Last week, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Forest Service signed an Agreement for Shared Stewardship, strengthening their commitment to collaborative land management efforts throughout the state.
According to DNR Deputy Director Rachel Torbert, the agreement establishes a framework to allow the state and the Forest Service to work collaboratively on forest management, accomplishing mutual goals, furthering common interests, and effectively responding to the increasing suite of challenges facing the communities, landscapes and natural resources in Illinois.
The federal, state and private land managers in Illinois face a range of urgent challenges, among them catastrophic storms, droughts, flooding, insect and disease outbreaks, invasive species, and increasing use from the public. DNR Conservation Police Captain John Williamson indicates he worked closely with this program when he was a young officer in southern Illinois and says the goal is to meet these challenges with proactive measures across all lands.
In a statement last week, Illinois DNR points out healthy forests provide clean air and water, diverse plant and animal habitat, and support strong and resilient communities.
Additionally, through working together, developing joint priorities, and using collective authorities, the state and the Forest Service can be sure that the scale of the work will match the scale of the challenge.