The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is asking for proposals for the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership to improve forest health on public and private lands.
The Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership program (16 U.S.C. § 6592d) is working to improve the health and resilience of forest landscapes across National Forest System land and state, tribal, and private lands.
The Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership enables NRCS and the Forest Service to collaborate with agricultural producers, forest landowners, tribes and public land managers to invest in conservation and restoration at a big enough scale to make a positive difference. Working in partnership, and at this scale, helps reduce wildfire threats to communities, protect water quality and supply, and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.
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 hazardous fuel treatments, fire breaks, reforestation and other systems to meet unique forestry challenges in their area.
USDA will invest more than $48.6 million this year through the Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration Partnership for projects that mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, restore forest ecosystems, and ultimately contribute to USDA’s efforts to combat climate change. This year, the USDA Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will invest in projects, including 14 new projects, bringing together agricultural producers, forest landowners, and National Forest System lands to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs and other authorities.
In 2022, USDA invested more than $48 million through the Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership for projects that mitigate wildfire risk, improve water quality, restore forest ecosystems and ultimately contribute to USDA’s efforts to combat climate change. USDA’s Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) invested in 41 projects, including 17 new ones, bringing together agricultural producers, forest landowners, and National Forest System lands to improve forest health using available Farm Bill conservation programs and other authorities.
Completed Project Accomplishments
This year’s selections bring the total number of Joint Chiefs' Landscape Restoration projects to 124. Since 2014, these projects have delivered important forest and rangeland funding to 41 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. They provide private landowners with conservation resources that help them complete restoration efforts on their land for healthier and more resilient forest ecosystems.
The efforts of the Joint Chiefs' have produced outstanding results that can be explored here.
Opportunities to Collaborate
Joint Chiefs' project proposals are developed at the local level through a collaborative process between NRCS, Forest Service and partners. Past partners have included county, state, non-governmental, Tribal, utilities or private individual stakeholders. The collaboration process and partnerships will depend on the specific community needs of each project. Proposals are submitted by the local NRCS and Forest Service offices to the national agency offices. Proposals are reviewed and vetted at multiple levels in the agencies based on local, state, Tribal and regional priorities.
NRCS and Forest Service national offices will solicit proposals submissions for FY24 projects between July 6, 2023 and September 5, 2023. An announcement of the selected projects in planned for late fall 2023. A solicitation for FY25 proposal is planned for spring 2024. For more information on the proposal development process or collaboration opportunities, please contact one of the program contacts below, or use the following links to find a local NRCS office or Forest Service contact.
In selecting proposals, NRCS and the Forest Service will prioritize:
- Clear descriptions with goals and objectives, deliverables, timeline and measurable desired outcomes.
- Reduction of wildfire risk in a municipal watershed or the wildland-urban interface (WUI). A municipal watershed is a watershed from which municipal water is provided by a utility. The WUI as defined by the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511).
- Development of the proposal through a collaborative process with participation from diverse stakeholders.
- Increase of forest workforce capacity or forest business infrastructure and development.
- Leveraging existing authorities and non-federal funding contributions from partners.
- Support of established state, Tribal and regional priorities. Proposals should describe how the eligible activities were prioritized across the landscape and the source of the state or regional priorities (e.g., fireshed analysis, wildfire risk assessment, state technical committee watershed prioritization, Endangered Species Act recovery plan, state wildlife action plan, etc.).
- Alignment with USDA priorities and the Justice40 initiative, including benefits to historically underserved communities and climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.
- Partner participation in proposal development or project implementation.
- Coordination (i.e., pre-planning) with individual landowners within the proposal footprint.
- The geographic distribution of individual project activities across the landscape demonstrates a focus on resource conditions and a balance between land ownerships.
- Education and outreach to local communities about the project.
Clint Cross, FS
Matthew Vandersande, NRCS
Ready to get started?
Contact your local service center to start your application.
How to Get Assistance
Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?
Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.
NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.
We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:
- To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
- To meet other eligibility certifications.
Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.
Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.
As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:
- An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
- A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
- A farm tract number.
If you don’t have a farm tract number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm tract number if you’re interested in financial assistance.
NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants.
If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.
Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.