Bipartisan Fix Our Forests Act Introduced in House


EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation commends the introduction of the Fix our Forests Act, which addresses ongoing issues that slow active forest management and other conservation efforts on National Forests and hamper efforts to reduce wildfire risks.

Since 2000, over 164 million acres have been damaged by wildfire and the US has experienced some of the worst wildfires on record in 2015, 2017 and 2020.

To expedite the scale and speeds necessary for management practices to restore the health and resiliency to our nation’s forests, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) have introduced the Fix Our Forests Act (FOFA).

“The health of our nation’s forests is in a state of emergency due to wildfires, drought, insects, and disease,” NWTF Co-CEO Kurt Dyroff said. “The NWTF is working diligently with the USDA Forest Service to address these issues through fuels reduction and forest restoration work under the Wildfire Crisis Strategy and stewardship contracting throughout the country, but we need to be working even quicker and at a greater scale. The provisions of the bipartisan Fix Our Forests Act will help us move the needle and bring our nation’s forests back into a healthy and resilient state that benefits water resources, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and the local communities that depend on them.”

The bipartisan Fix Our Forests Act provides a litany of potential solutions to issues forest and land managers currently face. Some of the key take-aways, as introduced, include:

  • Simplifies and expedites environmental reviews for forest management projects in the highest risk areas
  • Promotes federal, state, tribal and local collaboration on wildfire mitigation while encouraging engagement with landowners and communities
  • Recognizes the role that natural fire plays in healthy ecosystems – which is backed by the best available scientific information – while acknowledging tribal sovereignty in providing for practices like cultural burning
  • Supports wildfire resiliency for local communities by focusing on the built environment, innovative technologies and modernized standards
  • Deters frivolous litigation that delays essential forest management projects 
  • Creates a framework for interagency collaboration to advance wildfire and land management R&D, provides technical and financial assistance to communities, and supports efforts by tribes and other governments to address the effects of wildland fire on communities, including property damages, air, and water quality
  • Creates a federal-state-tribal framework for prioritizing projects in the forests at highest risk of catastrophic wildfire 
  • Encourages the adoption of state-of-the-art science and techniques for federal land managers, including innovative methods to sequester carbon dioxide 
  • Ensures that utilities are able to better work with federal partners to harden their rights-of-way while mitigating hazards 
  • Strengthens tools like Good Neighbor Authority – which presently excludes Tribal Nations – and Stewardship Contracting 

“The Fix Our Forest Act offers many practical solutions to help our forests, protects communities, encourages agency transparency and promotes innovation,” Dyroff said. “NWTF applaud the efforts of Charmain Westerman and Rep. Peters, and we thank them for reaching across the aisle to put forward such important and necessary legislation.”

Read the full bill as introduced.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested over half a billion dollars into wildlife conservation and has positively impacted over 23 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The NWTF has also invested over $9 million into wild turkey research to guide the management of the wild turkey population and to ensure sustainable populations into perpetuity. The organization continues to deliver its mission by working across boundaries on a landscape scale through its Four Shared Values: clean and abundant water, healthy forests and wildlife habitat, resilient communities, and robust recreational opportunities. With the help of its dedicated members, partners and staff, the NWTF continues its work to provide Healthy Habitats. and Healthy Harvests. for future generations.

Read the full article here

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