Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership Initiative

Volunteers plant trees and shrubs on the Mower Tract. Black cows meandering up a hillside. A machine with four wheels along a wide wheel base digs into the the side of a delicate stream.. Crews conduct prescribed burns among the brown fall undergrowth of fall in a hardwood forest area.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Forest Service are working together in West Virginia to improve the health of forests where public forests and grasslands connect to privately owned lands through the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership. The priority area for focused conservation treatments includes five watersheds that form the headwaters of the Potomac and Ohio rivers. The two agencies work together with partners to restore landscapes, reduce wildfire threats to communities and landowners, protect water quality and enhance wildlife habitat. The partnership formally began in 2014 with the West Virginia Restoration Venture, and in 2017 they launched the Appalachian Ecosystem Restoration Initiative with a second round of funding from USDA. In 2019, the initiative formally wrapped up, but the partnership for landscape restoration will continue to be long lasting.

Appalachian Ecosystem Restoration Initiative

The landscape supports several ecosystems that are critical reservoirs of biodiversity in eastern North America, including cold water trout streams, red spruce forests, oak-hickory forests and northern hardwood forests.

Projects include restoring red spruce forests, mined lands, watersheds and aquatic habitat, fire-adapted oak-hickory forests, early successional habitat, and various working landscapes on private and public land. USDA and its partners focus on restoring and re-connecting various ecosystems that support this biodiversity, while helping to boost the local economy.

Partners include Trout Unlimited, Green Forests Work, American Forests, Ruffed Grouse Society, Canaan Valley Institute and The Nature Conservancy, among others. 

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