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USDA, Alabama sign historic agreement to improve forest conditions on public and private lands

USDA, Alabama sign historic agreement to improve forest conditions on public and private lands

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USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture James Hubbard and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed a Shared Stewardship agreement at a virtual signing event Tuesday afternoon. The agreement is between USDA's Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with, the Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources and the Alabama Forestry Commission.

Shared Stewardship agreements establish a framework for federal and state agencies to collaborate better, focus on accomplishing mutual goals, further common interests, and effectively respond to the increasing ecological challenges and natural resource concerns.

“Shared stewardship provides an incredible opportunity to work with the state of Alabama to set stewardship priorities together,” said Hubbard. “We will combine our mutual skills and assets to achieve cross-boundary outcomes desired by all.”

This new agreement centers on USDA’s commitment to work with states and other partners to use the best available science to identify high-priority forests that need treatment and to ensure the long-term sustainability of public and private lands.

“From our rolling mountains to our sparkling coast, the world can understand why they call it ‘Alabama the Beautiful.’ I am pleased that we can build on the conservation efforts already happening through these strong federal and state partnerships,” Gov. Ivey said. “I look forward to our state continually working for the good of the people as well as our natural resources and to preserve our beautiful state for generations to come.”

“The Alabama Forestry Commission is excited to formalize our working arrangement with those federal partners who help us accomplish our mission,” said State Forester Rick Oates. “This Shared Stewardship agreement will provide the framework for us at the state level to work with the Forest Service and NRCS as we strive to implement good forestry practices across Alabama.”

Alabama becomes the 7th state in the South and 23rd in the Nation to sign such an agreement to strengthen partnerships within the state to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that support communities and improve forest conditions.

The agreement can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/shared-stewardship.

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