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Partnership Seeking Input for Projects to Strengthen National Defense and Preserve Working Lands

Release No. 0261.16 Contact: Office of Communications (202) 720-4623 press@oc.usda.gov

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Partnership Seeking Input for Projects to Strengthen National Defense and Preserve Working Lands

Proposals will enhance military readiness and strengthen rural economies

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12, 2016 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) joined the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to announce the Sentinel Landscapes Federal Coordinating Committee will now accept applications for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Sentinel Landscape designation process. Established in 2013, the Sentinel Landscape Partnership is a nationwide Federal, local and private collaboration dedicated to promoting natural resource sustainability and the preservation of agricultural and conservation land uses in areas surrounding military installations.

"Together with our partners, USDA investments in the Sentinel Landscape Partnership are already having an impact, demonstrating that restoration of wildlife habitat and improving water quality can go hand in hand with productive working forests and ranches," said Robert Bonnie, USDA Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment. "We've seen great progress so far, and USDA looks forward to participating in additional landscapes."

USDA, DOI, and DoD also released an accomplishment report for the six existing Sentinel Landscapes projects: Fort Huachuca in Arizona; Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, Camp Ripley in Minnesota; Avon Park in Florida; Eastern North Carolina in North Carolina; and Middle Chesapeake in Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The report shows that Sentinel Landscapes projects are already promoting the recovery of threatened and endangered species, and conserving vital habitats.

The Joint Base Lewis-McChord Sentinel Landscape partners are engaging in multiple efforts to reverse the trend of habitat and species loss, land use conversion, and training restrictions, with more than 1,000 acres of ranch lands protected through USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) easement programs and an additional 14,000 acres enrolled by landowners in restoration and conservation technical assistance programs. NRCS and the U.S. Forest Service have invested more than $11 million in the Fort Huachuca partnership, which tackles critical regional issues of water quantity and quality, long-term agricultural viability, native habitat restoration, and military mission protection.

Entities that are eligible to submit an application include Federal agencies; state and local governments; American Indian tribes; for-profit and not-for-profit organizations or associations with conservation, agricultural, or silvicultural missions; municipal water treatment entities; and water irrigation districts.

Applications must be submitted electronically using the application portal located at: http://sentinellandscapes.org/applicationThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.. Applications must be received by 8:00 pm EDT on Thursday, March 30, 2016 to be considered for a Sentinel Landscape designation in FY 2017. Applicants will be notified of their final application status in July or August 2017.

For more information on the Sentinel Landscapes Partnership, including project-specific information, please visit www.sentinellandscapes.orgThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.. This is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website.

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Distribution channels: Agriculture, Farming & Forestry