Repost from the Charleston Gazette
CHARLESTON, W.Va. —West Virginia will receive nearly $3 million for improving stream quality, wildlife habitat and forest resiliency under a multistate Landscape Restoration Partnership between the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The partnership will invest $30 million in 12 states this year. In West Virginia the money will be used to “leverage the technical and financial resources by collaborating not only with the Forest Service but also with our nonfederal partners across the state,” said Kevin Wickey, state conservationist for the NRCS.
Among projects expected to receive funding through the partnership are the continuation of a red spruce habitat restoration project in and adjacent to the Monongahela National Forest and an ongoing effort to assist private landowners in fencing livestock away from streams and stream banks.
About $2.1 million will be used by the state NRCS organization to fund restoration, water quality and habitat improvement projects on private land in West Virginia. An additional $850,000 will be used by the Monongahela National Forest to do similar work on public land.
Nongovernment groups participating in the partnership include Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy and Canaan Valley Institute.
“Each agency has a common goal and will bring something valuable to the table in this effort,” said Clyde Thompson, Monongahela National Forest superintendent.
“We’re still working out the details about how the money will be spent,” said Andrea Brandon, Central Appalachians Programs coordinator for The Nature Conservancy. “But with this funding, we’ll be able to increase the scale of the restoration work we’ve been doing.”
While both state residents and visitors treasure West Virginia’s forests and streams, “they face a lot of challenges,” said Rodney Bartgis, state director of The Nature Conservancy in West Virginia. “This partnership will give a much needed boost to the groups working together to restore and protect them.”