Conservation News

New Agreement Expands Support for Wildfire Crisis Strategy

EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation is pleased to announce a new Participating Agreement with the USDA Forest Service, marking a significant step in bolstering efforts to continue the great work that is being accomplished through the Master Stewardship Agreement. This collaboration is crucial as escalating wildfire challenges demand a unified and strategic response.

Amidst the increasing threat of wildfires, the USDA Forest Service has taken a proactive stance by implementing the comprehensive 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy designed to confront the crisis in areas posing the most immediate threats to communities. The NWTF, with a longstanding history of partnering with the Forest Service on stewardship projects nationwide, recognizes the urgency of addressing western landscape issues and fully supports the Wildfire Crisis Strategy.

The Participating Agreement enables the NWTF to enhance its support for this critical initiative by providing funding for new positions dedicated to supporting the implementation of the Master Stewardship Agreement. Funding for this agreement comes entirely from federal dollars authorized in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. This includes covering expenses such as personnel costs, including travel, and supporting essential meetings like Partner Coordination Meetings and Industry Coordination Meetings to foster effective communication and collaboration among stakeholders.

Currently, the NWTF has two key staff positions dedicated to implementing the Master Stewardship Agreement under the Wildfire Crisis Strategy, a Wildfire Crisis Manager and a Regional Wildfire Crisis Coordinator

As the Wildfire Crisis Manager, Molly Pitts takes charge of managing and directing the NWTF’s efforts to support the Wildfire Crisis Strategy and the Risk Reduction Solutions Pilot. Collaborating closely with Forest Service partners, Pitts is entrusted with overseeing the delivery of priorities outlined in the Keystone Agreement and enhancing the utilization of forest products while supporting the existing timber industry infrastructure.

Wildfire Crisis Coordinator Brian Russell, is tasked with implementing and managing the programmatic delivery of elements related to the Wildfire Crisis Strategy within designated Forest Service regions. Russell plays a pivotal role in coordinating, managing and supervising contractors associated with implementing projects, with a focus on identifying, developing and implementing initiatives to mitigate wildfire risks.

With the new Participating Agreement, the NWTF aims to expand its support by adding additional Wildfire Crisis Coordinators in different regions. Additionally, the NWTF seeks to hire a Wildfire Crisis Strategy Budget and Agreement Specialist, responsible for supporting the financial processes tied to the Wildfire Crisis Strategy work and a GIS Specialist to accurately map and share data related to the strategy efforts.

“I am extremely excited to add capacity through this Participating Agreement, further enabling critical wildfire risk reduction and habitat enhancement work to get done on the ground,” said Molly Pitts, NWTF wildfire crisis manager.

To learn more about the details of these positions and information on how to apply, view the job openings, here.

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