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USDA, Gordon sign shared stewardship agreement

CHEYENNE (WNE) – Gov. Mark Gordon signed onto a Shared Stewardship agreement Tuesday with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service to help promote forest management, ecological protection and more.

Gordon signed onto the agreement via a virtual Zoom event with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue; U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Jim Hubbard, USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment; and Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser.

Wyoming marks the 20th state to sign onto the Shared Stewardship agreement with the USDA. The agreement aims to improve grasslands and forests across Wyoming.

“Through Shared Stewardship, the state and the USDA Forest Service will work collaboratively to determine priorities, implement projects, share resources and work toward identification of at-risk communities, watersheds and priority areas across all lands, with specific attention to appropriateness of scale,” the agreement states.

This initiative aims to help entities – including local, state and federal government – better the cross-boundary management of land. The majority of western states have signed onto this agreement, including Wyoming’s bordering states of Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah.

Gordon said the Forest Service has played an important role in Wyoming’s history, from the first national forest being established in Wyoming to the first ranger station.

“The Shared Stewardship agreement is essential for our state,” Enzi said. “We have a mixture of federal, state and private landowners, and sometimes that creates conflicts that keep things from happening.”