People in Missouri stand to benefit from a successful and relatively new federal jobs and forest health program, if selected by a federal advisory board and if Congress fully funds the bipartisan program. The effort, called the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), was created by Congress in 2009 to foster collaborative, science-based restoration in National Forests around the country.
The local project under review for investment, the Missouri Pine-Oak Woodlands Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project, would create jobs, improve forest health, enhance water quality, and benefit wildlife habitat in the Ozark Highlands in southeast Missouri.
The Missouri Pine-Oak Woodlands Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project has received support from a broad coalition of local partners, from businesses to conservationists.
Preston Mabry, Current River Project Manager for The Nature Conservancy, said “The Missouri Pine-Oak Woodlands Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project would help support businesses in our community by putting people to work providing marketable forest products.”
“Missouri’s pinelands shaped the history of the eastern Ozarks, and today are critical economic and conservation resources. This project will ensure they are sustained as productive, ecologically healthy systems for present and future generations,” said Doug Ladd, Director of Conservation Science for the Conservancy. “Our pineland heritage is globally unique, and we have a responsibility to future generations to sustain both its productivity and its rich array of wildlife and plants.”
The broad coalition supporting this local project is mirrored by bipartisan support in Washington— both the Senate and House budgets for 2012 have proposed funding CFLRP at the $30 million level. Currently in the Senate a “Dear Colleague” letter is being circulated for increasing that level of support to $40 million, as co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Republican Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho.
“The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program is bringing communities from around the country together to create jobs, to restore forest and watershed health, and to reduce the costs of wildfire suppression at impressive scales,” offered Senator Bingaman. “The program and its many supporters are charting a successful path forward for National Forest management.”
These first-year CFLRP benefits were shared in a new annual report on the program, which detailed results and described 2011 applicant projects (including Missouri Pine-Oak Woodlands Collaborative Landscape Restoration Project).
First-year results from the 10 invested CFLRP sites include:
• Created and maintained 1,550 jobs;
• Produced 107 million board feet of timber;
• Generated nearly $59 million of labor income;
• Removed fuel for destructive mega-fires on 90,000 acres near communities;
• Reduced mega-fire on an additional 64,000 acres;
• Improved 66,000 acres of wildlife habitat;
• Restored 28 miles of fish habitat;
• Enhanced clean water supplies by remediating 163 miles of eroding roads.
The annual report was produced by the CFLRP Coalition, which is comprised of 144 member organizations that includes private businesses, communities, counties, tribes, water suppliers, associations, and non-governmental organizations.
Copies of the 2010 CFLRP Annual Report can be requested from Jon Schwedler of the CFLRP Coalition at email@example.com.
Information on CFLRP can be found at the U.S. Forest Service’s website.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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