Idaho Gov. Brad Little on Oct. 3 announced members of a committee to help identify opportunities for cooperative land-management projects, coordinated across jurisdictional and ownership boundaries, to reduce wildfire risk and improve forest health.

As governor-elect last December, he and federal officials signed a shared-stewardship agreement, a goal of which is to double the number of acres treated on federal forests in Idaho by 2025.

Partners, using mechanical and commercial forest restoration treatments as well as prescribed fire, plan to focus on 6.1 million acres federally designated for insect and disease infestation remedies.

The agreement built on the established Good Neighbor Authority program by which the state Department of Lands shares in carrying out land-management projects on national forests. In July, Little announced one large, cooperative project in the state’s northern region and another in the south.

“The protection of our rural communities and the health of our forests are critical issues that go beyond just one government agency or interest,” Little said in a news release. “These individuals are leaders in forest management and policy, and I appreciate them stepping up to ensure we consider all aspects to effectively implement Shared Stewardship in Idaho.”

He discussed the agreement, and urged cooperative problem-solving in tackling a range of land-management issues, in opening the Western Governors’ Association Working Lands Roundtable Oct. 3 at Boise State University.

Forest health is bigger than any one agency, entity or owner, he said, “and it has to be looked at on a very broad scale going forward.”

Shared Stewardship Advisory Committee members include: Brian Wonderlich, office of the governor; Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay; Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens; Dan Dinning, Boundary County commissioner; Tom Schultz, Idaho Forest Group; and Brett Bennett, Bennett Lumber.

Also, Anna Torma, PotlatchDeltic; Tim Christopherson, Associated Logging Contractors; David Easley, Idaho Forest Owners Association; Rick Tholen, Payette Forest Coalition; Kurt Dyroff, National Wild Turkey Federation; John Robison, Idaho Conservation League; and Knute Sandahl, state fire marshal and Idaho Lands Resource Coordinating Council representative.

Also, Dustin Miller and Peg Polichio, Idaho Department of Lands; Tim Garcia, U.S. Forest Service Northern Region 1; David Rosenkrance, USFS Intermountain Region 4; and Curtis Elke, Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist.

A tribal representative yet to be named.

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