Inside the Source: Shared Stewardship

June 12, 2019 

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Federal–State “Shared Stewardship” Strategy Takes Hold
By Steve Wilent

On May 8, Washington State became the second state to sign a “shared stewardship” memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreement with the US Forest Service. The MOU calls for the state and the Forest Service “to work collaboratively toward mutual goals and effectively respond to the increasing suite of challenges facing communities, landscapes, and natural resources across the state. The partnership will work together to improve forest health—a cornerstone of clean water and abundant wildlife habitat—and create exceptional recreational and outdoor opportunities across the state,” according to a joint announcement.

“Wildfire, forest health, and habitat loss are not issues that respect property lines,” said Washington commissioner of public lands Hilary Franz. “To truly tackle our wildfire and forest health crisis, at the pace and scale this crisis demands, we need a strong partnership between Washington State and the USDA Forest Service. This agreement ensures that our response will be unified, well-coordinated, and deliver maximum benefit for the people.”

Idaho was the first state to enter into a shared stewardship agreement with the Forest Service.

“By pooling resources, sharing expertise and making decisions together, the State of Idaho and the Forest Service can get more work done in our forests to protect communities and provide jobs,” said Jim Hubbard, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, when announcing the agreement on December 8, 2018.

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