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USDA Invests More than $46 Million to Protect Communities from Wildfires, Restore Forest Ecosystems and Improve Drinking Water

Sierra Blanca Restoration Partnership – One of 8 new Partnerships


   

 

USDA Invests More than $46 Million to Protect Communities from Wildfires, Restore Forest Ecosystems and Improve Drinking Water

ALBUQUERQUE NM, Jan. 15, 2021  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest more than $46 million this year through the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership for projects that mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, and restore healthy forest ecosystems on public and private lands. Funding for 37 projects includes $13 million for eight new projects and $33.3 million to complete work on 29 projects previously selected in 2019 and 2020. Through the projects, USDA’s Forest Service (FS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are working hand-in-hand with agricultural producers, forest landowners, and National Forest System lands to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs and other authorities.

The Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership enables NRCS and FS to collaborate with agricultural producers and forest landowners to invest in conservation and restoration at a big enough scale to make a difference. Working in partnership, and at this scale, helps reduce wildfire threats, protect water quality and supply, and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

The New Mexico: Sierra Blanca Restoration Partnership is one of eight new projects. Below is a full description of this project.

New Mexico - Sierra Blanca Restoration Partnership

  • Lincoln National Forest (Lincoln, Otero, and Chaves counties)--Located near the picturesque Sierra Blanca Mountain, this project sits in the southern half of Lincoln County and the northern portion of Otero County. Heavy fuel loadings of Pinon-Juniper, Ponderosa Pine, and Mixed Conifer forest contribute to high risk of uncharacteristic wildfire and significant threat to local communities, infrastructure, two adjacent wilderness areas, source water for community water supplies, as well as the congressionally designated Snowy River Cave System. This project will provide for treatment on a combination of private, Tribal, municipal, and Federal lands. Project activities will focus on mechanical fuels reduction, prescribed burning, riparian area restoration, to include mastication in Pinon-Juniper areas with minimal understory. Desired landscape outcomes are improved resilience of firesheds and watersheds, and increased water quality and supply. Ancillary benefits of these outcomes will be enhanced wildlife habitat for several threatened and endangered (T&E) species, and ability to reintroduce native Cutthroat Trout into the local watersheds. Benefits to the community include lowered risk for wildfire, efficiencies and strategic security for water quality/supply, and stimulation of the local economy via enhanced tourism opportunities.

Through the new three-year projects, landowners will work with local USDA experts and partners to apply targeted forestry management practices on their land, such as thinning, hazardous fuel treatments, fire breaks, and other systems to meet unique forestry challenges in their area.

For full project descriptions and information on completed projects, visit the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership website.

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    The 74th NMACD Annual Conference hosted by Region V was held virtually Tuesday, November 10th, with 130 registered.  For the Outstanding Award winners for this year's NMACD Awards, click on State under News and Events.

    Each year NMACD honors all those conservation partners and friends who have left us during the year.  The Memorial presentation is at the bottom of this page for you to access.  Please join us in remembering them.

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NMACD Admin,
Nov 16, 2020, 10:40 PM