Federal agencies reveal additional Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative sites

The Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have recognized three new collaborative landscape partnerships across the country.

WASHINGTON, DC, June 24, 2015 -- Today, the Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Agriculture (USDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) recognized three new collaborative landscape partnerships across the country. The organizations will focus their efforts on partnerships to conserve and restore important lands and waters and make them more resilient to climate change. These include the California's Headwaters and North-Central Coast as well as Russian River Watershed and Crown of the Continent.

Building on existing collaborations, these Resilient Lands and Waters (RLW) partnerships -- located in California and Montana/British Columbia -- will help build the resilience of valuable natural resources and the people, businesses and communities that depend on them in regions vulnerable to climate change and related challenges. They will also showcase the benefits of landscape-scale management approaches and help enhance the carbon storage capacity of these natural areas.

The selected lands and waters face a wide range of climate impacts and other ecological stressors related to climate change, including drought, wildfire, sea level rise, species migration, and invasive species. At each location, federal agencies will work closely with state, tribal and local partners to prepare for and prevent these and other threats and ensure that long-term conservation efforts take climate change into account. These new RLW sites follow President Obama's announcement of the first set of Resilient Landscape partnerships (southwest Florida, Hawaii, Washington, and the Great Lakes region) at the 2015 Earth Day event in the Everglades.

Efforts in all RLW regions are relying on an approach that addresses the needs of the entire landscape. Over the next 18 months, federal, state, local, and tribal partners will work together in these landscapes to develop more explicit strategies and maps in their programs of work. Developing these strategies will benefit wildfire management, mitigation investments, restoration efforts, air and water quality, carbon storage, and the communities that depend upon natural systems for their own resilience. By tracking successes and sharing lessons learned, the initiative will encourage the development of similar resilience efforts in other areas across the country.

For example, in the California Headwaters -- an area that contributes greatly to state's water supply -- the partnership will build upon and unify existing collaborative efforts to identify areas for restoration that will help improve water quality and quantity, promote healthy forests, and reduce wildfire risk. In California's North-Central Coast and Russian River Watershed, partners will explore methods to improve flood risk reduction and water supply reliability, restore habitats, and inform coastal and ocean resource management efforts.

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