New Collaborative Positions to Support Utah Forest Landowners
A spirit of collaboration is at work in Utah to break down barriers and aid private forest landowners across the state. Beginning in March 2023, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Utah Division of Forest, Fire, and State Lands (FFSL) came together and created two new positions. NRCS-FFSL Forestry Coordinators will assist with combining efforts and resources to engage landowners, provide technical forestry assistance, and encourage forest health and fuels reduction treatments to address the wildfire crisis as part of a Shared Stewardship among Utah organizations.
These positions are the result of long-standing discussion and perseverance by NRCS and FFSL leadership in the State to help build their mutual capacity to deliver more technical and financial assistance to private forest landowners. Gerry Gray, Forestry Program Administrator at the Utah Division of FFSL, worked closely with Matt Phillipi, NRCS Utah State Biologist and Forestry Lead, to develop these innovative shared positions that help both agencies meet their mutual goals and objectives in forestry. The NRCS has significant funding available for private forest landowners and the Division has the forestry capacity and expertise to help bring those resources to high priority forestry projects on private land. So, these shared positions were created to help engage Utah forest landowners and promote more forestry treatments on high priority landscapes, especially projects that might be adjacent to projects on National Forests and other federal lands.
The positions are titled NRCS-FFSL Forestry Coordinators. "Our job is to work between agencies, unlock NRCS funding and private landowner relationships, tap into forestry technical expertise, combine knowledge and understand how we can help each other optimize our impact towards landscape-level goals," Doug Campbell said during a recent interview.
During this time of catastrophic wildfires across the West, collaboration is critical to make changes on a landscape level scale.
Meet the New NRCS-FFSL Forestry Coordinators
Doug Campbell, based in Ogden, UT, covers the northern part of Utah. He grew up in New York and did his undergrad in Maine, receiving a bachelor's in forest management. His work in forestry has taken him across the country from the loblolly pine plantations in North Carolina to the dense Douglas fir forests in Oregon.
His message to partners: “Any projects you have going on, let us come out and look at them with you. Any meetings you have, any webinars, trainings, throw it all at us.”
Campbell emphasized the need for collaboration with the public and said, “We need to use a science based approach that shows [that forest management] is sustainable.”
Phone: (385) 443-3652
Nick Dastrup, based in Richfield, UT, covers the southern part of the state. He grew up in Glenwood, Utah and studied at USU, receiving a bachelor's in fisheries and aquatic science and a master's in ecological restoration.
Dastrup said, “I enjoy working on projects that are larger scale, where we work across boundaries and there’s multiple agencies where something big can happen, where everyone puts all their funding and their people and their organizations into a single project to make something bigger happen than has historically happened.”
His message to Utahns: “We are here to assist the public in private forestry work. If there’s anyone who is interested, just reach out to me or Doug and we can set them up with either the right people or help them figure out what work needs to be done.”
Phone: (385) 479-2480
Special thanks to Darren McAvoy, Gerry Gray, and Sarah Welliver for their help with reviewing and editing this story.