2010 Award Winners

Cheri Ford

Cheri serves as the Capital City Coordinator for the National Forests in the State of Colorado. Cheri has been vital in moving three Regional/National initiatives forward in the past year with Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) and NRCS partners. She also facilitated, coordinated input and engagement of the seven National Forests and the CSFS on data collection and analysis, review and comment, and strategic outreach and collaborative input for the Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy. Cheri also led the development of a statewide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with NRCS, CSFS, and Conservation Districts that describes how the partner agencies will work together to deliver conservation planning and implement technical assistance across all lands.

West Virginia Forest Stewardship Partnership

West Virginia (WV) Division of Forestry, NRCS, and the FS, Monongahela National Forest signed a MOU in 2008. The WV Division of Forestry and NRCS play critical roles in timber and vegetation management on state and private lands, while the Monongahela National Forest manages FS land in the state. These agencies also collaborated to help manage vegetation and soil resources across land ownership boundaries. NRCS and FS capitalized on the depth of skills of the State Forester’s workforce to promote exemplary forest stewardship in West Virginia. The FS provided technical expertise and counsel needed to maximize those benefits on the ground. The WV Division of Forestry assisted the FS with professional foresters to assist with federal workload backlog. The WV forestry community has grown through the accomplishments and collaborative efforts of this partnership.

Alabama Natural Resource Council

The Alabama Natural Resource Council includes 21 members from various federal and state government agencies, organizations representing non-industrial private forest landowners, cooperative extension, and research institutions. The council coordinates on various projects including outreach and education, which includes a field trip for private forest landowners and elementary school children.
One area of active collaboration is an ongoing restoration and maintenance project on 700,000 acres of longleaf pine in Alabama. In 2010, the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC), thru American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants, received thru the FS, accomplished 2,900 acres of restoration activities on state lands and leveraged funding with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to establish longleaf on 1,256 acres on private lands. In addition, the NRCS obligated $1.16 million of Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) funds to establish/improve longleaf pine on 6,023 acres on private lands and is looking to double those results in fiscal year 2011. The FS is implementing landscape level programs to restore and improve 166,000 acres of existing longleaf on FS lands in Alabama, including prescribed burning over 70,000 acres.
The AFC completed the comprehensive Alabama Statewide Forest Assessment and Resource Strategy in 2010. Through the cooperation of the partnering agencies and organizations, 216 core response strategies were developed. This collaboration of leadership continues with the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for implementation of the response strategies. The MOU represents their commitment to sustaining momentum for conservation of Alabama’s natural resources.

Collaborative Coastal Whole Watershed Restoration: The Siuslaw Partnership

This partnership is composed of organizations and individuals including private landowners, environmental groups, watershed councils, forest restoration contractors, soil and water conservation districts, tribal and local government representatives, and the Siuslaw National Forest. Their designated Stewardship area covers almost 65 percent of the total forest area, plus adjoining private lands within the same watershed. Some innovative tools and approaches the partnership has developed include:
– Work in watersheds is prioritized and plans are completed sequentially, identifying and then completing the mix of integrated actions needed to restore each watershed across multiple ownerships.
– Monthly open stewardship meetings plus regular roundtables and field trips to project sites enables these groups to interact and provide well-vetted feedback to Forest staff on forest restoration plans.
– Student-led ‘charrette’ planning: an interdisciplinary team of graduate students quickly compiles and analyzes historic, social, and scientific information, then guides the local community in developing a conceptual plan for the area. Four of these landscape plans have been implemented across the Forest.
– Extensive use of Wyden Amendment authority includes applying portions of proceeds from Forest Service stewardship timber sales (approximately $150,000- $300,000 annually) as ‘core’ funding for watershed restoration on private lands, encouraging other state, federal and private investments.
This partnership has been successful in completing five watershed restoration projects; nearly completed priority restoration needs in a small tributary and another larger river estuary system; improving community relationships by creating sustainable jobs through a program that produces a dependable output of small diameter, high quality timber; and leveraged the Siuslaw National Forest $1 million restoration fund by an average of $2 million in partner investment in collaborative restoration projects. This partnership has shown tremendous initiative, imagination, and the highest level of professional skills to implement a rapidly expanding, world-class program for forest and watershed restoration.