Gov. Spencer Cox and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack signing a renewed Shared Stewardship agreement, Thursday, May 5, 2022.
SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Spencer Cox and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack signed a renewed Shared Stewardship agreement Thursday, reaffirming a mutual commitment to build relationships and coalitions needed to confront the wildfire crisis throughout the state of Utah.
Cox said wildfire danger remains extremely high this year and by working with federal government partners, we can substantially reduce the risks to lives and property as well as keep our forests healthy. He was grateful for the continued collaboration and was confident the effort is having an impact on preventing catastrophic wildfires.
Secretary Vilsack was visiting the state after speaking in the commencement ceremony at Utah State University earlier in the day. He said the new agreement strengthens the existing robust relationship between the state of Utah and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Under the initial Shared Stewardship agreement, a tremendous amount of work has already been accomplished,” stated Vilsack. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to protect at-risk communities and watersheds imperative to the people of Utah.”
Since signing the original Shared Stewardship agreement in 2019, the state, Forest Service, and Natural Resources Conservation Service have substantially increased fuel reduction and forest health treatments in places where wildfire presents an immediate risk to communities and critical water resources.
Over four years, partners successfully treated more than 54,000 acres, funding 31 projects with more than $20 million in state, federal and partner funds.
The agreement provides a framework for cross boundary, landscape-scale management of forest throughout the state to protect communities and watersheds from the threat, and negative consequences, of large catastrophic wildfires.