CWSF Legislative and Policy Update

The latest CWSF Legislative and Policy Update was published in late April 2016 and provides information on issues of importance to our members. Please note that the update highlights only a selection of the issues the CWSF is monitoring.

Collaborative Restoration Workshop

CWSF staff attended the April 2016 Collaborative Restoration Workshop hosted by the National Forest Foundation in Denver, Colorado. The workshop was a forum for sharing innovative approaches to collaborative restoration, tools, and lessons about planning, implementing, and monitoring restoration efforts on and around National Forest System lands. Approximately 300 attendees participated from entities including the USDA Forest Service and other federal agencies, state agencies, nonprofits, collaborative groups, academia, and more. In addition to CWSF staff, many WFLC members and their staff participated in the workshop.

Over two days, participants engaged in a series of plenary sessions and breakout tracks spanning the five broad topic areas of planning, science and action, collaboration and engagement, implementation, and monitoring. Plenary sessions hosted keynote speakers including USDA Under Secretary For Natural Resources and Environment, Robert Bonnie, USDA Forest Service Chief, Tom Tidwell, and panel sessions with representation from federal, state, tribal, industry and nonprofit entities. CWSF staff attended issue specific sessions on topics including biomass utilization, Good Neighbor Authority, Stewardship Authority, the 2012 Planning Rule, tools to successful collaboration, innovative funding mechanisms for collaboration and more. Learn more about the workshop here.  

2016 Wildfire Season

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell recently met with Forest Service Regional Foresters to discuss, and prepare for, anticipated significant wildland fire potential in 2016.

Secretary Vilsack stated that, “The 2016 wildfire season is off to a worrisome start. Southern California, the Great Basin in Nevada, portions of the southwest, and even Florida and Hawaii are particularly vulnerable this year.” Chief Tidwell relayed the Forest Service’s commitment to firefighters safety and provided a brief synopsis of resources available to the agency to respond to wildfires this season. In addition, Chief Tidwell spoke to the increasing difficulties of fighting wildfires in light of longer fire seasons, chronic drought and development in the Wildland Urban Interface.

The Forest Service press release calls attention to the 2015 wildfire season when the Agency exhausted its suppression budget in August and had to complete ‘fire transfers’ in order to address firefighting needs to conclude the fiscal year. It further addresses the continued increase of the 10-year rolling average for fire suppression and the portion of the Agency’s budget dedicated to fire programs.