The U.S. Forest Service announced today that 1.45 million acres of America’s forests and watersheds – an area larger than Delaware – are healthier as a result of collaborative partnerships to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires.

Authorized for 10 years through the 2009 Omnibus Public Land Management Act, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) was created to emphasize partnerships between government and local forest workers, sawmill owners, conservationists, businesses, sportsmen, outdoor recreationists and others to improve forest health and promote the well-being of local communities.

“Collaboration is working. CFLRP demonstrates that we can bring together forest industry, environmentalists, local communities and others to produce healthier forests while producing a sustainable timber supply for local mills,” said Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie. “This long-term investment gives our partners the confidence to fully engage in restoration activities. The collaboratives expand Forest Service resources – generating over $76.1 million in matching funding from partners in the past five years, and with continued support we expect this number to grow over the next five years.”

“The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program is a groundbreaking approach to improving our nation’s forests, making communities safer and bolstering local economies,” said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “The Forest Service is anchoring projects across the country with more than 200 local partners to restore our forests and support our local economies.”

Since 2010, the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program has brought local communities and timber companies together to improve forests conditions across 23 high-priority project sites, from Florida, to Missouri, to Washington State and places in-between. The coordination with local partner organizations is essential to getting substantial work done.

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