Governor Steve Bullock announced yesterday new state investments in forestry work to reduce fire danger and restore watersheds. The governor was joined by Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment, US Department of Agriculture, and Regional Forester Leanne Marten to sign Montana’s Good Neighbor Agreement (GNA).

“We’ve made great strides in Montana to invest in forest projects to improve wildlife habitats, reduce the threat of fire danger, and protect jobs in the woods,” said Governor Bullock. “Today’s signing will further improve our ability to work collaboratively making sure projects in Montana provide the most value to support and protect our forests and jobs in the industry.”

Bullock announced a second round of investments in national forest projects on Farm Bill landscapes. When completed, those projects are anticipated to restore approximately 44,000 acres of forest and generate 100 million board feet in timber for Montana’s mills. This includes $177,000 that is allocated to new GNA projects.

Signing the GNA validates the partnership each agency has been honoring for some time and expands upon the Governor’s ongoing efforts under the 2014 Farm Bill to put Montanans to work in the woods, reduce the threat of fire danger, and improve wildlife habitats. The GNA formalizes a process for additional state and federal cooperation and management across land ownerships.

Montana recently completed one of the first GNA projects in the nation utilizing the new authority.

Governor Bullock is preparing to tackle reform of national forest management as chair of the Western Governors’ Association, working with his fellow western Governors to shape consensus on this difficult topic.