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Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership

Joint Chiefs

USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service are working in partnership to improve the health and resiliency of forest ecosystems where public and private lands meet across the nation.


Background

Since 2014, the U.S. Forest Service (FS) and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have been working together to improve the health of forests where public and private lands meet. Through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership, the two USDA agencies are restoring landscapes, reducing wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protecting water quality, and enhancing wildlife habitat.

Each year, the agency selects new three-year projects. These projects build on existing efforts and partnerships. By leveraging technical and financial resources and coordinating activities on adjacent public and private lands, conservation work by NRCS and FS will be more efficient and effective in these watersheds.

In Tennessee, the Joint Watershed Restoration Project was selected for fiscal year 2016 funding and received project-continuation funds for 2017 and 2018. This project is one of 11 new projects selected across the nation for FY 2016 funding. The project are includes five (5) counties in southeast Tennessee: Bradley, Polk, Monroe, McMinn, and Meigs.
 

FY 2017 Joint Watershed Restoration Project in Tennessee

The Joint Watershed Restoration Project is designed to address the following objectives of the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership:  

  1. Protect water quality and supply for communities and industry; and 
     
  2. Improve habitat quality for threatened and endangered, at-risk, and ecosystem surrogate species.

Within the project area, nonpoint source pollution has been identified as a major source of water use impairment to surface waters in the Hiawassee river basin, with agriculture being a major contributor. Past and current land uses have resulted in the loss of riparian forests leading to tributaries of the Hiawasee river basin being impacted by sediment, nutrients, and high stream temperatures. 

The project will help improve water quality and the resiliency of the forest ecosystem and at-risk aquatic ecosystem in an area spanning 1,328,733 acres by focusing on outreach and education, reducing sediment loads, improving water quality, removing non-native invasive species, restoring riparian forests, increasing flood resiliency and aquatic organism passage, improving wildlife habitat, and improving forest management through private landowner assistance.
 

Resource Concerns

The project priority areas will address the following resource concerns:
  • Soil Erosion & Soil Quality Degradation on applicable land uses (crop, pasture/hay, forest)
  • Water Quality Degradation (sediment, nutrient, excess pathogens)
  • Stream-bank Improvement (stabilization and riparian zone)
  • Fish Habitat Improvement (water quality, riparian zone, barrier removal)
  • Wildlife Habitat Improvement (water quality, riparian zone, and upland)
  • Nutrient Management (crop, pasture/hay)
  • Degraded Plant Condition (forest, pasture/hay, riparian zone)
     

Financial and Technical Assistance

Within the project area, nonpoint source pollution has been identified as a major source of water use impairment to surface waters in the Hiawassee river basin, with agriculture being a major contributor. Past and current land uses have resulted in the loss of riparian forests leading to tributaries of the Hiawasee river basin being impacted by sediment, nutrients, and high stream temperatures. This project will focus on improving water quality and the resiliency of the forest ecosystem and at-risk aquatic ecosystem within the project area. Ultimately, the project will benefit the surface water sources for over 150,000 watershed residents and multiple industrial users through a strong, local partnership between private and non-private groups.

Fiscal Year 2017 Funding: U.S. Forest Service - $329,000; Natural Resources Conservation Service - $850,000

Forest: Cherokee

Partners: Tennessee Division of Forestry; Hiwassee River Watershed Coalition; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; McMinn, Meigs, Monroe, Bradley and Polk Soil Conservation Districts.
 

Who Should Apply?

Project application deadline is Friday, November 18, 2016 for FY2016 funding. Interested landowners in Bradley, Polk, Monroe, McMinn, and Meigs counties are encouraged to apply by the deadline.

How to Apply

Private landowners may contact their local NRCS office for technical and financial assistance.


Media

  • Read the Joint Watershed Restoration Project News Release here.
     

Contact

Brandon Moore
District Conservationist
McMinn and Meigs counties
brandon.moore@tn.usda.gov
(423) 745-6300, x3

Chase Hicks
District Conservationist
Bradley and Polk counties
chase.hicks@tn.usda.gov
(731) 281-9224, x3
 

Other Important Links

National Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership

2016 Projects Map

2016 Funding

2016 New Project Summaries