CSAC Bulletin Article

California Signs Shared Stewardship Agreement with the U.S. Forest Service

August 20, 2020

Governor Newsom signed a Joint Agreement for Shared Stewardship of California’s Forests and Rangelands that includes a long term, coordinated, science-based forest management strategy between the State and The U.S. Forest Service. Since the U.S. Forest Service owns the majority of California’s forestland, this joint agreement will become central to securing tangible federal commitments and aligning resources to maintain a contiguous, healthy, wildfire-resilient landscape. The recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act should bring increased federal investment into California’s wildlands to help fund the projects in this agreement.

The agreement is grounded in science-driven management and includes commitments to treat nearly 1 million acres of forest and wildland annually, develop unified project plans, promote biodiversity, watershed health, carbon storage and other ecological co-benefits.  Specifically, through this agreement California and the U.S. Forest Service commit to execute the following activities together:

  • Treat one million acres of forest and wildland annually to reduce risk of catastrophic wildfire (building on the state’s existing 500,000-acre annual commitment);
  • Develop a shared 20-year plan for forest health and vegetation treatment that establishes and coordinates priority projects;
  • Expand use of ecologically sustainable techniques for vegetation treatments such as prescribed fire;
  • Increase pace and scale of forest management by improving ecologically sustainable timber harvest in California and grow jobs by tackling structural obstacles, such as workforce and equipment shortfalls and lack of access to capital;
  • Prioritize co-benefits of forest health such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity, healthy watersheds and stable rural economies;  
  • Recycle forest byproducts to avoid burning slash piles;
  • Improve sustainable recreation opportunities;
  • Enable resilient, fire-adapted communities; and
  • Share data and continue to invest in science.

For more information about the agreement here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/shared-stewardship

View the Governor’s press release here.

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