Governor Jan Brewer today announced that Arizona's Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) has been designated a pilot project by the Council on Environmental Quality. The pilot project is aimed
at identifying best practices for forest restoration management across the country.
"Restoration of Arizona's forests is critical not only to our state's rural economy, but to the health and safety of many of our communities," said Governor Brewer. "Last summer's destructive wildfire season provided a harsh reminder to Arizona that many of our national forests are in very poor health. With another fire season already having started in southern Arizona, effective restoration management is imperative."
4FRI was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the State of Arizona, U.S. Forest Service, the
Council on Environmental Quality and other groups, as well as the input of Arizona citizens. The initiative is designed to help restore healthier, more natural forest conditions on 2.4 million acres of land in Arizona --including portions of the Coconino, Kaibab, Apache-Sitgreaves and Tonto National Forests. The co-chairmen of the Arizona Governor's Forest Health Council applauded the CEQ pilot project designation.
"Many dedicated individuals have had their shoulder to the wheel for a long time on this project that's so important to our State," said Scott Hunt, State Forester and co-chairman of the Forest Health Council. "It is nice to see this pioneering work, which aims to reduce land management conflicts and environmental inefficiencies, recognized at a national level."
"It is absolutely critical that projects such as 4FRI are guided by the strongest commitment to
collaboration, and the best use of science", said Ethan Aumack, Director of Restoration Programs for the Grand Canyon Trust and co-chairman of the Forest Health Council. "This pilot project designation will allow 4FRI participants to share their lessons learned and benefit from others as they strive to create new and innovative ways of planning and implementing landscape-scale restoration.