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Agreement helps forest agencies work across boundary lines

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The USDA Forest Service (USFS) and Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) - a service and outreach agency of Colorado State University - have finalized an expanded federal-state partnership that will indefinitely enable and increase management efforts on federal lands. The Master Good Neighbor Agreement fosters a collaborative approach and leverages state resources to accomplish work across land ownership boundaries onto National Forest System lands. Eligible projects include those that protect water supplies, manage bark beetles, reduce wildfire risk and meet other forest management objectives.

Under the agreement, the CSFS will have the authority to conduct forest treatments on the 11 National Forests in Colorado, complementing work on state and private lands. The CSFS is working on a similar agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Colorado is now only the fourth state to finalize the forest management agreement between state and federal forestry agencies; the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources signed the first of such agreements with the USFS in August, and in the past two weeks similar agreements were signed in Michigan and Texas.

"The Good Neighbor Authority allows effective sharing of limited resources to achieve landscape-scale impacts that mitigate fire risk, improve forest health and reduce risk to life and property," said Mike Lester, State Forester and Director of the Colorado State Forest Service.

While the U.S. Forest Service takes action on National Forest lands, the CSFS works with private landowners to help them meet their management objectives to achieve healthy forests.

For further information on the Good Neighbor Authority, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/farmbill/gna.shtml. For information directed at private landowners seeking to achieve healthier forests and reduced wildfire risks, visit www.csfs.colostate.edu.

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