Forest restoration dollars will create jobs

The Colville National Forest was recently tagged for a federal restoration grant that may provide as many as 258 jobs in Stevens and Ferry County. The $968,000 grant will fund restoration work on an area of nearly a million acres in Ferry County, according to the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition.The Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition (Coalition) worked with the Colville National Forest to secure the grant from the federal Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP), the program that will fund restoration projects in 13 states, including the Colville National Forest. The CFLRP was funded by Congress to try new approaches to efficiently expand the amount of restoration work on public lands. The Coalition deemed the nearly $1 million grant a “game changer.”“This is exactly the news we needed,” said Ron Gray, Vice President of the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition. “We worked very hard to get this grant and our success [in obtaining the grant] says a lot about the quality of the collaborative process. We’re very thankful to many state and federal elected officials who spoke up on behalf of our proposal.”Stepping upThe grant award, which was also applauded by Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, will help protect private property from wildfire, restore water quality and fisheries and control invasive plants. Decommissioning old logging roads and removing small diameter trees will also be addressed by the grant.“I appreciate the Forest Service stepping up on be¬half of Eastern Washing¬ton,” said McMorris Rod¬gers. “This definitely builds our confidence going for¬ward.”Colville National Forest Supervisor Laura Jo West said she is also excited about the work the grant will fund.“This is great news for the communities of this area,” said West. “With this fund¬ing, we can generate a lot of quality jobs doing major projects to improve forest habitat, restore watersheds and reduce wildfire risk around communities.”The ongoing collaboration between the Colville Na¬tional Forest and the North¬east Washington Forestry Coalition has not gone un¬noticed, since the Coalition has received national recog¬nition for accomplishing more than two-dozen pro¬jects on the CNF in the last eight years. The projects helped to improve forest health and wildlife habitat, while improving community safety and generating jobs for local mills, the Coalition said in a press release. “These investments in re¬storing America’s forests will provide real benefits that we breathe, drink and feel in our everyday lives,” said Laura McCarthy of the Nature Conservancy. “By supporting these collabora¬tive projects, the Forest Service and Congress are directly helping Americans in their lives and liveli¬hoods.”For more information about the project, visit¬ration/CFLR/