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Virginia, feds ink forest care pact

Staff report • Aug 14, 2017 at 5:30 PM

ROANOKE — The U.S. Forest Service's George Washington and Jefferson national forests and the Virginia Department of Forestry have signed a Good Neighbor Authority master agreement that provides a framework for cooperative efforts that enhance national forest lands and their watersheds.

Authorized under 2014 legislation, the pact allows the federal and state agencies to work together to treat insect- and disease-infected trees, reduce hazardous fuels to lessen the risk of wildfires, and conduct other activities to restore or improve national forestl and and watersheds, to include fish and wildlife habitat.

"This is an exciting opportunity," said State Forester of Virginia Bettina Ring. "By combining forces and being intentional about the work that needs to be done, we can make truly substantive improvements to the national forests for the benefit of all Virginians."

"By enhancing the parnership between the national forest and the commonwealth of Virginia, we can expand capabilities and opportunities to achieve conservation goals on all lands: federal, state, county and private," said GW/JNF Supervisor Joby Timm. The Jefferson National Forest includes significant portions of Wise, Lee and Scott counties.

"I am looking forward to working even more closely with the VDOF on a variety of conservation projects," Timm said.

The completed master agreement between the GW/JNF and the Virginia Department of Forestry follows similar agreements signed by national forests with their state counterparts across the country.

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