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Nicolet Secure Rural Schools Resource Advisory Committee

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  1. NicoletSecure Rural SchoolsResource Advisory Committee Orientation and Organization Meeting August 10, 2010

  2. 25% Fund Act of May 23, 1908 Share National Forest receipts from: • Timber • Grazing • Land use • Recreation special uses & user fees • Minerals including oil, gas, coal Declined in recent decades; fluctuate widely

  3. Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination ActOctober 2000Reauthorized 2008

  4. Purpose of the Act • Stabilize and transition payments to states for schools and roads • Invest in the land and create employment opportunities • Improve cooperative relationships among the people that use and care for National Forests

  5. 2008 Reauthorization • Title I Secure payments for states and counties containing Federal land to help fund schools and roads • Title II Special projects on Federal land • Title III County funds for specific purposes • Title IV – Miscellaneous provisions including new calculation for 25% payment


  6. Title I – Secure Payments State Payment Formula • Eligible county’s “adjusted share” is determined by complex formula involving: • Acres of national forest land in county • Average high 3 years 25% payment between 1986 and 1999 • Per capita personal income for county

  7. Allocations & Annual Payments • By September 30 counties receiving a State Payment larger than $100,000 must allocate 15% - 20% to title II and/or III, or return the funds to U.S. Treasury • Payments are made by January for the Fiscal Year ending previous September 30 • Title I and Title III funds are paid to states to be distributed to counties • Title II funds are held in Forest Service accounts for approved RAC projects

  8. Fiscal Year 2008 Payment January 2009 Payments to States: • $477 million (Title I and Title III) • 41 states and Puerto Rico • Redistributed to 729 counties Additional $52 million for Title II Projects: • 306 counties in 31 states • 108 National Forests • 120 Resource Advisory Committees

  9. Fiscal Year 2009 Payment January 2010 Payments to States: • $438.5 million (Title I and Title III) Additional $45 million for Title II Projects

  10. Title II – Special Projects • On National Forests or directly benefit National Forest lands • Have broad-based support • Help foster collaborative relationships • Reviewed and recommended by Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) • Approved by Forest Service

  11. Use of Title II Funds • Title II funds unobligated in one Fiscal Year shall be available in the following year. • Authority to initiate Title II projects ends September 30, 2011 • Title II funds not obligated by September 30, 2012, shall be returned to U.S. Treasury

  12. Title II Funding Availability

  13. Title III – County Funds ReauthorizedAct changes Title III • Narrows the activities eligible for funding • Adds a certification requirement • Requires county to return funds unobligated by September 30, 2012 to U. S. Treasury Funds may be used only for 3 purposes • Firewise Communities program • Reimbursement for emergency services on national forests paid for by the county • Develop community wildfire protection plans (CWPPs)

  14. Title IV – Calculating 25% Payment • The Act permanently amends the 1908 law to calculate 25% payments based on a 7 year rolling average of receipts • The 7 year rolling average in effect for FY2008 payments to counties electing the 25% payment • The 7 year rolling average will continue after the Secure Rural Schools Act expires

  15. Title II Resource Advisory Committee

  16. RAC Operations Act, Section 205: • Establish and maintain committees • Purpose of committee • Duties of committee • Composition of membership • Balanced representation • Quorum – 9 of 15 (majority)

  17. Title II – RAC Formation • RACs are organized and formed to advise the National Forest(s) • Fall under Federal Advisor Committees Act • Projects recommended by the RAC must be approved by the Forest Service Acting for the Secretary

  18. Title II – RAC Purposes Improve collaboration among all those who enjoy and care for the national forests Provide advice to Forest Service about projects to invest in the land and create employment opportunities

  19. Title II – RAC Duties • Review projects • Recommend projects and funding • Coordinate with the Designated Federal Official (DFO) • Encourage public participation • Monitor projects • Recommend changes based on monitoring

  20. RAC Membership • 15 members appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture • Includes local representation • Residents of state(s) in which RAC has jurisdiction • Balanced and broad representation within three categories specified in the Act. • One replacement member will be appointed for each of the 3 categories

  21. RAC Membership: 15 members, 5 From Each Of 3 Categories Category A • Organized labor • Developed outdoor recreation, OHV users, or commercial recreation activities • Energy and mineral development interests • Commercial timber industry • Grazing or other land use permitees

  22. Category B National environmental organizations Regional or local environmental organizations Dispersed recreation activities Archeological or historical interests National or regional wild horse and burro interests Category C State elected officials or their designee County or local elected officials Indian tribes School officials or teachers The public at large RAC Membership: 15 members, 5 From Each Of 3 Categories

  23. Quorum: 9 of 15 members’ participation is required for meetings

  24. RAC Operations

  25. Legal Framework for RAC Operations Secure Rural Schools Act—P. L. 110-343 • Secure Rural Schools Act resource advisory committee charters – Region 9 Federal Advisory Committee Act • GSA committee management regulations • USDA committee management regulations All laws and regulations applicable to activities on National Forests.

  26. Federal Advisory Committee Act • 1972 FACA Legislation • 2001 Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) Final Rule (GSA Regulations: gsa.gov) • Open Meetings • Balanced Representation • Transparent, accessible proceedings and records

  27. Secure Rural Schools Act RAC Region 9 charter The charter… • Lists RAC names • Directs RACs to report to the Secretary through the Designated Federal Officer • Provides DFO authority for replacement members • Does not give DFO authority to approve projects—that authority is reserved to line officers consistent with FS direction.

  28. RAC By-Laws Each RAC may develop and maintain its own by-laws or operating guidelines consistent with the Act and Charter. The DFO should concur with the by-laws; no further review or approval is needed by FS or USDA.

  29. Key Players • Members • Replacement members • RAC Chair • Designated Federal Official (DFO) • FS Approving Officer (Line Officer) • County Officials • Community/Partners • Forest Service Support

  30. RAC Members • Participate (may be removed for non-participation) • Represent the interest for which appointed • Review & recommend projects • Monitor projects • Provide advice

  31. Replacement Members Encouraged to: • Attend meetings • Participate in discussion • Review projects • Informally provide advice Do not vote

  32. RAC Chair Position—Elected • Open, conduct & close meetings • Review agendas • Open & close public forum • Coordinate with DFO and RAC coordinator • Sign Title II forms for recommended projects!

  33. Designated Federal Officer/Official (DFO) • Know the Act – provide guidance • Identify staff support for the Title II program • Work closely with RAC chair • Interact with county officials, ranger districts and stakeholders • Liaison with FS approving officer & staff

  34. Line Officer The line officer, usually the Forest Supervisor, (acting for the Secretary) has sole discretion to approve Title II projects • Disapprovals are not subject to appeal or judicial review • RAC must be notified of disapproval within 30 days, with explanation

  35. County Officials • Annual allocations among titles (required every September) • Notify RAC of Title III projects (required) • Interact with Forest Service on projects • Representation on RAC

  36. Community – Partners - FS • Submit project proposals • Work with appropriate line officer • Follow federal regulations during implementation, if project is approved • Report accomplishments

  37. Forest Service Support • RAC coordinator • Fiscal management • Project tracking • Public involvement • Accomplishment reporting • Monitoring

  38. Title II Authorized Projects

  39. Title II – Special Projects • On National Forests or directly benefit National Forest lands • Have broad based support • Help foster collaborative relationships • Reviewed and recommended by Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) • Approved by Forest Service

  40. Title II – Special Projects • Road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration; • Soil productivity improvement; • Improvements in forest ecosystem health; • Watershed restoration and maintenance; • The restoration, maintenance, and improvement of wildlife and fish habitat; • The control of noxious and exotic weeds; and • The re-establishment of native species

  41. Title II – Special Projects At least 50% of title II funds are for • road maintenance, decommissioning or obliteration; And / or • restoration of streams and watersheds

  42. ? Who can propose Projects ? Projects may be proposed by: • Resource Advisory Committee members • Tribes, counties, state & federal agencies • Fire Safe Councils, Firewise communities • Fish, wildlife & watershed interest groups • Other partners and stakeholders • Forest Service

  43. Title II – Special Projects Implemented thru grants or cooperative agreements with… • Tribes • Federal agencies, state and local governments • Private and nonprofit organizations • landowners Or be implemented by • Contract or by Forest Service personnel

  44. Approval Process • Proposal Submission Form • Discussion by RAC • Recommendation by RAC (Consensus Vote or Agreement) • Approval by Forest Line Officer

  45. Agreement by a majority (3 of 5) in each of the 3 categories is required for project recommendation.

  46. Options and Approaches for Reaching Agreement • Yes vote by at least 3 out of 5 members per category (“replacements” do not vote) • Consensus by Category • Discussion may include replacement members • Partial funding • Additional discussion & negotiation • Ranking systems

  47. Approved Projects RAC recommends, FS line officer approves if… • Complies with all federal laws & regulations • Consistent with Forest Plan • Recommended by RAC • Properly described per Section 203 • Accomplish purposes of the Act

  48. Applicable Laws and Regulations Land management laws and regulations, such as… • National Forest Management Act • National Environmental Policy Act • Endangered Species Act • Administrative laws and regulations, e.g., • Contracting and acquisition management • Grants and agreements

  49. Secure Rural Schools Act Secure Rural Schools Website: www.fs.fed.us/srs Resource Advisory Committee Website: https://wwwnotes.fs.fed.us/wo/secure_rural_schools.nsf

  50. ? Questions ?