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State-Federal effort identifies forest health priorities

By ThisIsReno

NDF LogoCARSON CITY, Nevada…U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell has approved ten areas within the national forest in Nevada as priorities for projects to combat damage from insects and disease that weakens forests and increases the risk of wildfire.

Responding to a provision in the new Farm Bill, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval had requested that the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service designate these areas for forest health projects.  The designation will provide the Forest Service, working collaboratively with the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) and other stakeholders, additional tools, and flexibility to more efficiently plan and implement restoration treatments as funding becomes available.

“The ability to proactively manage National Forest lands within the State of Nevada is important to the preservation and safety of our communities,” said Governor Brian Sandoval.  “I would like to thank Secretary Vilsack and the U.S. Forest Service for their recognition and commitment to these project areas.”

Treatments could include forest thinning to reduce competition for water, sunlight and nutrients that can cause trees to be at increased risk for insect infestation or disease, or thinning to remove trees that are already affected. Thinning projects reduce the possibility that an entire stand of trees could be destroyed by wildfire.

“With the focus on Wildfire Awareness Month in May, we’re pleased to announce this collaborative effort between NDF and the Forest Service,” said Nevada State Forester Pete Anderson. “Forest health projects in these areas would greatly reduce the risk of severe wildfire to nearby communities.”

The Forest Service and NDF worked closely together to identify areas that are:

  • experiencing declining forest health based on annual surveys;
  • at risk of experiencing substantial increases in tree die-off based on published insect and disease risk mapping; and,
  • located in areas that pose imminent risk to public infrastructure, health and safety.

The ten priority areas are:

  1. West Fork Pine Creek- Jarbidge River watershed- Elko County
  2. Alkali Creek watershed- Humboldt County
  3. Hidden Valley-Steamboat Creek watershed- Washoe County
  4. Gilford Creek-Duck Creek watershed- White Pine County
  5. Thomas Creek-Lamoille Creek Watershed- Elko County
  6. Town of Ely- Murray Creek Watershed- White Pine County
  7. Clear Creek watershed – Carson and Douglas County
  8. Siegel Creek-Spring Valley Creek – White Pine County
  9. Franktown-Frontal Washoe Lake watershed – Washoe County
  10. Lee Canyon, Deer Creek and Kyle Canyon watersheds – Clark County

“Working together to respond to this important provision in the new Farm Bill has allowed us to continue to strengthen our partnership with the Nevada Division of Forestry,” said Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger. “The State of Nevada plays a critical role in helping the U.S. Forest Service improve the conditions of lands we manage and effectively address threats to Nevada’s communities and natural resources.”

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