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USDA, Commonwealth of KY agree to improve forest health

From John Mura/Robin Hartman

Frankfort, KY - The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service signed an agreement on August 10, 2023, with the Commonwealth of Kentucky to strengthen its commitment to collaboratively manage lands and waters throughout the state.

Under the agreement, all parties agree to collaborate to:
  • Identify land management priorities.
  • Mitigate and/or co-manage ecological health risks and natural catastrophes.
  • Protect and enhance water quality and quantity.
  • Improve air quality and conserve energy.
  • Assist communities in planning for and reducing wildfire risks.
  • Maintain and enhance the economic benefits and values of forests.
  • Protect, conserve, and enhance wildlife and fish habitat, including rare species and rare communities.
The agreement reaffirms the USDA's commitment to work with the commonwealth using the best available science to manage and enhance private and public lands within Kentucky.

Agencies that signed on to the agreement include: the USDA Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, along with Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, Kentucky Tourism, Arts, and Heritage Cabinet, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

"Land managers in Kentucky face a range of challenges, from loss of forestland, effects of catastrophic storms and flooding; insect, disease and invasive insect pest outbreaks, and a lack of adequate markets to promote investments in sustainable forest management," said Ken Arney, regional forester for the USDA Forest Service, Southern Region. "This shared stewardship agreement provides an incredible opportunity to work with Kentucky in combining skills and resources, to set shared priorities and promote healthy forests on public and private lands."

Kentucky becomes the 13th state in the South and final state 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 online at The agreement was signed at the Kentucky State Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort, Kentucky.

This story was posted on 2023-08-14 13:37:10
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