Governor and Agriculture Secretary sign renewed commitment to Utah forests
Following Cox’s declaration of a drought state of emergency, the protection of Utah’s natural resources including forests, lakes, and rivers is fresh in the minds of Utahns concerned about the health and sustainability of life in Utah.
In his remarks before the signing, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack noted the Shared Stewardship agreement’s unprecedented level of interagency cooperation within the state of Utah.
“You all have led the way in outlining the importance of partnerships at every level, state, federal, local, nonprofit, cities, counties, all working together in common cause,” said Vilsack.
The common cause of protecting our forests and the communities around them lies at the core of sustaining American life.
“It's really important for us in America, to invest in rural places, and rural people. It is the place that provides the food that we consume. It is the place that impacts and affects the water that we drink,” said Vilsack.
The agreement, which began under the Trump administration and has been continued under the Biden administration, is just the beginning of positive partnerships among local, state, and federal agencies, according to Governor Cox.
“Over the past three years, I want to be very specific, this shared stewardship agreement, the state and USDA together have invested $22 million in improving the health of our forests in Utah, and we really are just getting started,” he said.
Vilsack said the Shared Stewardship agreement is also a tool for the prevention of wildfires.
“This is an opportunity for us to minimize to the extent possible, the risk that is real, of wildfire, and to be able to respond collaboratively to try to minimize this risk,” he said.
With wildfire season rapidly approaching, Utah officials can use all the help they can get to guard against the worst.