February 02, 2012

Idaho Collaboratives Selected for Forest Service Funding

Crapo encouraged by decision to fund two additional land management collaborative efforts in Idaho

Washington, D.C. - Senator Mike Crapo today commended Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's decision to fund the Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters Project and Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative (KVRI) under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) program.  The two collaborative efforts will join the Clearwater Basin Collaborative's north-central Idaho Selway-Middle Fork Clearwater Project in receiving funding from the Forest Service for landscape restoration to reduce wildfire risk, improve fish and wildlife habitat and increase timber harvest.

"Idaho is home to millions of acres of federal land, including eight national forests that provide jobs and recreation to many Idaho communities," Crapo said.  "Secretary Vilsack's selection of two additional Idaho collaboratives for CFLR funding highlights the challenging and productive efforts by Idahoans in these communities to come together to find solutions to land management conflicts that stretch back decades.  Collaboration is neither fast nor easy, but as evidenced by the Forest Service's announcement today, significant progress can be made when folks agree to come to the table to find mutually agreeable and lasting solutions to issues on our public lands."

"We are so excited to have this opportunity; our application was a huge team effort," Patty Perry, KVRI Coordinator said.  "We are looking forward to helping shape on the ground activities that can bring forest restoration and jobs - and having the funds to implement them.  Caring for the forests where we live, work and play is truly a shared responsibility."

"Smaller, rural counties like ours with a lot of forested land have struggled with unemployment and the reductions in funding to our schools related to forest management decisions," said Payette Forest Coalition member and Adams County Commissioner Mike Paradis.  "This new funding will trickle down to help our local economy with hiring of local contractors.  We are dedicated to make this Coalition work and it is well-worth the effort to reach this consensus."

The Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters Project located on the Payette National Forest is an initiative led by the Payette Forest Coalition and will receive $2,450,000 to re-establish ponderosa pine stands across the forest, restore wildlife habitat and provide jobs to Valley and Adams counties.  The Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative has been approved for $324,000 in funding for landscape restoration activities on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.  In announcing the funding, Secretary Vilsack noted that the Forest Service is accelerating restoration work on the forest with an emphasis on collaborative efforts throughout the United States.

A copy of the USDA's press release can be accessed at the following link: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=2012/02/0039.xml.