CWSF Newsletter | January 2024

Organizational Highlights

2023 CWSF/WFLC Fall Meeting Recap

The 2023 Council of Western State Foresters (CWSF)/Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC) Fall Meeting took place November 28-30, 2023, in Waikoloa, Hawai‘i.

Learn more about the Fall Meeting in our recent blog post.

BIL and IRA State Forestry Stories

CWSF recently released a webpage to showcase state forestry stories from western states and Pacific Islands about how Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) programs and funds are being implemented across the western region. Featured stories include American Samoa, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Utah. Additional stories will be added as they become available. 

If you are interested in submitting a BIL or IRA story, please contact Kelsey Delaney and Sara Goodwin.

Policy Update

January 2024

Check out our latest policy update from Neil Simpson, CWSF/WFLC Director of Policy, which details the latest on fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations and previews the uptick in forestry and wildfire issues in Washington, D.C., including flexible funding for Forest Action Plans, hazardous fuels funding, reforestation, and the Good Neighbor Authority (GNA). 

Committee Updates

2023 Pacific Islands Forestry Committee Workshop

The 2023 Pacific Islands Forestry Committee (PIFC) Technical Training Workshop took place in Hilo, Hawai’i on December 4-8, 2023. The workshop theme: Collaboration & Cohesion for Professional Development – was emphasized by the very nature of the dialogue that flowed between breakout sessions and main presentations. 

Learn more in a blog post from PIFC Chair Christine Camacho Fejeran.

GNA Synthesis 

In November 2023, CWSF released a new resource focused on GNA activities and accomplishments across the West. 

This document, developed by CWSF staff and CWSF’s GNA Committee, synthesizes information gathered from 13 western state forestry agencies. The featured data provides a snapshot of GNA accomplishments from the time each state forestry agency began using the Authority to the close of state FY 2023.

GNA Spotlight from Colorado

A GNA project between the Colorado State Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management was developed to improve forest health and resilience to wildfires and drought, and remove insect and disease-infested trees in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado. 

Photo: Sam Scavo, CSFS

2024 Committee Leadership

Each CWSF and WFLC committee has a leadership team, which includes a Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary, Past Chair, and State Forester Advisor. Current Chairs and State Foresters Advisors are listed below. 

To learn more, visit the CWSF committee webpage and WFLC committee webpage.

CWSF Forest Health Committee

Chair: Aly McAlexander (AZ)

State Forester Advisor: Marcus Warnke (SD)

CWSF Western State Fire Managers Committee

Chair: Vaughn Jones (CO)

State Forester Advisor: Jamie Barnes (UT)

CWSF Forest Products Committee

Chair: Archie Gray (ID)

State Forester Advisor: Gerry Gray (UT)

WFLC Pacific Island Forestry Committee

Chair: Christine Fejeran (Guam)

CWSF Forest Stewardship/Landowner Assistance Committee

Chair: Stew McMorrow (CA)

State Forester Advisor: Kelly Norris (WY)

WFLC Western Urban and Community Forestry Committee

Chair: Walter Passmore (CA)

State Forester Advisor: Tom Claeys (ND)

CWSF Good Neighbor Authority Committee

Chair: Trevor McConchie (WA)

State Forester Advisor: Craig Foss (ID)

2024 Committee Meeting Schedule

  • WFLC Western Urban and Community Forestry Committee, February 27-29, Sacramento, CA
  • CWSF Good Neighbor Authority Committee, April 2-4, Tucson, AZ
  • CWSF Forest Products Committee, April 9-11, Coeur d’Alene, ID
  • CWSF Forest Stewardship/Landowner Assistance Committee, June 4-6, Folsom, CA

Stay tuned for more information about WFLC Pacific Islands Forestry Committee, CWSF Forest Health Committee, CWSF Western State Fire Managers Committee and Fire Business Managers Subcommittee meetings.

Meet a Forester

Shawn Thomas

This month, we are pleased to feature Shawn Thomas, Forestry and Trust Lands Division Administrator for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. 

Competitive Grants Updates

Community Wildfire Defense Grant (CWDG) Program

The FY 2023 CWDG program opened for applications on July 31, 2023, and closed on November 4, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. The verification and scoring processes are currently ongoing. Thank you to those who submitted applications and those who helped applicants through the application process. For more information, visit the CWSF CWDG webpage or the USDA Forest Service CWDG webpage

If you have any CWDG questions, please contact Halie Miyazawa.

Landscape Scale Restoration (LSR) Competitive Grant Program

The FY 2024 LSR Competitive Grant Program is now officially closed. Applications were evaluated during the scoring period, which ended on January 23, 2024. Recommendations are currently being reviewed by the WFLC Executive Board. For more information, visit the WFLC LSR webpage.

If you have any LSR questions, please contact Leena Visnak

Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Grant Program

The FY 2024 application process opened on October 12, 2023, and closed on January 18, 2024. Evaluation of applications will begin following the in-person scorer training held in Denver on January 17-18 and will conclude on March 1. For more information, visit the CWSF WUI webpage.

If you have any WUI questions, please contact Leena Visnak

News and Notes from Our Members and Partners

Member and Partner Transitions

  • USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region: Jacque Buchanan accepted the position of Regional Forester for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region effective January 14. She replaces Elizabeth Berger, who has served as Acting Regional Forester.
  • USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region: Kevin Khung accepted the position of Director of State, Private, and Tribal Forestry for the USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region.  
  • USDA Forest Service Washington Office: Jaelith Hall-Rivera accepted the position of Chief of Staff for the Office of the Chief, effective January 22.  
  • USDA Forest Service Washington Office: John Crockett accepted the position of Deputy Chief for State, Private, and Tribal Forestry, effective January 22.  
  • USDA Forest Service Washington Office: Beattra Wilson accepted the position of Acting Associate Deputy Chief for State, Private, and Tribal Forestry, effective January 22. 

Job Opportunities

Looking for a job opportunity in forestry? Find your next position in western forestry on the CWSF job blog.

If you would like to submit a job posting, please contact Patricia Payne

Western Happenings

For a quick look at recent happenings in the western region, check out the features below: 

If you have a press release or announcement you would like to include in an upcoming newsletter, please contact Sara Goodwin

Meetings Calendar

See the calendar of meetings and events hosted by CWSF/WFLC and partner organizations.

Questions, comments, feedback? Please contact us!
Linkedin  Twitter