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Idaho auctions federal timber in deal with Forest Service

Idaho officials have held their first auction for timber on federal land as part of an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service intended to increase logging and reduce the severity of wildfires.

Officials say the $1.4 million auction earlier this week for 4.5 million board feet on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is part of a plan that also includes non-revenue producing projects such as stream improvements for fish.

Congress made the Good Neighbor Authority program available to states in 2014. Idaho Forester David Groeschl says the state is the first intending to use federal timber sales to pay for ongoing costs of the program.

Idaho’s efforts are being eyed by other Western states with national forest lands needing restoration work that the cash-strapped federal agency hasn’t been able to complete.

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