USFS plans to create 23,500 jobs with stimulus funds

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

US Forest Service Chief Abigail Kimbell recently announced that the agency expects to create 1,500 jobs from the first 10 percent of the $1.15 billion it received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the economic stimulus plan. 

The initial Forest Service projects nationwide, totaling $98 million, have been selected, according to a press release.

Future projects, totaling $1.052 billion, are expected to be announced shortly and are expected to create an additional 23,500 jobs.

The Forest Service says its first round “fuels” projects in California will total approximately $1.5 million, creating jobs estimated to last up to 18 months.

Projects will take place on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Stanislaus National Forest through contracts and agreements and with a grant through State and Private Forestry.

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest says it will receive approximately $1 million of the funds for projects that include fuels reduction work. Plans call for creating and maintaining jobs for the California Conservation Corps and contractors across economically distressed counties in Northern California.

“I am pleased that economic recovery money will help create jobs on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Shasta, Trinity and Siskiyou counties,” said Forest Supervisor Sharon Heywood. “These funds will create local jobs in our communities, while helping to move us closer to the important work of reducing hazardous fuels near communities, Forest Service facilities and access routes.”

Overall, first round total projects on lands managed by the Forest Service in California which were rolled out on March 5 will include maintenance and construction on facilities, roads, trails and now “fuels” totaling $9.25 million, the press release states.

Under the language of the ARRA, the Forest Service says it will create as many jobs as possible to support communities and to get money flowing through the economy again. The Forest Service says it will spend all funds on specific targeted projects that are, or soon will be, ready to go.

“The Forest Service anticipates playing a key role in our nation’s economic recovery,” said Chief Kimbell. “We are grateful for the confidence Congress has shown us and look forward to demonstrating how the Forest Service can create good jobs during difficult times.”

Information on the overall Forest Service role in the ARRA can be found at: http://fs.usda.gov/recovery.   Information on the total federal effort can be found at http://www.recovery.gov.