EDGEFIELD, S.C. — As part of its 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy, the USDA Forest Service announced expanded efforts to reduce catastrophic wildfires throughout the western U.S. The 11 new landscapes in seven states — Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming — will directly benefit at-risk communities and critical infrastructure, and ultimately bolster the NWTF’s collaborative efforts with the agency to make a greater impact on the nation’s natural resources.
Today’s announcement in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest complements the agency’s 10 landscape projects revealed in 2021. Total efforts to address catastrophic wildfire will now span nearly 45 million acres across 134 high-risk firesheds in the western U.S. This work will mitigate risk to approximately 200 communities within these landscapes.
“Our greatest opportunity to intervene and address this emergency is now,” Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said. “Doing this work in the right place, at the right time and right scale, combined with the use of emergency authorities, will accelerate our planning, consultation, contracting, hiring and project work to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health and resiliency. Collaboration with tribes, communities and partners will remain a priority, and we will continue to use the best available science when carrying out this important work.”
These newly expanded efforts come one year after the 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy was first announced. Since releasing the strategy one year ago, the Forest Service and its partners have used the best available science and data to identify the highest-risk landscapes for projects. The agency found that around 80% of the wildfire risk to communities is concentrated in less than 10% of firesheds. These targeted investments focus on firesheds of the highest risk, where projects are ready to begin or to expand.
“Just one year after the Wildfire Crisis Strategy commenced across our western landscapes, the Forest Service is already increasing its efforts to ensure appropriate measures are taken in a timely manner,” NWTF co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “We stand ready to lend our support through our shared stewardship model of conservation.”
With over 50 active stewardship agreements and around 150 completed, the Forest Service is the NWTF’s strongest agency partner, collaborating on national forests in every Forest Service region in the country to enhance the nation’s natural resources. Furthermore, the NWTF and the USDA Forest Service recently signed a first of its kind, 20-year national master stewardship agreement that dovetails into the Wildfire Crisis Strategy.
The partnership between the NWTF and the Forest Service works exceptionally well because the work done to benefit wild turkey habitat and other wildlife has considerable, far-reaching benefits to overall forest health, water supply, biodiversity and ecological health.
“Our partnership with the Forest Service benefits turkeys and turkey hunters, but also much more,” Dyroff said. “Our conservation delivery on our nation’s forests and grasslands impacts our critically important Four Shared Values, which benefit all Americans. We look forward to continuing our efforts with the Forest Service and addressing our nation’s most urgent conservation challenges.”
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has conserved or enhanced over 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The organization continues to drive wildlife conservation, forest resiliency and robust recreational opportunities throughout the U.S. by working across boundaries on a landscape scale.
2023 is the NWTF’s 50 th anniversary and an opportunity to propel the organization’s mission into the future while honoring its rich history. For its 50 th anniversary, the NWTF has set six ambitious goals: positively impact 1 million acres of wildlife habitat; raise $500,000 for wild turkey research; increase membership to 250,000 members; dedicate $1 million to education and outreach programs; raise $5 million to invest in technology and NWTF’s people; and raise $5 million to build toward a $50 million endowment for the future. Learn how you can help us reach these lofty goals.
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