Grants will help advance forest health work in priority landscapes across Washington
information released by DNR, file photo
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has awarded nine organizations in Washington $425,000 in grant funding to help increase the health and resilience of forests in 23 counties across the state.
The Building Forest Partnerships Grant Program supports forest collaboratives made up of partners who reach across boundaries to combat the forest health crisis in our state while also supporting rural timber economies. DNR has invested more than $975,000 in local organizations through the Building Forest Partnerships program since 2018 under Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.
“I am proud to support forest collaboratives across Washington as they work with us to make our forests more resilient to the devastation of catastrophic wildfires, the damage caused by extreme drought and heat, and the destruction wrought by insect and disease outbreaks,” Franz said. “I am especially proud that our 2021 awards make up the largest dollar amount this grant program has awarded in one year. Local organizations, along with our federal, tribal and industry partners, are irreplaceable in our all lands, all hands approach to addressing our forest health crisis.”
This round of grant funding comes from House Bill 1168, the landmark legislation championed by Franz and unanimously passed by the 2021 legislature to accelerate forest restoration and bolster wildfire preparedness efforts in Washington.
Organizations must use the grant funds on planning and organizational activities such as hiring additional staff to support treatment planning, public outreach, coordination with outside partners, and creation and distribution of communications materials.
DNR funding of forest collaboratives has supported planning efforts on more than 150,000 acres of forestland and more than 2,500 acres of forest health treatments since 2017.
“This investment from DNR is not only great for the forest collaboratives, it’s also vital for improved forest health, said Nikola Smith, regional partnership coordinator for the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region. “We can only achieve landscape scale restoration by coming together, finding common ground, and working collectively to achieve shared goals.”
All nine organizations operate in either a priority planning area defined within DNR’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan or a priority watershed as designated within the 2020 Forest Action Plan. Grant recipients are committed to using their funding in direct support of one or both of those plans.
“The Pinchot Partners have been an integral part of advancing restoration in the Cowlitz Valley Ranger District for the last 18 years, impacting thousands of acres, hundreds of miles of streams, and dozens of trail miles,” saidJanene Ritchie, coordinator for the Pinchot Partners. “ DNR’s Building Forest Partnerships Grant Program forms the foundation of the Pinchot Partners’ efforts as a collaborative. This vital funding provides the resources to strategically assess where our restoration efforts on the ground can be best applied.”
DNR awarded the grants as follows:
- Chumstick Wildfire Stewardship Coalition – Chelan County: $50,000. https://www.chumstickcoalition.org/
- Darrington Collaborative – Pierce, King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties: $50,000. https://www.darringtoncollaborative.org/
- North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative – Okanogan, Chelan and Douglas counties: $50,000. https://www.ncwfhc.org/
- Northeast Washington Forest Coalition – Ferry, Stevens and Pend Orielle counties: $50,000. https://www.newforestcoalition.com/
- Olympic Forest Collaborative – Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor and Mason counties: $50,000. https://olympicforestcollaborative.org/
- Pinchot Partners – Skamania, Lewis and Pierce counties: $50,000. https://www.pinchotpartners.org/
- South Gifford Pinchot Collaborative – Skamania, Cowlitz, Clark, Klickitat and Yakima counties: $50,000. http://southgpc.org/
- Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative – Klickitat, Yakima, Kittitas and Chelan counties: $50,000. http://www.tapash.org/
- Stemilt Partnership – Chelan County: $25,000. https://www.co.chelan.wa.us/natural-resources/pages/stemilt-partnership