McKenzie River Reflections - Make the McKenzie Connection!

By Rebecca Ciciretti
USDA Forest Service 

Forest restoration

$100,000 approved for cooperative training

 

The US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region has entered into an agreement for almost $100,000 with Sustainable Northwest to enhance collaborative capacity for forest restoration during the 2023 calendar year.

The partnership aims to train Forest Service interdisciplinary teams on working with collaborative groups, provide technical assistance to collaboratives, and share best practices through peer-to-peer collaborative learning networks.

The funding for this agreement was made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BIL authorized the Forest Service $100 million nationally to support collaboration and collaborative-based activities, including planning and implementing projects associated with the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. The Forest Service allocated a portion of those funds to each Forest Service Region as an initial investment to enhance collaborative work.

“The Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest has a strong history of engaging with collaborative groups to meet shared goals,” said Glenn Casamassa, Regional Forester for the Pacific Northwest Region.

Casamassa said that in the Pacific Northwest, he’s seen how the dialogue between the Forest Service and collaborative stakeholder groups develops trust and a mutually shared vision on the management of prioritized landscapes.

“When collaboratives represent diverse perspectives from interested and engaged community members and partners, the result is more informed decisions and better management outcomes,” said Casamassa.

Sustainable Northwest has worked for over 25 years to unite diverse stakeholders in identifying common goals and outcomes for the management of public forestlands. One way this is accomplished is through the Pacific Northwest Collaborative Network, which provides an opportunity for shared learning, joint problem-solving, and information on new natural resource management technologies.

“The PNW Collaborative Network provides a platform for collaborative partners and agency staff, who are working in otherwise isolated geographies, to come together and elevate critical information about the priorities, gaps, and needs to move projects forward and achieve shared desired outcomes,” said Polly Wheeler, Forest Program Director at Sustainable Northwest.

The Forest Service’s participation in the network has resulted in opportunities for improved communication and coordination with stakeholders in the design, planning, and implementation of forest management and restoration projects on National Forest System lands.

“Through the training, technical assistance, and sharing of best practices implemented under this agreement, the Pacific Northwest Region will continue its history of robust engagement with collaborative partners in land management decisions,” said Heather Zissler, deputy director for the Pacific Northwest Region’s Office of Communication and Community Engagement.

Wheeler said this new agreement will allow Sustainable Northwest to continue to provide significant support to collaborative partners and the Forest Service and will build upon the opportunities for collaboration and improved forest management envisioned in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The partnership between the Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region and Sustainable Northwest continues a long history of working together to contribute to the sustainable management of forestlands in the Region for present and future generations.

 

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