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Funding to Restore Forests on Degraded Mined Land Areas

Reforested lands; photo Green Forests Work.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the USDA Forest Service – State and Private Forestry (USFS) provided $678,000 in grants as part of the Appalachian Forest Renewal Initiative (AFRI) to support forest restoration on old, degraded mined lands at sites in Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. State foresters from those states, or their designated partners, received grants through AFRI, a new partnership between NFWF and the USDA Forest Service. These six grants provide a 1:1 match in additional funds and in-kind support resulting in $1.35 million investment in forest restoration on priority sites for enhancement and protection of biodiversity. In 2015, two-three additional projects are now being developed with state partners.

The Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture is a key partner in the initiative, with staff helping to design program guidelines and grant recipients encouraged to use Best Management Practice documents for Cerulean and Golden-winged Warblers to guide restoration efforts. Other key partners include the state foresters of the affected states, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and the American Chestnut Foundation. The initiative is engaging with a variety of volunteer groups and non-traditional stakeholders during project implementation. 

Established in August 2012, the goal of the Appalachian Forest Renewal Initiative is to restore forest habitat on smallS to medium-sized project areas for key species, such as Cerulean and Golden-winged Warblers, Eastern Brook Trout, and freshwater mussels across the coal-mining region of Appalachia. AMJV's Cerulean Warbler Appalachian Forestland Enhancement project (above) builds upon and significantly expands the habitat restoration efforts of AFRI on state and private lands.