Collaborative work on forest health and fire protection in San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego counties
The USDA Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties have collaborated in a highly effective partnership across ownership lines to seamlessly ensure forest health and fuel treatments are placed in the most critical community protection and evacuation route sites. This work was accomplished in response to the catastrophic forest mortality in southern California forests in San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties. The combination of a five-year drought and insect and diseases resulted in a massive area of vegetation mortality in 2003 -2004 that threatened human safety and had significant economic and ecological impacts on communities and forests. The work of these partners across the landscape has transformed these forests from an explosion waiting to happen to forests with a future.
North Dakota Living Snow Fence Task Force
The North Dakota Living Snow Fence Task Force has been hugely successful in delivering the North Dakota Living Snow Fence Initiative since 1997. Members of the multi-agency Task Force have been exceptionally willing to support the initiative in a unified and collaborative effort toward a common goal. They have utilized existing delivery mechanisms, while taking advantage of a combination of currently available and creative new local, state and federal funding sources. North Dakota has established 526 new projects and planted 833 miles of trees protecting 236 miles of roads in 40 counties. Over $2.8 million in grant funds have been made available.
The Living Snow Fence Initiative has been lead by a pro-active task force who have developed cost-effective and sensible solutions to mitigate life threatening problems. Through initiative, partnerships, resourcefulness and creativity, the Task Force will continue to succeed. In doing so, they will make North Dakota a better, safer place to live.
Restoring Riparian Forests on the Hopi Reservation
The Hopi Tribe Department of Natural Resources, Moenkopi School, FS State & Private Forestry, National Forest System, and Research & Development, and NRCS Los Lunas and Aberdeen Plant Materials Centers have worked together to restor riparian forest on the Hopi reservation. The Hopi are using FS and NRCS training to identify, collect, propagate, and deploy native species to restore their riparian forests after removing invasive species; are using propagation techniques and planting tools developed by FS and NRCS to restore their important plant species; are using curricula prepared by FS and NRCS to teach their children (and Navajo children) about conservation issues; and are involving their children in restoring their lands by growing plants in a Cultural Plant Propagation Center (CPPC) at Moenkopi School.
The Vermont Envirothon has been training high-school students for 12 years in natural resource concepts and challenges. Besides learning basic concepts in soils, forestry, aquatic environment and wildlife, the partners in this program use the environmental issue to send students out into their community to do an assessment, inventory or investigation. The outcome of this partnership is 100 – 200 Vermont students/year with increased environmental literacy. The Natural Resource Conservation Service, Forest Service, Vermont Forestry, Vermont Aquatics, Vermont Wildlife, and Vermont Conservation Districts have partnered in this effort.
National Agroforestry Visual Simulation Kit
The USDA National Agroforestry Center (NAC) has developed and delivered the Visual Simulation Kit for creating visual simulations of agroforestry and conservation proposals. This kit consists of the Visual Simulation Guide the CanVis image editing software, and self-paced Training Modules.
NAC worked with the Nebraska Forest Service to beta test the Kit and in June of 2006 Alcorn State University and the Mississippi Forestry Commission hosted two trainings to evaluate the pre-requisite self-paced training modules. Other accomplishments and utilization include:
- 7 training sessions for natural resource professionals,
- NRCS approved the use of CanVis on its CCE,
- The Mississippi Urban Forestry Council will highlight the Kit in their training of over 500 Master Urban Foresters in 2007,
- NOAA is using CanVis with their coastal zone manager partners,
- Over 2,000 copies have been requested requested, including Southern & Auburn Universities for teaching, Trees Forever with community development projects, and numerous RC&Ds, communities, conservation districts and counties from 54 states and territories.
New Hampshire Environmental Quality Incentives Program
New Hampshire ranks second among the States in terms of forest cover, but its NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) proudly leads the Nation in allocating resources to address forest land environmental concerns. With executive support from NRCS, New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, and University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, the NH State Technical Committee dedicated over 15 percent of its FY-2005 EQIP budget to forest land conservation practices (compared with between 1 and 5 percent in most States).
In FY 2005, EQIP funding was used to accomplish the following:
- 1,246 acres of forest land thinned
- 2 acres of new riparian forest buffers established
- 190 acres of land planted to native trees and shrubs
- 152 acres of forest harvest trails and landings stabilized
- 7,185 acres of forest stand prescription (forest management plans)
Southeastern Silvopastural Initiative
In 2000 the USDA National Agroforestry Center dedicated the primary staff time of one technology transfer specialist to solicit support from its conservation partners, to identify barriers to implementation, and develop the technology transfer program targeted principally for Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, and Mississippi.The resulting targeted technology transfer program provided:
- 12 technical training sessions to over 500 agency personnel and about 50 consultants;
- 15 landowner workshops or field days;
- 8 silvopasture demonstration plantings in 5 states;
- An estimated 10,000 acres of new silvopastures established across the south
- Grants supporting CRP to Silvopasture demonstration 4 states, and a cooperative venture with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives and the Alabama Forestry Commission;
- Increased emphasis on silvopasture at universities, particularly 1890 Universities, and agency programs researching and promoting goat-silvopasture for limited resource farmers.
Cooperative Conservation in Missouri
Since March 2002, through the cooperation and leadership of Roger A. Hansen, Missouri NRCS State Conservationist, and John D. Hoskins, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), 10 soil conservationist positions have been established throughout the state focusing on forest stewardship and wildlife management. In response to the 2002 Farm Bill, Hansen and Hoskins decided it was of mutual interest to work together to achieve conservation of fish, forest, and wildlife, as well as soil and water resources, on threatened Missouri agricultural lands. These 10 conservationists work directly with private land users and SWCD cooperators on forestry, fisheries, and wildlife planning, practice application and conservation outreach activities. MDC provides $300,000 per fiscal year to match NRCS funding. As a result of this unique collaboration, Missouri stands out as a national leader in state and federal forestry and wildlife application through cooperative funding.
Arizona National Forest Environmental Quality Incentives Program
NRCS and USFS have always encouraged Coordinated Resource Management on the intermingled private, state, federal, and tribal land ownership in Arizona to improve resource management and to solve problems.
NRCS and USFS piloted the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) on Arizona’s Tonto National Forest in 2004. The pilot project was initiated with the support of the State Technical Committee, the Gila County Cattlegrowers, the Arizona Cattlegrowers, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, NRCS Chief Bruce Knight, and Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rey.
The pilot project allowed EQIP cost share funds to be used on any part of a ranching operation being managed under a Coordinated Resource Management plan. NRCS also signed agreements with the University of Arizona, Arizona Cattlegrowers, and Arizona Association of Conservation Districts to help develop case studies on selected ranches across Arizona that represent a variety of land ownerships, vegetation types, and grazing issues.
In 2006, the pilot project was expanded to all national forests in Arizona. As a result of this three year cooperative effort, NRCS and USFS have worked with ranchers and other partners to develop coordinated resource management plans on over 1 million acres of grazing lands. Forty seven coordinated resource management plans were developed over 3 years, and over $5.6 million in EQIP funds have been obligated.
Numerous NRCS Field Office and USFS Ranger District staff provided the daily cooperative work to get the job done. However, there are four individuals I would like to nominate, who provided the leadership to ensure that USDA programs were delivered in the spirit of cooperative conservation.