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Crapo Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators in Introducing Legislation to Continue and Expand Collaborative Forest Work

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan group of Senators, led by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, announced the introduction of legislation that would reauthorize and expand the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP).  This critical program, which helps fund collaborative and community-based forest management, has a proven track record of improving forest health, reducing wildfire risk, and supporting rural communities. 

In addition to Crapo and Merkley, the legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jim Risch (R-ID), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Jon Tester (D-MT). 

“I have long supported active forest management practices as they play a vital role in reducing the risk of wildfires and fire suppression efforts,” said Crapo.  “Collaborative practices provide Idaho’s stakeholders with the tools necessary to improve forest health, encourage the responsible stewardship of our public lands and foster resilient, rural economies.  Ensuring long-term reauthorization of the CFLRP will promote Idaho’s forest health.” 

This bipartisan legislation would extend the program through 2029, and expand its reach by increasing authorized funding to $80 million per year. 

Since its enactment in 2009, CFLRP has a proven track record of success in managing forests to increase forest health, mitigate wildfires, and support local economies and local voices.  CFLRP requires various local stakeholders to collaborate, resulting in stronger relationships on the ground, better projects, and a decreased risk of conflict and litigation. 

Currently, there are three CFLRP projects in Idaho, including:

  • The Clearwater Basin Collaborative,
  • Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative, and
  • Payette Forest Coalition. 

To date, 23 CFLRP projects in 14 states have sold more than 2.5 billion board feet of timber; created $1.4 billion in local labor income; and improved 760 miles of trails for sports enthusiasts and recreation.  On average, CFLRP creates or maintains 5,400 jobs each year at current funding levels – a number that would likely increase if funding is expanded, as proposed by today’s bill. 

In addition, CFLRP has reduced the risk of megafires on more than 2.9 million acres. 

Today’s legislation is supported by a broad cross-section of the timber industry, rural economic development entities, and environmental organizations across Idaho and the Northwest. 

The legislation was referred to the Committee on Agriculture, and the Senators will be working to include it in the 2018 farm bill. 

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