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Cooperative Agreement between the National Association of Conservation Districts and the Department of Agriculture and Department of the Interior

December 2004

The National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) signed a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior last week to work cooperatively in the promotion of woody biomass utilization for restoration and fuel treatments on forests, woodlands and rangelands. NACD represents nearly 3,000 soil and water conservation districts from nearly every community in the Nation. Conservation district boards are some of the most respected community conservation leaders and will serve as a local voice to the National Fire Plan effort to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires to communities and domestic watersheds. NACD will develop communication tools and sponsor workshops to spread the word that biomass removal and use can be an effective fuel reduction strategy.

Cooperative Agreement activities include:

  • National and Regional workshops on woody biomass utilization
  • Internal and external networking and web-based communication tools
  • Developing outreach materials to entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations to stimulate investment in small wood industries and bioenergy.

Purpose and Need

Federal agencies need help in increasing public understanding and working with communities in developing collaborative hazardous fuel reduction projects and restoring land health. The risk to communities and the damage of catastrophic wildfires is increasing due to the expansion of urban development into the wildlands, increasing hazardous fuel loads, and extended drought conditions.

The Cooperative Agreement will

  • Restore forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic fires to communities and domestic water supplies
  • Stimulate investments in community protection and hazardous fuel reduction
  • Encourage local dialogue to plan and implement biomass use strategies
  • Diversify the nation’s energy portfolio while reducing land fill needs and/or smoke from fuel treatment residues

Partners Include

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • National Park Service
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
  • NACD representing almost 3,000 local soil water and resource conservation districts
  • USDA Forest Service
  • National Fire Plan
  • National Association of Resource Conservation & Development Councils