Cantwell Applauds USDA Restoration Grants to Colville National Forest, Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest

Cantwell: ‘This is great news for forest health and rural jobs’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement that two national forests in Washington state are receiving a restoration investment to enhance forest health, restore watersheds, and create jobs in rural parts of Washington.

Yesterday, the USDA selected the Colville National Forest proposal as a “High Priority Restoration” project and awarded $968,000 for restoration initiatives. The Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest received support last year for its restoration project, and Secretary Vilsack announced the project’s continued support for another year.

“This is great news for forest health and rural jobs,” Cantwell said. “This investment will help implement innovative forest management projects that balance healthy, working forests with pressing restoration needs while creating jobs in rural Washington.”

On December 20, 2011, Cantwell led a letter signed by members of the Washington state congressional delegation to Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in strong support of the Colville National Forest restoration proposal. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA-06) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-WA-05) signed onto the letter.

The Colville National Forest has an unmatched track record of successful collaboration that has produced over 30 large scale forest management projects. The local forest products industry and the conservation community have worked together for over eight years to achieve hard-won collaborative successes. As a result, the Colville National Forest has been appeal and litigation free over that time. Funding and agency manpower are the two stumbling blocks for successful forest restoration and economic growth in northeastern Washington. The grant announcement helps resolve both of those challenges.