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Interior gives Utah part of $4M to help prevent wildfires

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue, | Posted - Apr 30th, 2015 @ 12:16pm



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SALT LAKE CITY — The Interior Department is awarding $4 million to four states to help reduce the threat of wildland fires and boost the health of sagebrush habitat in the Great Basin region.

Projects in Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Oregon are part of an intensive effort announced by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell designed to counter the more frequent and intense wildfires that have been plaguing the West.

“This funding will launch a number of projects that are ready to begin as we approach a potentially active 2015 wildfire season in the Great Basin, where a good portion of the remaining sage-steppe exists,” Jewell said.

"Every task we complete puts us closer to conserving the sage-grouse, sage-steppe, and western rangelands that depend on these resources. These projects will not only improve rangeland health, but also help mitigate the risks to local economies that depend on healthy lands,” she said.


Every task we complete puts us closer to conserving the sage-grouse, sage-steppe, and western rangelands that depend on these resources. These projects will not only improve rangeland health, but also help mitigate the risks to local economies that depend on healthy lands.

–Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell


The money is part of the Bureau of Land Management's newly-formed Fire and Invasive Assessment Tool program dedicated to identifying federal projects to reduce wildfire threats. Those can include tackling invasive grasses and reducing areas impacted by conifer encroachment.

Under the program, Utah will receive $811,000 to fund numerous sagebrush habitat restoration efforts, including the Parker Front project to remove juniper stands and seed native plants and grasses.

The money supports a larger ongoing partnership with the Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative, which has already contributed $70,000 to treat 2,000 acres of priority habitat.

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