When you take a drink of water in this country, chances are pretty good that it came from a reservoir or river that is managed, or that has been treated in a plant funded with support from the Federal government, or whose headwaters are on public land managed by the United States Forest Service or Department of Interior. Every dollar the federal government spends supporting water quality and quantity impacts millions of Americans. Interagency guidelines governing how investments, programs, and policies that affect water resources are evaluated at the Federal level have been updated for the first time since 1983, and published by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
Given the importance of water to USDA programs and our customers, we understand that it makes sense to have the most complete and forward-thinking information available to inform our investment and implementation decisions. That enhances our ability to develop programs and projects that conserve water resources while ensuring taxpayer dollars are well spent. USDA is confident that these new guidelines can enhance our decision-making without adversely affecting how we implement our many conservation programs. Read more »
U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell makes welcoming remarks at the"A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES)" conference in Crystal City, VA. USDA Photo by Bob Nichols.
What is the monetary value of a supply of clean water? Or the value of clean air or having places available to hike and fish?
For decades we have taken these resources for granted, or at least we have not put a monetary value on their benefits. That’s changing. Participants from 30 nations met this week at the ACES: A Community on Ecosystem Services; Linking Science, Practice and Decision Making conference to talk about just how we can value these benefits and include that in our decision-making and planning. As the conference kicked off, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tidwell talked about the need to quantify the benefits of public lands, building consensus and support for a multi-generational outlook, moving away from short term objectives and toward “sustaining the health and diversity of our forests and grasslands.”
Participants included a number of other federal officials, including Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie, and Jay Jensen of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). Read more »
A truck is filled with wood chips as part of the process of turning wood into energy
Cross posted from the White House CEQ blog:
Across rural America, biomass like wood pellets and wood chips is helping communities diversify their energy sources, create jobs, and save money on utility bills. At the Forest Service, we are working to support biomass projects that help us manage wildfire threats, and also serve as economic engines for rural communities. Last week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced grants of $4 million for renewable wood energy projects that will provide 20 small businesses, tribes and community groups with the technical engineering and design services they need to explore installing wood heat and electricity projects. Read more »
The U.S. Forest Service recently announced nearly $4 million in grants to help develop affordable woody biomass energy in rural communities. The facilities will use wood pellets such as those pictured here. Thinkstock
The U.S. Forest Service recently announced the award of nearly $4 million in grants for wood energy projects around the country to help expand regional economies and create new jobs. The grants, totaling $3.9 million, will be distributed to 20 small businesses, tribes and community groups to develop renewable energy projects. Read more »
Gary, right, and Sue Price have been implementing conservation practices for more than 35 years they on their "77 Ranch" and they have submitted an application for the new national water quality initiative.
Cross posted from the White House Council on Environmental Quality blog:
How important is water? Well, it’s not a question I have to think too hard about. What I can tell you is that without it, there wouldn’t be any humans or critters roaming the earth. Read more »
When President Obama recently called on federal agencies to help young people find more work in the great outdoors, the U.S. Forest Service – with 193 million acres of prime outdoor space —responded quickly with jobs for hundreds of underserved youths.
The America’s Great Outdoors: Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists initiative will fund 20 projects, providing more than 500 young people with the experience of a lifetime working on public lands this summer work season. The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently announced $3.7 million in competitive grants through the initiative. Read more »