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Coconino County’s Forest Restoration Initiative has been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo).
The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents. NACo recognized Coconino County’s Forest Restoration Initiative Program in the category of County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy & Sustainability.
“Coconino County’s Forest Restoration Initiative was developed to benefit our communities by proactively mitigating natural resources from catastrophic wildfires and post-wildfire flooding. This is a groundbreaking program that serves as an example of an active approach to prevent wildfires, reduce impact on lives, property, infrastructure and the economy, while simultaneously addressing our greatest public safety threat,” commented Coconino County Chairman Matt Ryan.
Coconino County’s Forest Restoration Initiative identifies areas of concern and ways to positively impact the most critical acres through forest restoration treatment, with a 10-year Forest Restoration Master Plan in development. The initiative works with federal and local government, as well as business entities and nonprofits, to effectively protect forests, people, property, and watersheds by thinning overly dense forests that pose a high-risk for wildfires.
“This initiative is based on a foundation of teamwork, and we all feel a great sense of pride knowing that we are reducing the threat of catastrophic wildfires in Coconino County. I see our impact when I walk a treated area of our forest. It’s an honor that others also see our impact and that we are being recognized with this award,” said Jay Smith, Forest Restoration Director.
“Over the past year, county officials and frontline employees have demonstrated bold, inspirational leadership. This year’s Achievement Award winning programs illustrate the innovative ways counties build healthy, safe, and vibrant communities across America,” said NACo President Gary Moore.
Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice and public safety, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more. Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.