During his first visit as Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, Dr. Homer Wilkes announced additional funding to combat wildfire in Nevada and California.
At a stop at the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area in Mt. Charleston, Nevada, Dr. Wilkes announced the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and partners will receive nearly $4 million for post-wildfire restoration. Part of that funding will repair a well from which firefighting aircraft draw water to protect the community.
Dr. Wilkes said these funds along with other major investments and initiatives already underway could help the Forest Service potentially quadruple fuels and forest health treatments in the West.
“The Infrastructure Law and the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act of 2021 provide a significant down payment that will go a long way toward funding this work,” Wilkes said.
In addition, Dr. Wilkes announced that USDA selected the Santa Rosa-Paradise Landscape Restoration Project to receive funding under the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership. The Joint Chiefs program allows USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Forest Service to collaborate with agricultural producers and forest landowners to invest in conservation and restoration at a scale that’s big enough to make a difference.
The Forest Service and NRCS worked with Nevada’s Conservation District Program to develop this project, which will enlist multiple federal, state, Tribal and community partners in work to reduce wildfire risk to communities and tribal lands, improve watershed health, and restore wildlife habitat in rural Humboldt County. First-year funding for the project will leverage more than $168,000 in partner contributions alongside nearly $200,000 from the Forest Service and NRCS.
The funding will also help the Humboldt-Toiyabe align with the Forest Service’s recently released 10-year wildfire strategy. It connects to other efforts as well, including Nevada Shared Stewardship, which aims to increase work with partners to reduce fuels and improve forest and rangeland health in the right place and at the right pace and scale.