The State of Texas and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service signed a historic agreement to formalize the framework for collaborative responses to wildfires, natural resource concerns and ecological challenges in Texas.
The Shared Stewardship Agreement was signed into effect at the state capitol by Gov. Greg Abbott and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. Texas is the 15th state to implement the collaborative response framework.
The agreement focuses on how federal entities and state forestry agencies collectively approach land and fire management and proposes how to cooperatively set landscape-scale forest restoration activities that protect at-risk communities and watersheds across the state.
“Shared stewardship may be a new name for cooperative partnerships, but in Texas, we’ve been doing shared stewardship a long time,” said Texas state forester and director of Texas A&M Forest Service Tom Boggus. “Texas A&M Forest Service has a call to serve, a duty to protect, and, most of all, a practice of building partnerships and coalitions with other organizations that share our agency’s mission because we know we are stronger together.”
Fulfilling the service component of the Texas A&M University land-grant system, Texas A&M Forest Service enters into this memorandum of understanding, MOU, with the USDA Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“Today’s a good day,” said Boggus. “This MOU will help strengthen the partnerships in this state most vital to protecting lives and property from wildfire and ensuring the health, resiliency and productivity of Texas’ forests.”
Read the full news release or go to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Shared Stewardship Strategy or Toward Shared Stewardship Strategy for more information on the federal and state plans, respectively.
Additionally, here are examples of U.S. South state forestry agencies practicing the foundational concepts.