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(202) 205-8333

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Watershed Forestry Assistance


Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003
Title III
Watershed Forestry Assistance

Background: Title III Watershed Forestry Assistance, established in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, provides assistance to expand forest stewardship capacities and activities through forestry best management practices and other means to address watershed issues on nonfederal forested and potentially forested land and lands under tribal jurisdiction. Overall purposes include: improving public understanding of the connection between forest management and watershed health; encouraging property owners to maintain tree cover and use tree plantings and vegetative treatments as creative solutions to watershed problems; enhancing forest management and riparian buffer use in watersheds, with an emphasis on community watersheds; and establishing partnerships and collaborative watershed approaches to forest management, stewardship, and conservation.

Implementation Strategy: The Forest Service is responsible for program administration but participating State Foresters and Indian Tribes will implement the program. By focusing in priority watersheds, States and Tribes can integrate forestry practices across mixed ownerships, provide cumulative water quality benefits, and offer low cost, long term solutions to many of the nation’s nonpoint source pollution problems. For example, when applied on a priority watershed basis, forests and forestry practices can protect drinking water sources - lowering cost of drinking water treatment; and help manage storm water runoff - impacting wastewater treatment requirements.

Link between forests and water quality: Forests and forestry practices are critical components of healthy watersheds. Trees and forests can prevent erosion, filter contaminates before they enter the waterway, absorb rainfall and snow melt, recharge aquifers, and slow storm water runoff. In addition to water quality benefits, they filter air pollutants and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife.

Development of WFAP Guidelines: Two workgroups have been formed to write the guidelines for implementing the WFAPs:

• The proposed guideline for Section 302 State Watershed Forestry Assistance Program has been prepared by representatives of the USDA Forest Service, State forestry agencies, and USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service.
• The proposed guideline for Section 303 Tribal Watershed Forestry Assistance Program has been prepared by representatives of the USDA Forest Service, Intertribal Timber Council and tribal members. In addition, in accordance with Forest Service policy, formal consultation is also ongoing with Indian Tribes on development of this new program.

When WFAP funds are available, the proposed guidelines will be published in the Federal Register for public comment.

Appropriations: The State Watershed Forestry Assistance Program is authorized $15 million per year from FY 2004 through FY 2008. The Tribal Watershed Forestry Assistance Program is authorized $2.5 million per year from FY 2004 through FY2008. No appropriations have been received to date for either program.

Public Participation: A WFAP website has been developed http://www.fs.fed.us/cooperativeforestry/programs/wfa. In early April 2004, an informal invitation to provide input on the program development was sent to partners and tribal organizations. On April 8, 2004, a formal consultation letter was sent to Federally recognized Tribes. On May 25, 2004, Federal Register notices soliciting comments on plans to prepare State and Tribal Watershed Forestry Assistance Program guidelines were published. The comments received were considered in developing the proposed guidelines. When WFAP funds are available, the proposed guidelines will be published in the Federal Register for public comment. In addition, the proposed guidelines will be posted on the web.

Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003, Title III Watershed Forestry Assistance

Relationship of the Watershed Forestry Assistance Program to other Forest Service and USDA conservation programs.


State Watershed Forestry Assistance Program
Map of Watershed Area in Private Forest Land (lower 48 States)
May 25, 2004 Federal Register -advanced notice of interim final guideline; request for comment

Tribal Watershed Forestry Assistance Program
Opportunity for Tribal Consultation
May 25, 2004 Federal Register - advanced notice of interim final guideline; request for comment

 

Contacts for Watershed Forestry Assistance

 

 

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 Last Modified: Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 02:19 PM CST