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Crapo, Merkley Team Up to Expand Collaborative Forest Work

Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) teamed up to introduce the bipartisan Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) Program Reauthorization Act of 2023.  This legislation would reauthorize and expand the CFLR program, which helps fund collaborative and community-based forest management.  The CFLR program has a proven track record of improving forest health, reducing wildfire risk, and supporting rural communities.

“Shared, active forest management plays a vital role in reducing the risk of wildfires and fire suppression,” said Crapo.   “Ensuring long-term reauthorization of the CFLRP will promote Idaho’s forest health, encourage the responsible stewardship of our public lands and foster resilient, rural economies.  Reauthorizing the CFLRP results in stronger relationships on the ground, more effective projects and a decreased risk of conflict and litigation.”

“When people come together to develop collaborative plans, we can thin overgrown forests and create better timber stands, better ecosystems, better fire resistance, and more jobs,” said Merkley.   “This is a proven, bipartisan model that delivers healthier forests and stronger communities instead of litigation and conflict. Investing more in collaborative solutions will make a real difference in rural communities across Oregon and beyond.”

In addition to Merkley and Crapo, this legislation is supported by Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Jon Tester (D-Montana) and Michael Bennet (D-Colorado).

The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) program brings stakeholders from all walks of life together to create solutions aimed at reducing wildfire risk across the West. Requirements of this program ensure various local stakeholders collaborate, resulting in stronger relationships on the ground, better more effective projects, and a decreased risk of conflict and litigation.  The program was last reauthorized by Senators Merkley and Crapo in the 2018 Farm Bill. The Senate is expected to take up a new 5-year Farm Bill in 2023.

CFLR was first authorized in 2009, and in the first ten years of the program, CFLR projects treated and restored 5.7 million acres of forestland, and have helped improve 1,000 miles of trails and maintain 25,000 miles of roads.

The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program Reauthorization Act of 2023 would extend the program for another ten years, increase the size and scope of the Collaborative to reduce wildfire risk, and make other program improvements.

Final bill text can be found here.

A bill summary can be found here.