County signs Good Neighbor Agreement with USFS

The Board of County Commissioners signed a Master Good Neighbor Agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, creating a unique federal-to-county partnership in the state of Washington.

The agreement provides a framework for which Chelan County can conduct certain projects, such as forest or wildlife restoration, on the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. The new agreement also eliminates the need for interlocal agreements because the Good Neighbor Agreement is in place.

The first project under the new agreement may be the Upper Wenatchee Forest Resilience Bond, a $15 million to $20 million effort to reduce wildfire risk and restore fish and wildlife habitat in the Plain and Lake Wenatchee area, said Mike Kaputa, director of Chelan County Natural Resources.

“The agreement is significant because, while states have been able to sign Good Neighbor Agreements with the federal government since 2014, counties and federally recognized tribes were not able to do so until 2018,” Kaputa said. “Only a handful of counties across the nation have signed the agreements with the federal government, and Chelan County may be the only county in Washington state to sign such an agreement.”

The agreement signed by commissioners lasts for the next 10 years. It stipulates that federal dollars will be used in any work that the county undertakes on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service on its lands. There is no statutory funding match required from Chelan County; however, the contract encourages the county to provide available resources to projects of mutual benefit.

“What this agreement means is we will be able to have a local voice on federal projects on Forest Service lands,” Kaputa said. “The Forest Service has limited resources to complete the restoration projects we would like to see done. At Chelan County Natural Resources, we have the staffing and the experience to complete such projects.”


Last Updated: 05/15/2023 08:47 AM

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    Staff In-Service Training

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    Boundary Review Board Public Hearing - File No. BRB 2023-001

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