USDA Forest Service signs $50 million agreement with NWTF for innovative, long-term national master stewardship agreement

20-year agreement paves way for National Wild Turkey Federation to help reduce wildfire risk and promote healthy forests and wildlife habitats

EDGEFIELD, SC — Today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) have signed a historic 20-year national master stewardship agreement.

This first-of-its-kind agreement paves the way for these partner organizations to work together to address the wildfire crisis in the West and promote healthy forests across the U.S. It also includes an initial $50 million commitment from the Act. Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Council. as regular assignments from agencies and other sources.

“This agreement reflects our strong and longstanding relationship with the National Wild Turkey Federation and its four decades of forest restoration work in national forests and grasslands,” said USDA Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. “The larger wildfires, more frequent natural disasters and other disturbances that continue to threaten the health of the nation’s forests and grasslands, and the wildlife habitat they provide, mean the work we do together is even more vital.” .

When Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the Forest Service’s wildfire crisis strategy earlier this year, the NWTF began identifying areas where they could help. Using the funds made possible by this agreement, the NWTF will develop regional projects to protect communities, reduce wildfire risk, and improve forest health, wildlife habitat, and water quality in forests and grasslands. nationals.

This agreement is the largest in the NWTF’s 50-year history and is one of the first long-term agreements of its kind between the Forest Service and a conservation partner. The NWTF is the largest and longest-serving non-governmental partner involved in Forest Service management arrangements. A master management agreement will expand funding and partnership opportunities with other federal and state agencies and tribes, as well as the timber industry, municipal water providers and volunteers.

“Our partnership with the Forest Service is critical to our mission,” said Kurt Dyroff, co-executive director of the National Wild Turkey Federation. “Wild turkeys, like other wildlife, depend on healthy habitats and healthy forests for their long-term sustainability. Likewise, hunters trust it for a successful and quality hunting experience. Our work focuses on the shared values ​​of water, forests/wildlife habitat, recreation, and resilient communities. This partnership allows us to make greater investments on a larger scale to maintain healthy forests, clean water and halt the loss of critical habitats.”

“This long-term master stewardship agreement builds on a 40-year history of successful regional conservation partnerships between the NWTF and the Forest Service that have fulfilled our organization’s mission of conserving wild turkey habitat and preserving the our nation’s hunting heritage,” said co-CEO Becky Humphries. “NWTF is proud to work with the Forest Service to improve habitat and make America’s forests healthier and safer, and to accelerate the pace and scope of this vital work.”

The NWTF’s work under this new agreement includes vegetation management and prescribed burns, with the goal of improving the health of forests and fish and wildlife habitat while reducing the risk of forest fires. Through the agreement, the NWTF will also support the Forest Service’s efforts to promote the commercial use of forest products, including the transportation of wood fiber from areas of oversupply to areas where it can be used.

The NWTF will ensure investments are designed in an equitable and inclusive manner and support underserved communities and diverse partners.

About the National Wild Turkey Federation
Since 1973, the National Wild Turkey Federation has invested more than half a billion dollars in wildlife conservation and positively impacted more than 22 million acres of critical wildlife habitat. The NWTF has also invested more than $8.5 million in wild turkey research to ensure the wild turkey population remains healthy. The organization continues to fulfill its mission by working across borders at the landscape scale to increase abundant clean water, healthy forests and wildlife habitat, resilient communities, and strong recreational opportunities across the US. With the help of its dedicated members, partners and staff, the National Wild Turkey Federation will continue its work to provide Healthy Habitats and Healthy Crops for future generations.