In September Governor Steve Bullock unveiled a new strategy titled Forests in Focus 2.0: A Cross-Boundary Collaborative Approach to address pressing needs in forest management across ownership boundaries.
“Montana is uniquely positioned to continue to lead on addressing forest and rangeland management needs by expanding upon our proven strategies for results,” said Governor Bullock. “This new partnership will emphasize better planning, scaling partnerships down to the local level, and targeting our investments on state, federal, tribal and private lands that bring capacity where we most need it, benefitting Montana’s forested communities across the state.”
Forests in Focus 2.0 charts a course for key stakeholders and partners to collaboratively address our most pressing needs for forest health and wildfire risk across Montana under one authoritative plan. It builds on the accomplishments and partnerships of the original Forests in Focus in 2014 and emphasizes better planning, a well-organized statewide collaborative effort, and targeting investments that bring capacity where we most need it to get results out on the ground. Success will be measured in the number of acres treated, the number of communities and watersheds protected, the amount of wildlife habitat benefited, the number of jobs created, and in the endurance of partnerships.
Forests in Focus 2.0: A Cross-Boundary Collaborative Approach key focuses include:
- Convening key stakeholders to help revise the State Forest Action Plan to reassess statewide forest conditions, identify priority areas for treatment, and accomplish forest restoration in targeted areas over a defined period of time.
- Grow the Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) Program to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration and management on federal lands and across ownership boundaries.
- Investing in innovative targeted marketing strategies to increase stewardship activities on non-industrial private forest lands.
- Expanding investment in local government capacity to make communities more resilient to wildfire, realize the goals and objectives of Community Wildfire Protection Plans, and engage forest land managers in relevant planning and project efforts.
- Better serving Indian Country by engaging with all 12 Montana tribes to identify programs of work that address forest health and wildfire risk issues in and around tribal communities.
- Investing in an industry liaison position to better align DNRC’s capabilities to overcome challenges with forest industry stability, growth, and retention.
- Investing annually in watershed and collaborative groups in recognition of their leadership in resolving intractable land management policy and projects.