FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2009
DNR forest health, wildfire prevention projects receive federal stimulus funds
Projects on private land in four northeast counties
OLYMPIA – The United States Forest Service (USFS) today announced $4.7 million in stimulus funding for forest health and wildfire prevention projects in Washington State, including several projects submitted by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
DNR will use $1.2 million of the funding to help private landowners thin and remove small trees, brush, and other fuels from their lands to improve the health of forestlands in Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties. Those projects will also reduce wildfire threats posed by tree stands that are overgrown, brushy or have diseased trees.
The funding announced today also includes $346,000 for forest health projects on state lands in Stevens County. DNR also will be a partner in an additional $3.1 million of forest health improvement projects on private and various public lands in the state. Many of the projects will include both private contractors and state or other public crews.
“These projects will not only put many people in rural areas to work, but they will also improve forest health and reduce the threat of costly wildfires over the long term,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“stimulus” bill), the USFS received $1.2 billion dollars for “shovel-ready,” job-creating forestry projects. Of this sum, $250 million was allocated to projects on state and private forestlands, including $89 million to address problems caused by fire, insects, invasive species and disease in forests. The stimulus also includes $50 million in biomass-to-energy grants.
Today’s announcement marks the award of 85 percent of the total funding appropriated to the Forest Service by the stimulus bill.
DNR manages land
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages more than 5.6 million acres of state-owned forest, range, commercial, agricultural, conservation, and aquatic lands. DNR also:
- Provides wildfire protection for 12.7 million acres of private and state-owned forestlands.
- Administers Forest Practices rules and surface mine reclamation on state and private lands.
- Provides financial and grant assistance to local communities and individuals.
Goldmark is the 13th Commissioner of Public Lands and the first from Eastern Washington.
Media Contact: Bob Redling, Senior Communications Manager, 360-902-1149, firstname.lastname@example.org
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