Improving the Health and Resilience of our Nation’s Forests and Watersheds

DENVER – Congressional authorization of a forest restoration partnership will expand funding for a crucial initiative designed to improve the health and resilience of our nation’s forests while safeguarding clean water supplies. The Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership Act of 2021, co-sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), formally authorizes an initiative of the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service and the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service that has restored nearly 30,000 acres of priority watersheds and enhanced 200,000 acres of wildlife habitat. 

“This bipartisan legislation will ensure the durability of a vital program that has supported forest and watershed restoration projects across public and private lands in 40 states and Puerto Rico. These projects help reduce wildfire risk while improving wildlife habitat,” said David Willms, senior director for western wildlife and conservation at the National Wildlife Federation. “At a time when wildlife face a heightened risk of extinction and our lands are battered by megafires, drought, and other impacts from climate change, expansion of this initiative will create jobs while building resiliency into our forests, watersheds, and nearby communities.”

“This important partnership recognizes the reality that land management is also water management when it comes to our nation’s forests. We work with the Healthy Headwaters Alliance to support safe and reliable water supplies from public watersheds throughout the West,” said Sarah Bates, senior director for western water at the National Wildlife Federation. “Authorizing and expanding the Joint Chiefs partnership offers the opportunity to restore tens of thousands of additional acres of priority watersheds in cooperation with diverse partners.”

The Department of Agriculture launched the Joint Chiefs Partnership seven years ago, but the program has never been officially authorized or fully funded. 

 

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