DNR Signs Groundbreaking Memorandum Of Understanding Dedicated To Healthy, Keeping Productive Forests

Annapolis, Md. (January 24, 2011) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has signed a groundbreaking Memorandum of Understanding with six other federal and state agencies dedicated to keeping healthy and productive forests throughout the State.

“By improving how our partnerships function, and improving how we plan the delivery of our respective programs, we anticipate the forest landowner will get better service and working landscapes will benefit,” said Steve Koehn, State Forester for DNR. “Better forest management results in more benefits for all Marylanders: healthy forests boost local economies, clean our air, filter our water, regulate temperatures, provide habitat for wildlife and provide pleasant green-scapes for our everyday activities.”

The other partnering agencies include: the Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards; the Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts; the Maryland Department of Agriculture; the University of Maryland Extension; and the United States Departments of Agriculture - Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Under this agreement, the agencies will work together to be more effective in providing forest owners and managers with technical and financial assistance to improve the health, diversity and production of forests on privately owned lands — 76 percent of all forests in Maryland.

“The Maryland NRCS looks forward to working closely with the Maryland Forest Service and the rest of the cooperating agencies to advance healthy working forests that improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay while helping to build rural wealth,” said Jon Hall, State Conservationist for the local NRCS office.

The memorandum identifies four areas to focus immediate attention, including addressing the shortage of technical experts available to meet the demands from the 187,000 private forest owners in Maryland; integrating programming between the agencies to make it easy for forest owners to participate in technical and financial assistance programs; demonstrating that funding on-the-ground forestry and agroforestry projects is a good investment in our future economy and environment; and cross-training the staffs of the respective organizations.

Each of the signatories brings unique and complementary roles to the partnership:

  • DNR’s Forest Service has the primary leadership role for all forestry programs in the State.
  • The Maryland Association of Forest Conservancy District Boards assists the Forest Service with the promotion of rural forest management and helps assure a supply of wood fiber products through scientific forest management.
  • Soil Conservation Districts carry out natural resource management at the local level and are recognized as the delivery system for soil conservation and water quality programs, often acting as a liaison between private landowners and government assistance programs.
  • The Maryland Department of Agriculture provides leadership and support regarding agriculture to the citizens of Maryland by conducting regulatory, technical and financial assistance programs, and educational activities that assure consumer confidence, protect the environment, improve conservation and natural resource management and promote agriculture.
  • The University of Maryland Extension provides primary leadership in forestry related educational programs, outreach, and applied research and demonstrations for both private landowners and professional natural resource managers. They also provide research and educational support related to conservation and natural resource management on all working lands including agricultural lands.
  • The US Forest Service, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, works cooperatively with other federal, state, local governments; institutions of higher learning; and profit and non-profit organizations to provide forestry leadership, and financial and technical assistance.
  • NRCS works in partnership with America's private land owners and managers to conserve and sustain soil, water, and other natural resources.

The full text of the memorandum is available at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/forests/pdfs/MOUwithNRCS.pdf.

   January 24, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office | 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly one-half million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.