Conservancy applauds leadership of Hastings, Murray, Dicks and Cantwell SEATTLE — Oct. 30, 2009 — The Nature Conservancy today applauded Sen. Murray, Sen. Cantwell, Rep. Dicks and Rep. Hastings for the leadership in securing $10 million in funding for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, a new Forest Service program that will enable sustainable solutions to the critical forest health problems facing our nation.
“Forests protect our drinking water, help keep our air clean and shelter wildlife,” said Karen Anderson, state director of the Conservancy. “This funding will enable the Forest Service to act at landscape scale to restore ecological balance to our unnaturally dense forests at risk of catastrophic wildfires. Sen. Murray, Sen. Cantwell, Rep. Dicks and Rep. Hastings have worked tirelessly to make sure that the federal dollars were available to support this innovative and crucial program.”
The funding was approved as part of the Interior and Environment Appropriations Act for 2010 passed Thursday by the House and Senate.
“I worked to secure this funding for the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program because I know that keeping our forests healthy is an important part of protecting our ecosystem and maintaining this precious natural resource for our families to enjoy,” said Senator Patty Murray.
The restoration program was designed to increase the scale and scope of efforts to thin small trees, reduce fuels, and restore ecological conditions in federally managed forests. Previous land management practices have resulted in a build-up of vegetation that hinders tree growth and regeneration, leaves the forests vulnerable to diseases and pests, and at risk of catastrophic wildfires.
Under the program, which was established by Congress in April, several landscapes will be selected by the Forest Service annually to receive forest health treatments. Sites will be selected based on demonstrated ecological need, sound science, the existence of multi-stakeholder collaborative planning, private investment and other key criteria that focus on identifying those landscapes of at least 50,000 acres with the greatest likelihood of success.
In Yakima and Kittitas counties in central Washington, the Conservancy has assembled the Tapash Sustainable Forests Collaborative, a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the state Department of Natural Resources, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Yakama Nation to develop a shared strategy for managing about 2 million acres of forest for longterm forest health. This is one of several restoration-focused partnerships across the country that will be eligible to receive this funding.
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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