Good Neighbor Authority
A faster path to healthier forests
We must treat unhealthy Washington forests to achieve:
- Reduced wildfire risk to communities and state trust lands,
- Greater resiliency against insects, disease and wildfire, and
- More economic opportunities in rural areas, as businesses perform this much-needed work across state and federal lands.
In 2014, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) partnered with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Nature Conservancy on a forest health report that found 2.7 million acres of eastern Washington forestlands in need of restoration. Though the USFS manages 28 percent of forestland across Washington, the study found that federal lands accounted for 42 percent of the unhealthy forestland identified.
As a result, DNR is strengthening Washington’s collaboration with the USFS to help increase the pace and scale of federal land treatments through the use of a Good Neighbor Authority agreement. The agreement allows the agencies to increase the pace of restoration, using more efficient processes and collaborate to achieve economies of scale to treat larger areas across previously segregated ownership boundaries.
The Good Neighbor Authority is a tool stemming from the 2014 Farm Bill. This tool allows DNR to hire and collaborate with local companies and interests to perform a variety of watershed, rangeland and forest restoration work across state and federal property lines, providing additive capacity to federal partners. The agreement represents an important step toward mobilizing the work required to meet the challenging and broad needs of Washington’s valuable forests.