New Public-Private Partnership to Address Wildfire Threat, Protect Water Supply in Upper South Platte Watershed

U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service Partnering with American Forest Foundation

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today announced a public-private partnership with the American Forest Foundation (AFF) to invest $5 million to address wildfire risks across the country, including the Upper South Platte Watershed in Colorado.

"Wildfires like the Waldo Canyon fire, which devastated the Upper South Platte Watershed, have become more and more unpredictable," Bennet said. "This partnership will make crucial investments in the ongoing work to restore this watershed in Colorado and others across the West that have experienced tragic fires. It will also help local residents complete the work needed to protect their land and ensure they have access to clean water."

This new public-private partnership will provide $5 million in funding to support work in six priority landscapes across the West, aiming to restore more than 11,000 acres in the first two years. A portion of the funds will help AFF and partners, including state forestry agencies, conduct outreach and education to 17,500 private and family landowners in important water supply watersheds. These funds will help supplement other federal and state investments for forest restoration. The remainder of the funds will provide cost-share dollars directly to landowners in one of the project landscapes, the Upper South Platte Watershed in Colorado. Currently, the project is being supported by private and local funding, including from Denver Water and The Nature Conservancy.

Other projects associated with the partnership, include the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana, Oregon's Blue Mountains, the Sierra Nevada region in California, and two additional projects to be selected from California and the Four Corners states.