A Shared Stewardship agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the State of Mississippi was signed today during a virtual ceremony.
USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture James Hubbard and Mississippi State Forester Russell Bozeman signed the memorandum of understanding for the state.
This agreement establishes a framework for federal and state agencies to collaborate better, focus on accomplishing mutual goals, further common interests and effectively respond to the increasing ecological challenges and natural resource concerns in Mississippi.
“Through shared stewardship, the Forest Service and Mississippi have unprecedented opportunities to do the right work in the right places at the right scale,” said Hubbard. “Working together, we can better decide where to make the investments needed to achieve the cross-boundary outcomes desired by all.”
This new agreement centers on USDA’s commitment to work with states and other partners to use the best available science to identify high-priority forests that need treatment and to ensure the long-term sustainability of public and private lands.
"Partnerships remain essential to everything we do and allow for greater success in reaching our conservation goals and in protecting our natural resources," said Kurt Readus, State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – Mississippi. "This Shared Stewardship agreement strengthens our commitment to partner in these mutually beneficial areas."
Mississippi became the 8th state in the South and 24th nationally to sign such an agreement to strengthen partnerships within the state to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that support communities and improve forest conditions.
The agreement will also be signed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Aurelia Skipwith at a later date. The memorandum of understanding can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/shared-stewardship