Good Neighbor Authority Agreement Signed in Michigan

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced that the two agencies are completing another step toward implementation of the Good Neighbor Authority in the state. The parties are signing three Supplemental Project Agreements (SPAs) for timber sale work on the Hiawatha, Huron-Manistee and Ottawa National Forests.

The Good Neighbor Authority offers the opportunity to work across jurisdictional boundaries to sustainably manage forest lands by allowing state resources to accomplish work planned on national forest system lands. The projects will maintain and create healthy forest conditions as called for in the national forests' land and resource management plans, while providing additional wood fiber to Michigan's vital forest products industry. A portion of the receipts from the timber sales will reimburse the state for its costs to do the work, with remaining funds available to conduct additional restoration activities on the forest. On-the-ground work is expected to occur in 2016 and 2017.

A separate SPA is being signed for each National Forest by its respective Forest Supervisor -- Cid Morgan for the Hiawatha, Linda Jackson for the Ottawa, and Leslie Auriemmo for the Huron-Manistee -- and DNR Director Bill Moritz.

"The Good Neighbor Authority provides another collaborative tool to assist us in achieving the forest management outcomes described in the forests' 2006 Land and Resource Management Plans," said Supervisor Auriemmo, whose Huron-Manistee National Forest SPA is expected to include timber harvest and other treatments on over 600 acres of forest land in Wexford, Lake Newaygo and Oscoda Counties. Treatments will include red pine thinning and harvest in white pine, oak and aspen forest types.

Ottawa's Supervisor Jackson, added, "The US Forest Service values this and other partnership efforts between the national forests and the state." Managing over 3 million acres in the Michigan provides ample opportunity for the Forest Service to partner with the DNR and other land management agencies in a variety of ways, such as trails, fisheries, law enforcement and more, Jackson said.

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