Update on WLA’s federal and state forest policy work


Nearly 8 million acres across western states have burned in 2017, highlighting yet again the urgent need for lawmakers across the West and in Washington, D.C. to push for smart reforms that would allow for enhanced, active forest management and rational funding mechanisms for U.S. Forest Service-led wildfire fighting efforts. WLA has joined a chorus of western interests in applauding a number of bipartisan proposals designed to address these issues and continues to push for a wildfire funding fix as lawmakers engage in end-of-year dealmaking that could, in theory, be fertile territory for reaching such an agreement.

Forest health is also a core component of WLA’s Farm Bill advocacy. As the House and Senate committees on agriculture begin the process of reauthorizing the Farm Bill before it expires on September 30, 2018, WLA has been appealing directly to lawmakers and staff in D.C. with forest health priorities, including extensions of both Good Neighbor and Stewardship Contracting authorities; strong funding for facilitating treatment of invasive pest-infested forests under the Healthy Forest Restoration Act; and increasing opportunities for private forest management and conservation in USDA’s conservation programming. In two separate 2017 trips to Washington, D.C., WLA met with lawmakers and staff to discuss these forestry issues along with the urgent need to address wildfire funding.

WLA has also been working to address forest health at the state level. In New Mexico, WLA is running a campaign to build support for a property tax proposal that would facilitate management and conservation in forested watersheds by establishing a third property tax category for stewardship activities. The proposal is designed to boost the health of private land holdings by offering landowners and families an alternative to development when agriculture production isn’t a viable option. Legislation backed by WLA to this effect passed the NM Senate in the previous session but was never considered by the NM House. WLA is gearing up for another run at this effort in 2018.

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Rangeland monitoring – why to monitor and resources to get you started

The value of monitoring land attributes are generally known among land stewards. The greatest value is in gaining an understanding of the soils, plants and animals you manage, documenting that information and then using that information to guide future decisions.

We’re in this together

At Western Landowners Alliance, we respect land as a living community that includes both people and wildlife. Today, the movement for racial justice underscores more than ever that we are one people on a finite planet. Our care for one another and our care for the land go hand in hand. The impulses that lead people to abuse others are the same impulses that lead to abuse of land and natural resources. Yet we also have the capacity to create systems, cultures and relationships that curtail injustice, generate healing and bring forward the better aspects of our nature. There has never been a more important time to do so.

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