Democratic News

Feb 29 2016

Cantwell-Supported Forest Health Grant Proposal Receives $780,000 in Funding for Work in Kittitas, Chelan and Okanogan Counties

Cantwell Sent a Letter of Support for the Project that Will Address the Increasing Threats Facing the East Cascades from Severe Wildfire and Insect Outbreaks

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, applauded an announcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that a Washington-based project was awarded $780,000 in funding to advance forest health and restoration work in Kittitas, Chelan and Okanogan counties. This project will build upon existing, collaborative efforts to improve landscape resiliency and forest health and to reduce community risk across three project areas.

Sen. Cantwell has long advocated for fire preparedness and reducing community risk of severe wildfires. Last summer, Sen. Cantwell convened a series of roundtables and a field hearing on lessons learned from that summer’s wildfires and how best to prepare for the next fire season. One key takeaway was the need to reward and empower communities who are building safer communities and adapting their landscapes to wildfires.

The All Lands, All Hands: Building Resilient Landscapes and Fire Adapted Communities in Washington’s East Cascades project applied for funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Sen. Cantwell submitted a letter of support on behalf of the project, which was recently selected to receive $780,000.

Activities of this project include implementing forest and aquatic projects on public lands, as well as funding strategic fuels reduction and aquatic habitat restoration projects on private and state lands.

The project’s partners include the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, Conservation Districts, the Yakama Nation, Washington Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, North Central Washington Forest Health Collaborative and the Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative.

To strengthen the resiliency of our communities from the threat of wildfires, we must empower proactive community preparedness and perform fuel reduction when fire risks are low. The funding that our communities have been awarded under this program will enable them to better accomplish the needed community preparedness and fuel reduction,” Sen. Cantwell said.