as these native forests are highly valuable because they capture cloud moisture for water recharge, dramatically reduce erosion into streams and onto coral reefs, sequester carbon, and provide habitat for hundreds of listed species. On the east side of Hawai'i island, in the Keauhou-Ki1lani region, wildfires repeatedly threaten a high-value native forest that is considered the most intact on the island and is home to endangered forest birds and dozens of listed plant species. These forests are designated "priority l watersheds" by the State of Hawai'i's watershed protection plan because they are high-quality and at an elevation and climate that maximizes water capture and recharge. Within this expansive forested landscape are areas formerly used as pasture which now are dominated by fire-prone pasture grasses. This project will reforest these areas with native trees and remove highly flammable invasive plants. Native reforestation is strategic for the entire region as these gaps in the forest are highly vulnerable to fire, prone to be established with new invasive plants that spread into adjacent forests, and fragment wildlife habitat. This project will also create/maintain firebreaks in strategic areas, which can serve as improved access for wildfire fighting as well as conservation management. Additionally, this project will retrofit water reservoirs to be usable for fighting fires. This is a critical need for the region, which lacks water sources and where previous fires have required water to be driven in by tankers along a narrow, winding 20-mile road. This region is also unique as it contains a residential community surrounded by a native forest, which increases ignition risk. In addition to improving forest health, this project will also protect life and property for this community. A multi-faceted public education program will empower the community to protect themselves from wildfires, expand understanding and appreciation of native forests, and involve them in the work to protect these lands.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $205,675

Partners: Three Mountain Alliance watershed partnership, Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and the State of Hawaiʻi

Wyoming - Valleys and Headwaters Restoration

  • Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest
  • Carbon and Albany counties

The Valleys and Headwaters Landscape Restoration Partnership, located in Southeast Wyoming, is named after three river valleys and important headwaters on both sides of the continental divide. Two of Wyoming's largest population centers, Cheyenne and Laramie, rely on water flowing from the mountains. The project area also provides habitat for federally listed and sensitive species, and species of local conservation concern. The project area has been heavily impacted by insects and disease over the last two decades, and more recently by large high-intensity wildfires, including the unprecedented 2020 fire season. Partnership goals include mitigating hazardous fuels; providing for human safety; protecting municipal water supplies and infrastructure; enhancing forest and rangeland resilience; providing forest products; enhancing terrestrial wildlife habitat; restoring streams and aquatic habitat; and conserving and improving management of irrigated croplands, rangelands, and irrigation water supplies. The Partnership will employ a full suite of activities to accomplish these goals, including prescribed fire, mechanical/hand fuels and habitat treatments, good neighbor authority timber harvest and thinning, aspen and shrubland treatments, meadow restoration, road rehabilitation, streambank stabilization, irrigation efficiency projects, and invasive plant management. The proposal area is anchored around the Medicine Bow Landscape Vegetation Analysis (LaVA), a NEPA decision authorizing vegetation management for multiple resource objectives across 288,000 acres of the Medicine Bow National Forest, and includes surrounding State and private land to create and maintain resilient landscapes, watersheds, habitats and communities across boundaries.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $2,853,032

Partners: Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities, Little Snake River Conservation District (LSRCD), Mule Deer Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Saratoga Encampment Rawlins Conservation District, Valleys and Headwaters Landscape Restoration Partnership, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming Landscape Conservation Initiative, Wyoming State Forestry Division, Wyoming Water Development Commission, and Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust

Montana - Gallatin Valley Resiliency and Watershed Health

  • Custer-Gallatin National Forest
  • Gallatin County

The Gallatin Valley Forest Resiliency and Watershed Health Project is a cross-boundary collaboration effort between the Forest Service, Custer Gallatin National Forest, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Bozeman Field Office, aimed at reducing the risk of wildfire, maintaining high-quality water supply, and increasing forest health and resiliency. This project will treat a total of 4,961 acres, which includes 3,336 acres on National Forest System lands and 1,625 acres on private lands. Prescribed fire, timber harvest, shaded fuel breaks, small diameter understory thinning, and weed treatments have been prioritized to meet the goals and objectives of the project. The project area is all within Gallatin County, MT with treatments planned in the Gallatin Mountains; specifically the Bozeman Creek and Hyalite Creek municipal watersheds and the Bridger and Bangtail Mountains. Treatments are located within the wildland urban interface (WUI) of the City of Bozeman and Gallatin County. Bozeman and Hyalite watersheds provide 80% of the water supply to the Bozeman community. Baseline studies have indicated the greatest risk to the local water supply is a high severity wildland fire, which could generate significant amounts of sediment and ash runoff into streams. These rainfall or snowmelt runoff events would likely generate heavy sediment loading that would exceed current treatment capacity, resulting in a shutdown of the City's water treatment plant, in turn, having significant negative impacts to the drinking supply. As a result of fire suppression, much of the forest is functioning outside the range of natural variability and has experienced a significant decline in forest health due to presence of insect infestation and disease, with high likelihood of additional severe outbreaks and spread. Project treatments will achieve goals and objectives across jurisdictional boundaries to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health, protect water supply, reduce wildfire risk, increase public and firefighter safety, and generate economic benefits to the local communities. Planned treatments will lower potential fire severity and increase forest resiliency by reducing hazardous fuels, reducing competition for resources, and returning fire to fire adapted communities. Lower intensity fire and reduced crown fire probability will enhance firefighter safety and the effectiveness of suppression actions. Conifer removal around whitebark pine and aspen will enhance regeneration to improve health and productivity. Reduction of fuel loading will aid in protection of water quality by reducing potential sediment impacts to streams. While not the primary objective of the project, secondary benefits to wildlife will occur through improved habitat and foraging opportunities. Private land treatments of brush management, forest stand improvement, and fuel breaks will occur mostly down gradient of the Forest Service focus areas. This will expand the protection offered to the municipal water supply drainages and natural resource benefits. Private land treatments will primarily occur along major roads with limited ingress-egress and in or adjacent to subdivisions located throughout the project.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $886,450

Partners: City of Bozeman, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), Gallatin County, private landowners, and the Custer Gallatin Working Group

Montana - Libby Surround Stewardship

  • Kootenai National Forest
  • Lincoln County

The Libby Surround Stewardship Project will treat hazardous fuels on 4,605 acres of land surrounding Libby, Montana. This project is part of an ongoing cross-boundary effort to connect past, present, and future activities in a large project area of 263,026 acres. Over time and in part due to fire suppression, fuels have increased creating conditions that promote uncharacteristically severe wildfires within these mixed conifer forests. As a result, there is a need to treat lands adjacent to approximately 70,000 acres of past and future treatments, expanding the continuity of fuel treatments across ownerships and the landscape. This project is designed to reduce and mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners. These critical 4,605 acres of treatment are identified as a priority by the Montana Forest Action Plan (MFAP) and the Lincoln County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) within the Libby Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), Lincoln County, the Kootenai National Forest (KNF), and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) further supports these areas to reduce hazardous fuels in the Lincoln County WUI. This work aligns with Federal and State Agencies' objectives and priorities along with the Lincoln County CWPP and the NRCS Local Working Group which acknowledge the need to improve forest resiliency in an effort to reduce the potential of wildfire impacts to public health and safety. This cross-boundary project area includes forest health hazards and values at risk from wildfire such as the municipal watershed with a newly constructed $11.5 million-dollar replacement dam and reservoir in the Flower Creek drainage, that supplies domestic water to 1,800 households. The project area also includes multiple operating units (OU) of the Libby Asbestos Superfund Site, most importantly OU3, which is 9,200 acres and includes the now defunct vermiculite mine and surrounding forested area contaminated with asbestos. The EPA has defined a human health risk within OU3 for firefighters, loggers, and rockhounders. Activities in this Joint Chiefs' proposal include pre-commercial thinning and fuels reduction on 3,105 acres of federal land on the KNF and 1500 acres of forest stand improvement and fuels reduction on non-industrial private forest lands (NIPF) through the NRCS' EQIP program. Implementation of this project will serve to strengthen community involvement and education, provide jobs, and help reduce wildfire threats to the local community.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $1,283,544

Partners: Lincoln County, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), American Forest Foundation (AFF), Kootenai Forests to Rivers Initiative (KFRI), Stimson Lumber Company, Lincoln County Firesafe Council, and Kootenai Forest Stakeholders Coalition (KFSC)

Arizona - Catalina-Rincon Restoration and Fuels Mitigation

  • Coronado National Forest
  • Pinal, Cochise, and Pima counties

The Catalina-Rincon Restoration project area consists of 925,450 acres, encompassing the Santa Catalina Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest (CNF). The project area wraps around the northern and eastern sides of the Tucson basin with a population of nearly 1 million. In 2020, the Bighorn Fire burned 119,592 acres within the project area, including 11,756 acres of private and state lands. About 35% of the fire burned at moderate to high severity leading to accelerated runoff, high potential for erosion and debris flow, and increased sedimentation in streams that are home to federally listed and other at-risk aquatic species. This project will address the Canada Del Oro, Alder, Romero, Sabino, Edgar, and Buehman watersheds with erosion control measures. The communities of Summerhaven and Oracle were spared from fire damage, but considerable risk remains unless fuels mitigation treatments continue in the wildland urban interface (WUI). WUI treatments in the Catalina Mountains are expensive and complex due to the need to balance the concentration of communication sites, homes, businesses, and observatories with the Mexican spotted owl (MSO) Protected Activity Centers (PACs), designated critical habitat (DCH), and recently delineated recovery habitat. Invasive plant species (buffelgrass, fountain grass, and nonnative annual grasses) in lower elevations are increasing fuel loading and fire frequency in desert communities that are not fire-adapted. Given the aforementioned complexities and climate change, there is an expedited need to accelerate treatments of fuels in the WUI and non-native invasive plants to protect critical values at risk and sustain native plant communities in the Sonoran Desert and along riparian corridors. Additionally, there is a need to replace infrastructure vital to the sustainability of ranching operations and restore reliable livestock and wildlife water sources.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $1,442,886

Partners: National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), US Geological Survey (USGS), National Forest Foundation (NFF), AZ Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Bighorn Sheep Society, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Mt. Lemmon Fire District, Pima County Flood Control, Oracle Fire District, Pima County Office of Emergency Management, Willow Canyon Home Owners Association (HOA), AZ Sonoran Desert Museum, Greater Soldier Canyon HOA, Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists, Community of Summerhaven, Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol, Community of Oracle, Friends of Sabino Canyon, University of Arizona, Redington Natural Resource Conservation District, Pima Natural Resource Conservation District, Winkelman Natural Resource Conservation District, AZ Association of Conservation Districts, Mescal Fire District

Idaho - Wood River Valley Forest Health & Wildfire Resilience

  • Sawtooth National Forest
  • Blaine County

The Wood River Valley Forest Health and Wildfire Resilience Project will reduce the significant wildfire threat to the main populous corridor in Blaine County, Idaho. The project's fuel reduction and education efforts provide direct benefits to human safety, forest health and climate adaptation, economic preservation, non-native invasive plant reduction, and carbon capture. Project objectives will be achieved by working across landownership boundaries to reduce wildfire risk through the removal of hazardous, diseased, and dead trees and regeneration of forest and sagebrush environments through native species plantings and non-native invasive plant species abatement. The Wood River Valley Forest Health and Wildfire Resilience Project is a product of more than five years of robust community and interagency collaboration and encompasses approximately 30,000 acres of public, state, municipal, and private lands. Communities within the project area include the cities of Bellevue, Hailey, Ketchum, Sun Valley, and unincorporated private land under Blaine County, Idaho jurisdiction. Housing ranges from high-density residential to 100 acre+ ranch and forest properties. Sun Valley Ski Resort is located within the project boundary and is vital to the local and regional economy. While there is wealth within the county itself, the majority of the population represents working-class citizenship. Hailey, which is the county seat and most populous town (pop. 8400), has approximately 27.3% of its residents reporting earnings below $25,000. 17.2% of the community is considered living below the poverty line, a significantly higher percentage than the median poverty rates for Idaho and the national average as a whole. Northern aspects of the project area are dominated by mixed Douglas and subalpine fir forests intermingled with whitebark pine at the highest elevations. South facing slopes represent sagebrush-steppe ecosystems. This proposal showcases a shared stewardship approach to wildfire mitigation, forest health improvement, habitat enhancement, and proactive climate adaption.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $643,975

Partners: 5B Restoration Coalition, National Forest Foundation, Sun Valley Company, Cities of Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Hailey, Blaine County, Idaho Fish and Game, Idaho Department of Lands, and Bureau of Land Management.

New Mexico - Bear Creek to Signal Peak

  • Gila National Forest
  • Grant County

The Bear Creek to Signal Peak Collaborative Restoration Project area is located north and west of Silver City in southwestern New Mexico. The project area is composed of 148,000 acres of Forest Service, BLM, State, and private lands. The landscape ranges in elevation from 5,000 to 9,000 feet including brush-filled grasslands in the lower elevations, transitioning to pinyon juniper woodlands, then ponderosa pine/oak, and finally, dry mixed conifer in the upper elevations above 8,000 feet. The primary landscape outcomes include: 1) Reduction in hazardous fuels and fire intensities in the Wildland Urban Interface, 2) Improve watershed and riparian condition through soil stabilization, improved fencing, and vegetation treatments, and 3) Protection of sensitive Mexican Spotted Owl habitat. These restoration projects will enhance landscape resiliency to the effects of climate change.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $888,398

Partners: Bureau of Land Management (BLM); New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD Forestry Division; Grant County; New Mexico Game and Fish; the Gila Landscape Collaborative; Grant Soil and Water Conservation District; The Nature Conservancy (TNC); and Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery

Colorado - Southern Front Range Watershed

  • Pike-San Isabel National Forest
  • Pueblo, Custer, Huerfano, and Las Animas counties

The Southern Front Range (SFR-JCLRP) project will treat vegetation in the project area within Pueblo, Custer, Huerfano, and Las Animas counties. Treatments would be adjacent to or near the towns of Cuchara, Aguilar, Stonewall, Wetmore, Westcliffe, Beulah, and Rye, Colorado. There are approximately 12,600 structures within the project area and a collective population of about 12,000 full-time residents, with another 1,000 part-time residents. An estimated 1/3 of the full-time residents in the project area are Hispanic, including some areas of 50% or more minority residents. The Colorado State Forest Service Wildfire Risk map shows wildfire risk in the project area as moderate to high, with some areas of very high risk spread throughout. Fire intensity is shown as moderate to highest across most of the project area. Significant portions of the project area are in the high to highest priority areas on the overall compositive map of the 2020 Colorado State Forest Service Action Plan. This project would address these priorities by decreasing vegetation densities and fuel loading on public and private lands, thereby reducing the potential for large, crown dominated fire and improving forest health. Multiple partners are committed to reducing wildfire risk in this project area including the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC), Purgatoire Water Partners (PWP), the City of Trinidad, the Spanish Peaks Alliance for Wildfire Protection (SPAWP), the eight Firewise USA communities in the project area, local water conservation districts, local fire protection districts, and county officials.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $720,890

Partners: Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative, City of Trinidad, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado Water Conservation Board, The Cuchara Foundation, Huerfano County, Huerfano County Water Conservancy District, La Veta Fire Protection District, Las Animas County, National Forest Foundation (NFF), Purgatoire Water Partners, Spanish Peaks Alliance For Wildfire Protection, and Stonewall Fire Protection District

California - Butte Valley South Landscape Restoration

  • Klamath National Forest
  • Siskiyou County

Since 2010, wildfires have burned nearly 770,000 acres in Siskiyou County, California. Prescribed burns are a useful management tool for resilient and healthy landscapes, forests and watersheds, while larger fuel loads and less resilient landscapes threaten local communities, human health and safety, habitat, wildlife, and natural resources. The Klamath National Forest and partners have developed the Butte Valley South Landscape Restoration Project near the financially disadvantaged and rural communities of Bray, Tennant, and Mount Hebron. Using a variety of funding, the project will directly treat 25,343 acres of public land and 1,000 acres of private land across a larger 76,072 project landscape on USFS, NRCS, and private lands and will build upon over 11,000 acres of public and 8,000 acres of private landscape restoration treatments occurring since 2000. Within the larger project landscape, over 42,000 acres are within the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) and over 31,000 acres are non-federal lands. Historically, the majority of the project area consisted of open Ponderosa pine stands with Douglas-Fir and Western Cedar or was open sagebrush with scattered western juniper. Fire suppression and climate change have led to overly dense pine stands and a proliferation of western juniper, which has resulted in increased fire threats, degraded wildlife habitat, impaired riparian reserve functionality, and reduced streamflow. This project will provide multiple landscape and local community benefits by reducing the threat of a historically uncharacteristic wildfire, protecting vital ingress and egress routes, providing local jobs, improving wildlife habitat, restoring riparian reserves, and enhancing stream flow and water quality. Treatments include thinning, bald eagle habitat enhancement, juniper reduction, mowing, prescribed burning, and riparian vegetation planting.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $600,000

Partners: Butte Valley Indian Community, Klamath Tribes, Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, Shasta Indian Nation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Department of Transportation, Cal Fire, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Siskiyou County, Fire Safe Council of Siskiyou County, Butte Valley Irrigation District, Ore-Cal Resource Conservation and Development Area Council, Blue Forest Conservation, and the California Deer Association.

Montana - Fire Adapted Bitterroot (FAB)

  • Bitterroot National Forest
  • Ravalli County

Fire Adapted Bitterroot (FAB) seeks to address forest health and wildfire risk in three main areas of Ravalli County in Western Montana. This proposal will actively treat fuels on 1,350 acres on the east side of the valley in year 1 (2022), 3,250 acres in the southern valley in year 2 (2023), and 4,000 acres on the west side of the main valley in year 3 (2024). The desired outcome is to increase forest health and landscape resiliency, provide for public and firefighter safety, reduce fire risk to communities, improve wildlife habitat, contribute to community viability with forest products and jobs, and increase recreation opportunities - all while restoring fire to our fire dependent ecosystems. This proposal focuses on lower elevation fire adapted forest systems that are comprised of primarily overstocked ponderosa pine with Douglas-fire encroachments that have missed one or more fire return interval. The Bitterroot Valley has 300,920 priority area acres identified by the Montana Forest Action Plan and 5 of the top 10 Firesheds facing the most wildfire risk in Montana. (See Map 1 - Fire Adapted Bitterroot Fire Risk) This threat - combined with unprecedented growth and new home construction that extends to the boundary of the Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) - highlights why we need action across all ownerships. Proposed fuel reduction treatments (USFS + NRCS = 10,130 acres over 3 years), while not wall to wall, will address fuel loading and fire risk and take another critical step to increasing fire's role on the landscape. The project will also increase the success of future wildfire suppression operations to protect critical infrastructure that occur in or adjacent to these treated landscapes.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $1,438,575

Partners: Ravalli County Collaborative, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), FWP, and the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), Bitterroot Conservation District, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Montana Wild Sheep Foundation, Ravalli Resource Advisory Committee

Montana - Connecting Fuels Treatments in the Salish Mountains and Whitefish Range

  • Flathead National Forest
  • Flathead County

Flathead County, Montana. This landscape-scale fuels reduction project targets connecting 25 miles of cross boundary fuel reduction treatments within the rapidly expanding wildland urban interface (WUI) and communities at risk of catastrophic wildfire near the Salish Mountains west of Kalispell and north to the Whitefish Range. Flathead is the third most populated County in the state with 60% of the population living in forested areas; it ranked third for total risk to structures in the Montana Wildfire Risk Assessment (2020). In addition, 65% of the forested project area was identified as part of the priority areas for focused attention in the Montana Forest Action Plan (2020) due to elevated wildfire risk and forest health issues. Dominant forest species are Douglas-fir, western larch, lodgepole pine,

subalpine fir, and spruce, with secondary presence of ponderosa pine, whitebark pine, alpine larch, and western redcedar. The project boundary and priority areas, as identified on the map, are strategically defined to connect recent past and planned cross-boundary fuel reduction projects in a manner that will significantly reduce and mitigate wildfire threats to communities and landowners. The 4,230 acres this proposal would fund are the high priority and expensive non-commercial acres that connect a conservative estimate of 22,000 acres treated within the past 10 years across all ownerships. These planned acres are in conjunction with an additional 10,000 acres planned in the next three years to be treated through commercial timber harvest within the Joint Chiefs project area. To address the need, treatments will include thinning, mastication, piling, and prescribed fire. Long-standing partner relationships assure successful implementation and outcomes across ownership boundaries. Beyond protecting homes from wildfire is the protection of critical infrastructure including the Whitefish municipal watershed, four public schools, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) powerline corridor, BNSF railroad, Whitefish Mountain Resort, and communication sites. Benefits include evacuation routes for the safety of residents and responders, enhancing forest health, increasing wildfire resilience, and climate adaptation.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $841,905

Partners: Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), Flathead County, Northwest Montana Hazardous Fuels Program, and the National Forest Foundation

North Carolina - Uwharries to Sandhills Landscape Collaborative

  • National Forests in North Carolina
  • Asheboro, Stanly, Montgomery, Moore, and Richmond counties

The Uwharries are located within the NC Sandhills Longleaf Local Implementation Team boundary of the America's Longleaf Restoration Initiative. The Uwharries to Sandhills Landscape Collaborative (USLC) will improve forest health by restoring privately and publicly owned pine forests to an open-canopy condition in and around Uwharrie National Forest (UNF), and in a habitat corridor between the Uwharries and the NC Sandhills ecoregion. To sustain project outcomes, private landowners will be trained and mentored to conduct prescribed burning on their land by the Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association (PBA), and project partners.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $654,440

Partners: North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Sandhills Prescribed Burn Association, North Carolina Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy

Virginia - Eastern Divide Restoration

  • George Washington and Jefferson National Forests
  • Botetourt, Craig, Roanoke, Giles, Bland, Pulaski, Wythe, Tazwell, and Montgomery counties

The Eastern Divide Restoration Project Area covers 2,260,480 acres (3,532 square miles) of public and private lands in Botetourt, Craig, Roanoke, Giles, Bland, Pulaski, Wythe, Tazwell, and Montgomery counties in Virginia. The USDA-NRCS portion of the project will focus on Bland, Botetourt and Wythe Counties. The project area is in the Ridge and Valley province of the Central Appalachians and contains 440,724 acres of national forest system lands as well as 1,819,756 acres of private land. Across ownerships, unfragmented oak and pine forests compose the project area and are recognized as a hotspot for biodiversity in the Central Appalachians. The project area contains four of the main watersheds in Virginia (James, Roanoke, New, and Clinch Powell) as well as 559 miles of cold-water trout habitat with 189 miles of those miles on national forest system lands. The Department of Conservation and Recreation-Natural Heritage Division tracks 56 species of rare, threatened, and endangered species in the project area, including 32 federally endangered species. Of the 32 federally endangered and threatened species, 28 of them are comprised of aquatic fish and mollusks. Our desired landscape-level outcomes include improved water quality, improved terrestrial and aquatic habitat conditions, as well as improved overall ecological integrity, ecosystem functioning, and resiliency of the landscape.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $1,790,425

Partners: Virginia Wildlife Habitat Coalition, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Virginia State Leadership Team, The Nature Conservancy, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation-Natural Heritage, Virginia Chapter-Society of American Foresters, Virginia Forestry Association

Nevada - Santa Rosa-Paradise Restoration

  • Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
  • Humboldt County

The Santa Rosa-Paradise landscape is a priority landscape under Nevada Division of Forestry's (NDF) Forest, Range and Watershed Action Plan. This landscape includes lands managed by the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Santa Rosa Ranger District and adjacent private, tribal and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in Humboldt County, Nevada. Funding will be used for: 1) removal of Medusahead and other invasive annual grasses and noxious weeds, and reseeding/restoration in the Paradise Shared Stewardship Priority Landscape, prioritized for treatment under the Nevada Shared Stewardship Agreement; 2) reestablishment of a cross-jurisdictional fuel break that protects the Santa Rosa-Paradise Landscape; 3) proper functioning condition (PFC) assessments for prioritized streams within the Paradise Shared Stewardship Priority Landscape and connected and adjacent water basins to guide future watershed restoration. The Santa Rosa-Paradise Landscape is sagebrush dominant with a diversity of other plant species in more shallow water basins. The project activities will reduce wildfire risk to multiple shared values, improve habitat for sage grouse, mule deer, Lahontan cutthroat trout and other species, and benefit the rural economy by protecting and enhancing the productivity of rangelands that support both family and corporate ranching, protecting mining industry infrastructure and maintaining and improving recreational opportunities and access and related economic activities.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $199,500

Partners: Nevada Conservation District Program, Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDA), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Ft. McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Tribe, the Paradise Sonoma Conservation District, the Paradise Valley Weed District, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Service Humboldt County Office, the University of Nevada, Reno's Great Basin Fire Science Exchange, and Humboldt County

Arizona - Northern Arizona Habitat Restoration and Wildfire Risk Reduction

  • Kaibab National Forest
  • Coconino and Yavapai counties

Across the West, historical grasslands have been encroached by woody species. This encroachment has fragmented habitat, reduced forage availability and hiding cover, increased hazardous fuels and wildfire risk, increased erosion, reduced groundwater recharge, and reduced moisture availability for non-woody species. The Northern Arizona Habitat Restoration and Wildfire Risk Reduction Partnership Project would mechanically treat woody species, implement prescribed burning, develop new wildlife watering facilities, and develop education and outreach to improve habitat for large game and grassland obligate species, reduce fire risk to rural communities and Grand Canyon National Park, promote groundwater recharge, and build community understanding of and support for grassland restoration activities. The project area is 1,570,000 acres and spans the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts of the Kaibab National Forest (KNF) and surrounding state and private lands in north-central Arizona. The project area is south of and adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Vegetation types include grasslands, shrublands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and ponderosa pine. Benefits to communities would include reduced risk of uncharacteristic wildfire, improved conditions for local producers, fuelwood availability, increased recreation opportunities for hunting and wildlife viewing, volunteerism, and contract offerings for small businesses. The project would also support existing and promote new partnerships.

Total FY22 Funding Request: $1,265,473

Partners: Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Arizona Elk Society, Mule Deer Foundation, Arizona Antelope Foundation, and the Coconino Natural Resource Conservation District