USDA Deputy Undersecretary and Governor Lombardo tour Elko County
Shared from U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Region
Elko, NEVADA - August 15, 2023 – United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Meryl Harrell and Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo visited Elko County, Nevada’s iconic Lamoille Canyon Tuesday, to learn how the USDA Forest Service, the State of Nevada, and other partners are working under the Nevada Shared Stewardship Agreement to protect rural Nevada from wildfire.
The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and the Nevada Division of Forestry cohosted the event, during which federal, state, and county leadership, and other partners shared with the Deputy Undersecretary and Governor the efforts underway to reduce wildfire risk to communities, infrastructure, and rangelands.
“The success of Nevada’s Shared Stewardship Agreement proves that we are indeed stronger together,” said Governor Joe Lombardo. “I am grateful for the dedication of state, federal, Tribal, and community partners, whose collective efforts have protected over 70,000 acres of rangelands and forests and enabled more than 50,000 Nevadans to create fire-adapted communities. Shared Stewardship is the Nevada way.”
“The relationships, forged over the last several years, have permitted this group to make significant initial impacts within the Nevada Wildfire Crisis Landscapes,” Harrell said. “The Shared Stewardship framework was developed together with our partners to successfully address forest health issues including reducing the risk of catastrophic fire to communities, watersheds, and rangelands important to Nevada.”
The Elko area, along with the Sierra Front in northwestern Nevada, was recently identified by the Forest Service as one of 21 wildfire crisis strategy landscapes. The Sierra and Elko Front Wildfire Crisis Strategy landscape will benefit from more than $54 million in new funding that will accelerate efforts by Nevada partners to implement fuels reduction treatments and forest and rangeland health projects in the right places, at the right pace and scale.
Hosting the event in Elko allowed the partners to highlight the need to protect rural Nevada from wildfire. The heightened fire risk created by annual invasive grasses and other changes to Nevada’s rangelands threaten not only rural communities, but the economic, cultural and environmental values they support – these include livestock forage, wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation opportunities, transportation, utility and mining infrastructure, and Tribal lands.
Signed in 2019, the Nevada Shared Stewardship Agreement committed the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nevada state agencies to identify priorities for ecosystem restoration and wildfire risk reduction, with a goal of increasing the number of acres treated 50 percent by 2025. Natural Resources Conservation Service joined the effort in 2020 in recognition of the importance of working with private landowners.
“Through the Nevada Shared Stewardship initiative, we have strengthened both our bond as partners in conservation and wildfire mitigation and our commitment to meet the current wildfire crisis through common goals, priorities, and actions,” said Kacey KC, State Forester Fire Warden.
Related Imagery: https://usfs-public.box.com/s/hdv3ourmrccr6i108mlnn7jt101flziv