(Little Rock, Arkansas, September 4, 2019) - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue joined Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson today to sign a shared stewardship agreement between the USDA’s Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the State of Arkansas.
The Shared Stewardship Agreement establishes a framework for federal and state agencies to collaborate better, focus on accomplishing mutual goals, further common interests and effectively respond to the increasing ecological challenges and natural resource concerns in Arkansas.
“This is an important next step in our land management efforts with the State of Arkansas,” said Secretary Perdue. “Shared Stewardship is about setting cross-boundary priorities together to achieve landscape-scale outcomes. USDA looks forward to working closely with the state to improve health and conditions on both public and private lands.”
“Today, more than half of Arkansas’s public and private land is covered in forest, creating a rich ecosystem that supports our communities, watersheds, and economy,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. "I am confident that this agreement with the USDA’s Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service is an important step to further support, protect, and preserve Arkansas’s most valuable resources.”
This agreement will help federal, state and private land managers face a range of urgent challenges like catastrophic storms, droughts, floods, wildfires, insect and disease outbreaks, and invasive species.
Under the agreement, the State of Arkansas and USDA’s Forest Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service will focus on landscape-scale forest restoration activities that protect at-risk communities and watersheds across all lands. The agreement focuses on restoring fire-adapted ecosystems and reducing the risk of wildfire to communities; identifying, managing, and reducing threats to forest and ecosystem health; and fostering economic development strategies that keep working forests productive.
You may view the agreement at this following link: USDA and State of Arkansas MOA (PDF, 145 KB). More information on the USDA Forest Service shared stewardship strategy for the nation can be found at: www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/toward-shared-stewardship.pdf (PDF, 14 MB).
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