US Forest Service, California Natural Resources Agency sign master agreement supporting restoration activities

Release Date: Feb 9, 2016  

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VALLEJO, California – In a move that will increase collaborative forest management in California, the U.S. Forest Service and California Natural Resources Agency recently signed a Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) master agreement. This new agreement will allow state entities within the California Natural Resources Agency to complement the restoration work being done by U.S. Forest Service staff in California over the next 10 years. Supplemental agreements between national forests and California state agencies will tier to the master agreement and specifically identify the work the state can perform on National Forest System (NFS) lands.

“Having this agreement in place will enhance our collaboration with the Forest Service to restore habitat, sequester carbon, and improve the ability of California’s forests to cope with climate change,” said John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources.  “I’m excited about the new opportunities this agreement will create for Natural Resource Agency departments including CAL FIRE, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and the California Conservation Corps.”

The 2014 Farm Bill authorized Good Neighbor Authority for use by the U.S. Forest Service. The Authority allows the Forest Service to enter into agreements or contracts with states to perform forest, rangeland and watershed restoration services on NFS lands. It can leverage state resources to increase capacity to accomplish work on these public lands. 

“This new agreement is a powerful tool to enrich partnerships and collaboration for restoring healthy trees, waters and wildlife in California’s forests,” said Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester for the U.S. Forest Service. “Projects using this authority have the ability to greatly increase the pace and scale of our forest restoration efforts and foster innovative partnerships for landscape scale management efforts.”

The agreement facilitates expanded federal-state partnerships to increase and streamline vital conservation work across all forest lands. Additionally, it provides a means to proactively treat forests to help limit the extent of damaging wildfires, remove hazardous dead and dying trees, protect and restore California’s watersheds, implement projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and secure long-term carbon storage.

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