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Successful Forest Service Partnerships

Partnerships are at the very core of how the U.S. Forest Service does business.  There are partnerships that address almost every aspect of land management, scientific research and policy related to forests.

Forest Service partners with Arizona Elk Society to restore meadow system and protect Phoenix’s drinking water supply

In May 2017, approximately 150 volunteers sponsored by the Arizona Elk Society (AES) descended on the Mogollon Rim District of the Coconino National Forest to help restore the high elevation meadow at Long Valley Draw.  The partnership between AES and the Forest Service is designed to stabilize and reduce erosion in a headwater meadow system to the Verde River that provides drinking water to the Phoenix metro area.  Specific projects completed by AES and the Forest Service included installing loose-rock structures to stabilize headcuts, laying back steep side banks and installing erosion mat and seed to re-establish vegetation, and thinning small ponderosa pine trees that are beginning to encroach in the meadow system.  AES provided 35 Forest Service certified volunteer sawyers for the thinning, provided logistical support to all of the volunteers, as well as obtained funding to hire Natural Channel Design to design and manage the restoration work.  This project is phase one of a multi-stage restoration strategy for the project.  In 2018, the Forest Service is partnering with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) and AES for stage 2 of the project that will continue with the work started in 2017 with additional funds provided by NFF’s Northern Arizona Forest Fund. 

Creativity fosters success in Alaska partnerships

What’s a budget-strapped forest to do?  Each year, members of the Forest Service recreation staff in Alaska work with more than 2 million people who visit their state’s two national forests, the Tongass and Chugach. It’s no small feat—for more than 10 years, federal funding for recreation has waned as has Agency capacity.  

A photo of five Angoon youth sitting around a table talking about conservation Fortunately, Regional Forester Beth Pendleton and her team were interested when George Schaaf, the Regional Partnership Coordinator, suggested developing a special fund with the National Forest Foundation (NFF) as a way to attract additional funds and capacity. The resulting Alaska Forest Fund (AFF) can leverage federal funding with private support in a straightforward way: the Forest Service provides funds to the NFF, which then works with corporations, foundations, individuals, and nonprofit organizations to find matching funds. The hunt for funding has been a success.  In its first year, the AFF generated $381,000 additional funds for local trail restoration, conservation initiatives and cabin renovations.

To date, most of the funding has supported 5 efforts on the Tongass National Forest. One is a Youth Conservation Corps program in the Village of Angoon that provides Alaska Native youth with paid summer jobs on Admiralty Island National Monument. The work involves everything from maintaining trails to gathering marine debris and building an outhouse.  The funding came from the Hecla Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the company which owns Greens Creek Mine near Juneau, Alaska.  The good news is that the program will continue to offer these paid summer jobs again this year.

In summarizing the overall value of partnerships like these, Beth Pendleton noted that, “This type of place-based partnering between local industry and a local non-profit has the added benefit of community-building as well as making improvements on the ground.  We’ve got to keep expanding our partnership networks to make it sustainable!”

Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership

The Atlanta metro area's housing boom of the 1990s and early 2000s caused the loss of about 400,000 acres of pollinator-friendly native habitat. This has been bad news for butterflies, bees, moths, bats, hummingbirds, and other species which rely on this habitat. The Greater Atlanta Pollinator Partnership was initiated in 2009 to address this problem and encourage restoration, development, and registration of pollinator habitat. Read the story.

a close up photo of a butterfly with striking black, yellow, blue and orange markings on top of purple flowers

Gateway to Nature: Western National Parks Center, Los Angeles

Check out this 5-minute video showcasing the new visitor center in the historic El Pueblo Monument, the birthplace of Los Angeles. Partners include the nonprofit Western National Parks Association, the National Park Service, the Forest Service, and the City of Los Angeles. The Center is a unique resource which can engage millions of people to appreciate and hopefully to explore the open space that surrounds the 2nd largest city in the U.S.  Follow the link to learn more about this partnership success story!

A photo of a father and son visiting the Gateway to Nature Center in downtown Los Angeles

  • Tillamook-Nestucca Salmon SuperHwy Project:  This unprecedented effort restores fish access to almost 180 miles of blocked habitat throughout six major salmon and steelhead rivers of Oregon’s North Coast. This partnership's strategic approach will maximize benefits and minimize costs, implementing a portfolio of projects designed to reconnect historic habitat, reduce chronic flooding, improve recreation opportunities and stimulate the local economy.  To learn more about the project, please read the Tillamook-Nestucca Salmon SuperHwy Project. (907.83 kb/.pdf)
  • In partnership with National Forest Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service is collaborating on a Public Broadcasting System mini-series, “Travels with Darley.” The new series will reach millions of viewers on-air and online to raise awareness of the importance of public lands and to promote recreational and stewardship activities accessible to people of all ages and abilities.