WASHINGTON – (News release) The U.S. Department of Agriculture will
invest more than $2.3 million this fiscal year in Arkansas through the
Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership to protect and improve
water quality for public drinking water, tourism, fisheries, and rural
industrial development; encourage rural prosperity, forest health and
resiliency; improve habitat for at-risk species; reduce and mitigate
wildfire threats; and promote environmental education.
The Building Resilient Watersheds to Improve Drinking Water in the
Ozark and Ouachita Highlands project area includes sites in six
high-priority watersheds covering more than five million acres.
USDA’s Forest Service (FS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service
(NRCS) will work together to replace degraded and undersized stream
crossings, restore shortleaf pine forests, construct permanent fire
breaks, reduce fuel loads, conduct controlled burns, and conduct
outreach to local communities.
The Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership allows NRCS and
FS to collaborate with agricultural producers and forest landowners to
invest in conservation and restoration at a big enough scale to make a
difference. Working in partnership, and at this scale, helps mitigate
wildfire risk, improve water quality and restore healthy forest
ecosystems on public and private lands.
“With the help of USDA, private forestland owners can improve their
forestry operations while realizing many other benefits, including
mitigating impacts from wildfires and improving water quality and
wildlife habitat,” said Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist in
“Arkansas NRCS has $2 million available to help private landowners
install conservation practices such as forest stand improvement
(thinning), prescribed burning, firebreaks, tree and shrub planting and
streambank and shoreline protection,” Sullivan said. “As with all NRCS
programs, participation is completely voluntary. This project
incorporates the same practices at an accelerated pace that landowners
have been voluntarily implementing for years.”
Project partners include Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Oklahoma
Department of Wildlife Conservation, US Fish and Wildlife Service,
Choctaw Nation, Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts, Arkansas
Forestry Association, The Nature Conservancy, National Wild Turkey
Federation, Quail Forever, Monarch Watch, ANHC, Arkansas Natural
Resources Commission, Central Hardwood Joint Venture, and the 27
organizations involved with the Shortleaf Bluestem Community and Ozark
Highlands CFLRP projects on the two national forests.
“Arkansas is honored to collaborate with USDA’s NRCS and Forest
Service, and a host of State partners to help private landowners in
Arkansas implement conservation practices that will protect and enhance
Arkansas’s natural resources,” said Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture
Nationally, FS and NRCS will invest more than $41 million this fiscal
year through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership.
Funding for 36 projects includes $10.6 million for 16 new projects and
$30.5 million to complete work on 20 projects previously selected in
2018 and 2019.
USDA has invested more than $225 million over seven years to Joint
Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership projects, which focus on areas
where public forests and grasslands intersect with privately-owned
This year’s selections bring the total number of Joint Chiefs’
Landscape Restoration projects to 85. Since 2014, these projects have
delivered important forest and rangeland funding to 40 states and Puerto
Through the new three-year projects, landowners will work with local
USDA experts and partners to apply targeted forestry management
practices on their land, such as thinning, hazardous fuel treatments,
fire breaks and other systems to meet unique forestry challenges in
For full project descriptions and information on completed projects,
visit the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership website at https://go.usa.gov/xEsyY.
For information on the Arkansas project, visit the Building Resilient
Watersheds to Improve Drinking Water in the Ozark and Ouachita Highlands
site at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov.