A fire whirl seen on the Pine Gulch Fire in Colorado. Photo by Kyle Miller, Bureau of Land Management.

Wildfire Resilience Funding, Native Seed Supply from President Biden’s Investing in America Agenda

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Athens, Georgia — Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget Joan Mooney was in Georgia today to highlight how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is supporting wildland fire management.

During a visit to the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Mooney highlighted the collaborative partnership between the Botanical Garden, the Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Southeastern Grasslands Institute, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is establishing the Georgia Native Seed Network to produce locally adapted seeds and other plant materials across much of the Southeast.

Much of the Southeast lacks an adequate supply of genetically appropriate seeds and plants materials, which can hinder wildfire recovery and habitat restoration efforts. The solutions created through this collaborative partnership will be used to meet future wildfire recovery and other land management needs while minimizing cost, creating jobs, and bolstering the native plant industry in the private sector. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Mooney was briefed on seed collecting and processing and how the Georgia Native Seed Network is growing the plants from seed. These efforts build on the Department’s National Native Seed Strategy Keystone Initiative, focused on securing enough native seeds and plants to restore lands impacted by wildlife and other climate impacts.

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Mooney also highlighted the Department’s recent announcement of $79 million to expand wildfire detection capabilities, reduce risk from wildfires, help rehabilitate burned areas and enhance radios and other technology used by wildfire incident management teams. She discussed with stakeholders how $44 million from that investment will help to develop locally adapted seeds and plant materials to revegetate areas that are so severely impacted by wildfires that the lands are unlikely to recover naturally.

These wildland fire investments build on more than $780 million previously allocated by the Interior Department under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law since it went into effect in fiscal year 2022. Through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Department is investing $1.5 billion over five years to better support its wildland firefighting workforce and increase the resilience of communities and lands facing the threat of wildfires. These critical investments, along with accompanying funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are supporting the nation’s wildland fire workforce, accelerating the pace and scale of fuels management and burned area rehabilitation, and advancing wildland fire science. These investments will promote more accurate wildfire risk assessments and mitigation, faster wildfire identification and strategic responses, and responses that are both safer and more effective.

Visit the Department’s interactive map to track funding invested so far from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law across thousands of projects nationwide.

News item from U.S. Department of the Interior.


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