Utah Shared Stewardship partners announce FY23 projects

Ogden, Utah – June 10, 2022 – The State of Utah, USDA Forest Service Intermountain Region, and Natural Resources Conservation Service announces funding for ten wildfire risk reduction projects across all five National Forests in Utah for fiscal year 2023. 

This year’s list of funded projects is scheduled to improve more than 24,000 acres of forested lands in Utah that will protect communities, critical infrastructure, and drinking water resources.  

  • Diamond Fork Fuels Reduction Project (Uinta Wasatch Cache National Forest)
  • Pine Valley Fuels Project (Dixie National Forest)
  • Shinglemill Mastication Project (Manti-La Sal National Forest)
  • West Northwest Wildlife Habitat Project (Ashley National Forest) 
  • Burnt Beaver Project (Ashley National Forest)
  • Vernal Municipal Watershed Restoration Project (Ashley National Forest)
  • Hans Pumpernickel Habitat Restoration Project (Fishlake National Forest)
  • The Parley’s Canyon Watershed Restoration Project (Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest)
  • Upper Provo Watershed Restoration Project (Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest)
  • Beaver River Watershed Improvement Project (Fishlake National Forest)

Shared Stewardship is a unique partnership in Utah that provides a framework for cross boundary, landscape-scale management of forests throughout the state to protect communities and watersheds from the threat, and negative impacts of large catastrophic wildfires. Through jointly identified priorities and combined resources, Shared Stewardship enables land managers to address the wildfire crisis at the right scale and pace.

“Wildfire danger remains extremely high…and by working together with our partners, we can substantially reduce the risks to lives and property as well as keep our forests healthy,” said Governor Spencer Cox. “We’re grateful for the continued collaboration and we’re confident the effort is having an impact on preventing catastrophic wildfires.” 

“Our commitment to Shared Stewardship helps us put emphasis behind priorities that benefit the public across shared landscapes like these projects that were chosen to move forward this year,” said Deputy Regional Forester Deb Oakeson. “Each step the projects move forward is one more step toward keeping the public safe and preserving the resources for future generations.” 

“This is an exciting time to help make a difference on our forest land,” said Emily Fife, NRCS Utah State Conservationist.

This year the Forest Service will invest approximately $4.5 million received through the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act and Disaster Assistance Equity Act in Shared Stewardship in Utah.  These laws are historic investments that dramatically expand efforts to reduce wildfire risk. The State of Utah will be investing over $1.5 million dollars appropriated by the Legislature. Shared Stewardship projects are also supported by many partners who contribute funding through Utah’s Watershed Restoration Initiative. Of specific note, Central Utah Water Conservancy District contributed funds to two projects this year, furthering the work done on the Upper Provo, as well as the new Vernal Municipal Watershed Restoration project. 

Since May 2019, the USDA Forest Service, State of Utah, and partners have been working in shared stewardship to address the ongoing wildfire crisis. Together they have invested over $20 million dollars in forest health projects. On May 5th, 2022, Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox signed an updated Shared Stewardship Agreement with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The agreement added the Natural Resources Conservation Service as a partner. The Natural Resources Conservation Service brings experience working with private landowners to address issues such as forest management and watershed protection and will increase opportunity for cross-boundary treatments. By signing, the State and federal partners re-established the shared commitments in the agreement. 

Click here to visit Utah’s Shared Stewardship website and to learn more about the initiative, about specific projects, and to read the updated agreement.