USFS Initiative: Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes

The USFS and state partners announced today an initiative called Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes: An Outcome-based investment Strategy, the USFS’s “plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs.” A report on the initiative is here.

From the press release:

A key component of the new strategy is to prioritize investment decisions on forest treatments in direct coordination with states using the most advanced science tools. This allows the USFS to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that protect communities and create resilient forests.

The USFS will also build upon the authorities created by the 2018 Omnibus Bill, including new categorical exclusions for land treatments to improve forest conditions, new road maintenance authorities, and longer stewardship contracting in strategic areas. The agency will continue streamlining its internal processes to make environmental analysis more efficient and timber sale contracts more flexible.




8 thoughts on “USFS Initiative: Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes”

  1. I like this approach for many reasons including that folks often don’t know why the FS picks projects where they do (as evidenced by statements at the EADM workshops) and this should help with transparency.

    “Our concept for an outcome-based investment strategy has three core elements:

    Determining management needs on a State level. We will prioritize stewardship decisions directly with the States, setting priorities together and combining our mutual skills and assets to achieve cross-boundary outcomes desired by all.

    Doing the right work in the right places at the right scale. We will use new mapping and decision tools to locate treatments where they can do the most good, thereby protecting communities, watersheds, and economies where the risks are greatest.

    Using all available tools for active management. We will use every authority and tool we have to do more work on the ground, including timber sales, mechanical treatments, and carefully managed fire, working with partners and stakeholders to choose the right tools.”

    • I like it, too — if more work gets done on the ground, and soon. But is there any money for doing that work?

      Very smoky here in NW Oregon today, as it has been for several days. At least the haze has kept temperatures a bit lower….

    • It seems to me that the time CalFire employees have to spare is limited to the dead of winter, when Forest Service access is lowest, and burning conditions are the worst. I also wonder if the Calfire folks would be learning how to mark timber, designate boundaries, cruise timber, monitor loggers and walk skid trails (for 4 weeks out of every year). Even if there is “Designation By Description”, the scale they want to accomplish will also require an army of inspectors, who know what they are doing. There is no pool of extra forestry expertise, waiting for a phone call.

  2. The Administration proposes and Congress disposes… what they can do is place a greater priority (within whatever budgets show up) on joint projects.

  3. Here is a letter from Michel T. Rains to President Trump regarding the shared strategy and more broadly the need for funding for a “forest fix.” Posted with Rains’ permission.

    “To do this requires additional funds. Yet, the current 2018 budget and your 2019 proposed budget offer little ability for the void to be filled. Thus, with all due respect, the words at the Cabinet Meeting appear to me as empty words. Please allow me to be wrong.”

    The letter includes the text of Rains’ op-ed from the August edition of The Forestry Source, “An Open Letter to Congress: We Need a Forest Fix.” An excerpt:

    Many observers conclude that the fire fix will solve everything. This is not true. The act does authorize emergency firefighting funds ranging from $2.25 to $2.95 billion per year, from 2020 to 2027. And the 10-year average for fire suppression—a figure used by the Forest Service for budget-development purposes—will be frozen at the 2015 level. All of this is good news.

    However, the fire fix certainly does nothing to backfill the huge gap that has been created in lost non-fire skills and foregone forest-management activities. It is critical that this be recognized and that new momentum be immediately established for the next step: deploying an aggressive forest-management strategy so that effective fire management can be achieved and sustained. This strategy will require new funds—in the range of $1.3 billion to $2.2 billion for the next three to five years, at minimum—to help replenish the skills and work shifted away from the Forest Service’s forest-management programs. The Consolidated Appropriations Act does not include these additional funds. Unless they are provided, the fire fix will have little to do with helping fire become the conservation tool America’s landscapes require.

    • Absolutely! Any proposed plan should include workforce requirements for implementation and appropriate funding to accurately accomplish the implementation. The danger of a ‘bait and switch’ situation is high, if implementation becomes problematic (and it will!)


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