A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
The Departments of Interior and Agriculture Issue National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy Phase II National Report
Policy Management and Budget
Conducted extensive public outreach to prepare for upcoming wildland fire season
WASHINGTON – After a mild winter and low precipitation levels in many parts of the nation, the risk of wildland fire this season poses a challenge for the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture which, together, respond to more than 20,000 wildfires per year. Wildland fires today are becoming more complex, particularly in areas where urban populations are situated near forested and rangeland areas. To address those challenges, the two departments today issued A National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, Phase II National Report, which focuses on restoring and maintaining resilient landscapes, creating fire-adapted communities, and responding to wildfires. The report was crafted by working closely with Federal, state and local governments, tribes, non-governmental organizations, and citizens.
“We have mapped out and established new levels of coordination, transparency and communication between the Federal Government and all of its partners,” said Rhea Suh, Interior Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget. “Our collaboration has enabled us to focus on specific regional priorities and to develop more focused strategies to address the challenges.”
“The Cohesive Strategy is an unprecedented collaborative planning and risk analysis document to improve response and resiliency in the event of wildland fire,” said Butch Blazer, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment. “Phase II sets a strong foundation for the type of diverse interests and activities involved when wildfire strikes.”
The Cohesive Strategy builds on successes of the past while incorporating a new collaborative approach to managing a complex national problem — wildfire. This new approach includes all the partners involved in fire management and gives each a voice and a role in developing solutions to the collective problem. The Strategy will be implemented throughout 2012 using a three-phased approach and the involvement of a variety of stakeholders. It will be adaptable to different geographic scales: national, regional, and local, with a goal of promoting meaningful collaboration among stakeholders in an ‘all-lands, all-hands' approach.
In Phase I, the national framework and goals were defined. In Phase II, regional assessments were completed to address and scale the national goals to the needs and challenges found at regional and local levels. Regional Strategy Committees representing three regions of the country—the West, Southeast, and Northeast, examined the processes by which wildland fire, or the absence of wildland fire, threatens areas and issues that Americans value, including wildlife habitats, watershed quality and local economies, among others.
“Discussing and addressing our wildland fire problems in a national, cohesive approach is a step in the right direction,” said Randy Dye, President of the National Association of State Foresters. “We all recognize the importance of the document in framing future dialogue on wildland fire management issues. The states' commitment to participate in the process ensured that a broad range of interests were considered and melded into the report."
The third and final phase of the cohesive strategy will build on the work from Phases I and II, as regional and national risk-based analyses and action plans are completed. The risk-based analyses will examine potential consequences, benefits and alternative actions designed by the regions to enhance decision-making across jurisdictional boundaries.