Northern Arizona Forest Fund
Without intervention, the health of our forests and watersheds will continue to decline, and high-severity wildfires and increased degradation of our water ways will only get worse. The Northern Arizona Forest Fund (NAFF) was established in partnership between the Salt River Project (SRP) and the NFF to address these declining forest health concerns in the Salt and Verde River watersheds which are the sources of irrigation, commercial, and municipal water supplies for millions of Arizonans in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area.
The NAFF provides an easy way for businesses and residents of Arizona to invest in the lands and watersheds they depend on. These are the special places that are the source of our drinking water, the places we go to in the hot summer months, and the home to many valuable species of fish and wildlife.
We all benefit from the restoration of the watersheds, and we all have a role to play!
With declining forest health and tighter federal budgets, local partnerships and active stewardship are more critical than ever. The NAFF’s projects will reduce wildfire risk, improve streams and wetlands, enhance wildlife habitat, restore native plants, and limit erosion and sediment into Arizona streams, rivers, and reservoirs. The NAFF’s projects will also create jobs and provide volunteer opportunities in local communities through partnerships with local conservation and stewardship groups.
HOW IT WORKS
On an annual basis, funds will be deployed to complete high priority restoration projects on National Forests in the Salt and Verde River watersheds. Types of projects will include:
- Forest Thinning and Prescribed Burning – Restore natural fire to the forest ecosystem, mechanically thin small-diameter trees to reduce fuel loading, minimize bark beetle impact, and improve understory and soil conditions
- Stream and Wetland Restoration – Restore and stabilize stream banks, reconstruct and enhance wetlands, and install fencing to protect sensitive habitats
- Sediment and Erosion Management – Improve runoff and drainage conditions, and reduce sediment loading into springs, streams and wet meadows
- Habitat Improvement and Re-vegetation Projects – Improve and restore aspen forests, grasslands, wet meadows and other important forest and woodland habitats
Contributions to the NAFF are collected by the National Forest Foundation and awarded to local non-profit stewardship organizations, local contractors, and the U.S. Forest Service to implement high priority projects on the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab, Prescott, and Tonto National Forests.
THE 2017 PROJECTS
Now in its third year, the Northern Arizona Forest Fund has a proven record of implementing valuable restoration projects across the Salt and Verde River watersheds, protecting water supplies for millions of Arizonans. NAFF continues to offer Arizona businesses a unique and powerful opportunity to invest in important projects that improve water ways, minimize fire risk, and enhance recreational opportunities.
In 2017, projects will include reducing high-severity fire risk on over 4,000 acres of overgrown, thick forests, reducing erosion and sedimentation from over 37 miles of roads and trails, and protecting over 200 acres of important riparian and headwater habitat. These projects include:
- Aspen Creek Watershed Health and Aspen Restoration Project (Prescott National Forest)
- Chino Valley Grassland Restoration and Erosion Control Project (Prescott National Forest)
- Upper Hell Canyon Forest and Watershed Health Project (Kaibab National Forest)
- Jacks Canyon and Banfield Spring Forest Health Project (Coconino National Forest)
- Oak Creek Schnebly Hill Road Project (Coconino National Forest)
- Black River Headwaters Wetland Protection Project (Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest)
- West Pinto Creek Trail Improvement Project (Tonto National Forest)
Together, these seven projects will improve the health of the Salt and Verde River watershed by reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, decreasing erosion and sedimentation into streams, rivers and important reservoirs, improving wildlife habitat, and enhancing recreation opportunities.
NAFF Project Accomplishments as of 2016
To date, the NFF has successfully implemented eight high-priority NAFF watershed restoration projects since the first year in 2015. NAFF projects have been completed across all five national forests of Northern Arizona, protecting tributaries of the Salt and Verde Rivers. The restoration accomplishments for 2015 and 2016 include:
- More than 6,000 acres of fuels reduction projects within ponderosa pine and pinion-juniper forests on the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests,
- More than 50 miles of erosion control and drainage improvements along roads and trails on the Coconino and Tonto National Forests, and
- More than 2,000 acres of stream and wetland protection on the Apache-Sitgreaves and Prescott National Forests.
Learn more about how you can play a role individually, or how your business can contribute. There is so much to do!
Click here to read "New Models for Funding Public Lands Management: A Case Study of the Northern Arizona Forest Fund" by Rebecca Davidson, Spencer Plumb and Marcus Selig.
Rebecca Davidson | 720.749.9008
The images below illustrate how low intensity burns remove small trees, recycle nutrients by breaking down dead trees, and open forest canopies ultimately creating healthier more diverse forests.