The U.S. Forest Service and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service are working together to improve the health of forests where public forests and grasslands connect to privately owned lands.
Through the Joint Chief's Landscape Restoration Partnership, the two USDA agencies are restoring landscapes, reducing wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protecting water quality and enhancing wildlife habitat.
The partnership began in 2014, and each year the agency selects new three-year projects.
The Forest Service and NRCS will invest more than $12 million this year to mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest ecosystems through 13 targeted projects on both public and private lands in nine states. An additional $25.8 million will be provided by the two USDA agencies to continue 17 ongoing projects. Federal, state, and local partners plan to invest an additional $18 million through financial and in-kind contributions to continue existing projects.
2019 Arkansas Project
Located in Western Arkansas, this project aims to connect diverse acres of restored open hardwood and pine woodland across boundaries within the Ouachita and Ozark-St. Francis National Forests that span Arkansas and Oklahoma. Building on the success of two prior Joint Chief's projects, partners will continue to restore forest health with a focus on enhancing shortleaf pine forest ecosystems. The project will reduce forest vulnerability to harmful insect infestations, including the southern pine beetle, red oak borer, and bark beetle. Forest restoration activities will also support habitat for the threatened leopard darter and northern long-eared bat, monarch butterflies and other pollinators. Other benefits include protecting and improving water quality for nearly one million people who depend on clean drinking water in the project area. View map.
338 – Prescribed Burning – Applying controlled fire to a predetermined area to control undesirable vegetation, prepare the area either for planting, to reduce wildfire hazard, improve wildlife habitat, or restore and maintain ecological sites. 362 – Diversion – Water bars and rolling dips are installed along the road at approximately every 5 feet of vertical change to reduce erosion. 378 – Pond – A water impoundment made by constructing an embankment or by excavating a pit or dugout. Ponds constructed by the fi rst method are referred to as embankment ponds, and those constructed by the second method are referred to as excavated ponds. Ponds constructed by both the excavation and the embankment methods are classified as embankment ponds if the depth of water impounded against the embankment at the auxiliary spillway elevation is 3 feet or more. 380 – Windbreak Establishment – Establish single or multiple rows of trees or shrubs in linear configurations to control erosion and/or odor, or to provide a visual screen or shade for livestock. 381 – Silvopasture Establishment – Create a combination of trees or shrubs and compatible forages on the same acreage used for pasture by planting seedlings at a wide spacing or thinning an existing forest to a low density and planting grass. 382 – Fence – Barrier to control movement of livestock to facilitate the application of conservation practices or protect water quality. Typical examples of livestock exclusions are streamsides and newly established trees or warm season grass. 383 – Fuel Break – Create defensible space for dwellings in overstocked forest stands by reducing wildfire hazard by thinning, treating woody residue, pruning and mowing. 384 – Woody Residue Treatment – Use heavy equipment to treat slash resulting from catastrophic events such as fire, wind, severe pest outbreak, ice storm, etc., to restore normal forest functions. 390 – Riparian Herbaceous Cover – Establishment of native warm season grasses in a strip along streams to improve wildlife habitat, control erosion or restore riparian plant communities. 391 – Riparian Forest Buffer – Establishment of hardwood trees or shrubs in a strip along streams to improve wildlife habitat, control erosion or restore riparian plant communities. 394 – Fire Break – A strip of bare land 15-feet wide or a strip of vegetated land 30-feet wide to reduce or stop the spread of fire or facilitate prescribed burning. 422 – Hedgerow Planting – Establish double rows of trees or shrubs in linear configurations to provide wildlife benefits and control erosion, or provide a visual screen. Native warm season grasses can be included. 472 – Access Control – Temporary or permanent exclusion of animals, people, vehicles, and/or equipment from an area. 490 – Tree & Shrub Site Prep – Mechanically or chemically treating areas to improve site conditions for establishing seedlings. 512 – Forage and Biomass Planting – Establish or reseed adapted perennial native grasses to improve or maintain livestock/wildlife nutrition and health, extend the length of the grazing season, and provide soil cover to reduce erosion. 516 – Livestock Pipeline – Pipeline having an inside diameter of 4 inches or less where conveyance of water is desirable or necessary to conserve the supply, or maintain the quality of water. 528 – Prescribed Grazing – Defer grazing in the pasture from 210 days up to an entire growing season to provide rest to specific plants such as native grasses. 533 – Pumping Plant – A facility that delivers water at a designed pressure and fl ow rate. Includes the required pump, associated power unit(s), plumbing, appurtenances, and may include on-site fuel or energy sources, and protective structures. 561 – Heavy Use Area Protection – The stabilization of areas frequently and intensively used by people, animals or vehicles by establishing vegetative cover, by surfacing with suitable materials, and/or by installing needed structures 574 – Spring Development – Collection of water from springs or seeps to provide water for a conservation need. 578 – Stream Crossing – Create a permanent crossing to a stream by stabilizing the bottom and approaches of a stream channel with rock, concrete, prefabricated product, or culvert to provide a travel-way for livestock, equipment, or vehicles. 580 – Stream Bank and Shoreline Protection – Protection of stream banks with conventional plantings of vegetation, bioengineered techniques, or structural measures to stabilize and protect against scour and erosion. 587 – Structure for Water Control – Metal or plastic culvert less than 30 inches in diameter to convey water under roads or other barriers. 612 – Tree & Shrub Establishment – Establishing native species of woody plants by planting seedlings or cuttings. 614 – Watering Facility – A permanent or portable device to provide an adequate amount and quality of drinking water for livestock and or wildlife. 642 – Water Well – A hole drilled, dug, driven, bored, jetted or otherwise constructed to an aquifer for water supply. 647 – Early Successional Habitat Development and Management – Provides early successional wildlife habitat by setting back plant succession and manipulating species composition by disking or mowing. 660 – Tree/Shrub Pruning – Prune branches from trees to improve the wood quality and increase grass production in a silvopasture system. 666 – Forest Stand Improvement – The manipulation of species composition, stand structure, and stocking by cutting (non-commercial thinning) or killing selected trees and understory vegetation.
Project Area Accomplishments
So far, the Joint Chief's has selected 63 projects in 38 states and Puerto Rico. Projects are planned to run for a 3-year period with new projects selected each fiscal year since the Partnerships 2014 launch. Projects are focused within a shared landscape in areas where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately owned lands. These projects provide private landowners with conservation resources that enable them to complete restoration efforts on their land for healthier and more resilient forest ecosystems.