In pursuit of forest restoration

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By Special to the Monitor

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 15 advisory committee members to evaluate Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration proposals.

  “The newly appointed Advisory Committee will serve as the eyes and ears for local and rural communities to ensure USDA provides healthy forests and waterways which will help create green jobs and economic prosperity for our communities,” Vilsack said. “The committee’s guidance will be invaluable in evaluating landscape restoration proposals that ultimately promote healthier, safer and more productive public lands.”

  The Advisory Committee, which was established by the Forest Landscape Restoration Act, signed into law as part of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, establishes a collaborative process that relies on the best-available science to plan and prioritize landscape-scale forest restoration projects that benefit local economies. To make large-scale, long-term restoration projects feasible, Congress appropriated $10 million this year in a national fund that will supplement local resources and leverage non-Federal support for carrying out the projects under the CFLR Program. 

  The program is a key part of the secretary’s restoration vision for the forests and rangelands under the care of the USDA Forest Service as he laid out in his Seattle speech Aug. 14, 2009.  The program is proposed for $40 million in the President’s FY 2011 budget

 The 15 members were selected from 59 candidates responding to the Secretary’s request for nominations March 5. Advisory committee members were selected based on their technical expertise, points-of-view represented, geographic region of the country and diverse backgrounds.  The members will review community based proposals and advise the Secretary concerning their selections.

  The USDA Forest Service received 31 proposals from across the country for the committee to evaluate. Project proposals cover a myriad of ecological restoration treatments to reduce wildfire risk, enhance fish and wildlife habitats, maintain and improve water quality and use woody biomass and small-diameter trees. Many of the landscape proposals include contributions from partners and commitments from adjacent landowners to treat their lands. 

The Advisory Committee is expected to make final recommendations to Secretary by August 2010.

 Primary Committee Members:

 • Julia Altemus,

Missoula, Mont.                                                                                 

• Maia J. Enzer,

Portland, Ore.                                                                                     

• Karen Hardigg,

Anchorage, Alaska

• Brian Kahn,

Helena, Mont.                                                                                        

• James Kennamer,

Edgefield, SC                                                                                             

• Paige Lewis,

Boulder, Colo.                                                                                      

• Gary Nakamura,

Redding, Calif.

• Dr. Brent Racher,

Corona, N.M.                                                                               

• Philip Rigdon,

Silverton, Ore.                                                                                               

• Dr. Melissa Savage,

Santa Fe, N.M.                                                                          

• Todd Schulke,

Tucson, Ariz.                                                                                     

• Gary J. Severson,

Breckenridge, Colo.                                                                                  

• Scott Simon,

Little Rock, Ark.                                                                                              

• Ray Vaughan,

Montgomery, Ala.                                                                                          

• Frederick Weyerhaeuser,

Cambridge, Mass.                                                                

  The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.