Working Together for Healthy Forests: The California Shared Stewardship Program
Protecting our forests, one partnership at a time.
IECF serves as one of four Shared Stewardship (S2) Advisors in the California Shared Stewardship program, a collaborative effort funded by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) through an award from California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and implemented by organizations like ours. In partnership with the USFS, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) manages the S2 Advisors.
This program aims to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risks across different land ownership boundaries, including the Los Padres National Forest; Angeles National Forest; San Bernardino National Forest; and Cleveland National Forest.
The Shared Stewardship program recognizes that no single entity can address forest challenges alone. It brings together the USFS, state agencies, local communities, and organizations like IECF to:
- Make joint decisions: We work together to identify priority areas for treatment and restoration, ensuring everyone has a voice.
- Focus on the right areas: Using science and mapping tools, we prioritize projects that have the most significant impact across different land boundaries.
- Measure progress effectively: We track outcomes beyond just project completion, focusing on building more resilient forests that can withstand wildfires.
- Simplify processes: We work together to streamline environmental compliance and planning, making it easier to get projects done.
SHARED STEWARDSHIP UPDATES
Michelle Decker, IECF President and CEO, and David Hernandez, IECF Regional Forest and Fire Coordinator and Shared Stewardship Advisor, participated as panelists at the Summit. IECF attendance was in collaboration with US Forest Service as the S2 Advisor for the SoCal Zone, working on the Southern California Ignition Reduction Partners Project (SCIRP) in reducing roadside ignitions by removing invasive plant fuels near routes of travel.
As a Shared Stewardship partner, IECF plays a crucial role in:
- Identifying cross-boundary projects: We work with local communities and USFS officials to understand needs and develop a 3-to-5-year plan for priority projects in our region.
- Spreading the word: We connect local groups with funding opportunities and showcase successful projects, encouraging broader participation.
- Sharing best practices: We regularly collaborate with other partners to share successes, challenges, and recommendations for program improvement.
Together, we can make a difference.
The Shared Stewardship program is creating real change by building stronger partnerships and implementing effective projects. By working together, we can build healthier forests, reduce wildfire risks, and create a safer future for our communities.
Here’s how you can help.
Protecting communities from devastating wildfires is paramount, especially in high-risk areas like Riverside County. In this critical juncture for our planet, the IE must invest in organizations and strategies that bolster climate and disaster resilience. Your donation to an Inland Empire Disaster Relief Fund will strengthen our communities during times of crisis and foster resilience for the years ahead.
Regional Forest and Fire Coordinator | Shared Stewardship Advisor
In addition to serving as Shared Stewardship Advisor, David Hernandez is the Regional Forest and Fire Coordinator for IECF. Hernandez will coordinate a two-year block grant of $1.6 million through the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity (RFFC) Program. The funds will help Riverside and parts of San Bernardino increase forest and fire resilience in the face of a changing climate.