NWTF Recognized for Role in Wildfire Crisis Strategy 

4/13/2022

U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, former governor of Colorado, talks about past and future challenges and the importance of funding to address wildfire risk across the West. (Photo Credit: Patt Dorsey)

For more information, contact Pete Muller at (803) 637-7698 or pmuller@nwtf.net

EDGEFIELD, S.C.— The USDA Forest Service officially announced funding priorities for the first phase of its 10-year Wildfire Crisis Strategy in Boulder County, Colorado, Monday, with strong support from the National Wild Turkey Federation. 

Lawmakers and Colorado state and federal agency leaders personally thanked the NWTF for the organization’s leadership on Capitol Hill and its role in the development and passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will help fund wildfire mitigation efforts over the next decade.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s office, Forest Service Chief Randy Moore, Sen. Michael Bennett and other Colorado lawmakers recognized the NWTF’s ongoing support of the legislation and praised the nonprofit for its stewardship agreements with the Forest Service across the country. 

Tom Spezze, NWTF national director of field conservation and state policy, and Patt Dorsey, NWTF director of conservation operations in the West, attended Monday’s announcement, which took place at the burn scar site of the Calwood Fire of 2020, just west of Boulder, to support the launch of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy. 

“We are pleased to see the Wildfire Crisis Strategy being implemented so swiftly and robustly,” Spezze said. “This initial work will significantly minimize the threat of catastrophic wildfire to our forests and communities, and it will bolster the NWTF’s Four Shared Values of clean water, healthy forests and wildlife habitats, resilient communities and robust recreational opportunities. We support the Forest Service’s efforts and are ready to get to work.” 

The NWTF has been a leader among conservation organizations on Capitol Hill in the early drafting phase of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Since the passage of the once-in-a-lifetime legislation, the NWTF has worked side-by-side with the Forest Service and has had direct involvement in the Wildfire Risk Reduction Implementation Strategy Team at the national level and in the development of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy across all western Forest Service regions.

Funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will allow the Forest Service to amplify its efforts with other land-owning federal agencies, conservation partners — like the NWTF — tribes, states and local communities to work across boundaries and make a landscape-level impact to combat  catastrophic wildfires in the West.

Over the course of the next 10 years, the Wildfire Crisis Strategy will implement a scaled-up, cross-boundary approach and carry out the treatment of approximately 20 million acres of hazardous fuels on National Forest Service lands — nearly tenfold what the Forest Service is currently capable of doing to minimize future wildfire threats — and up to 30 million acres beyond National Forest Service lands.

Monday, the Forest Service outlined the initial phases and implementation of the work, including wildfire reduction treatment on 10 priority landscapes in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. 
In Fiscal Year 2022 alone, the Forest Service plans to invest $131 million in fuels reduction implementation, which will equate to 208,000 acres of catastrophic wildfire mitigation.

Landscapes within the Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative, a partnership co-convened by the NWTF and the Forest Service, were identified by partners early in the crafting of the Wildfire Crisis Strategy and are now included in both the initial and future investments. Moreover, at Wildfire Crisis Strategy meetings and roundtables, RMRI is being pointed to as a model for how to implement shared stewardship conservation delivery on a landscape scale. 

Learn more about how the work done to minimize catastrophic wildfire benefits wild turkeys. 

About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters' rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final year of the initiative.