Integrated Resource Restoration Reporting, Guidance, and Directives

Measuring Integrated Resource Restoration Performance

Restoration of ecological integrity across the National Forest System will be achieved through a variety of on-the-ground projects. Examples include:

  • Thinning forests to reduce catastrophic wildfire risk, the restore older matrix forest types, to restore and enhance wildlife, native plants and biodiversity;
  • Using prescribed fire to achieve similar goals;
  • Replacing undersized culverts to restore aquatic organism passage and reduce stream bank erosion;
  • Decommissioning roads to reduce legacy impacts to hydrology, water quality and aquatic habitat; and
  • Restoring degrading and eroding meadows and wetlands to improve hydrology, reduce flood peaks, and restore aquatic and terrestrial habitat.

Integrated Resource Restoration accomplishments will be reflected in five performance measures:

  • Number of watersheds moved to an improved condition class,
  • Acres treated annually to sustain or restore watershed function and resilience,
  • Volume of timber sold,
  • Miles of roads decommissioned, and
  • Miles of stream habitat restored or enhanced.
Expected national outcomes and outputs associated with the pilot Integrated Resource Restoration program.
Integrated Resource Restoration Performance Measures FY 2012 Northern Region
(Region 1)
Southwest Region
(Region 3)
Intermountain
Region
(Region 4)
Total
Number of watersheds moved to an improved condition class \1 2 0 \2 1 3
Acres treated annually to sustain or restore watershed function and resilience 240,700 283,100 225,000 748,800
Volume of timber sold (mmbf) 282 120 116 518
Miles of roads decommissioned 345 115 190 650
Miles of stream habitat restored or enhanced 300 130 220 650

1/ This performance measure is based on the completion of all watershed improvement projects in a specific watershed action plan, which on average will take 2-4 years.

2/ Due to the 2011 large-scale fires in the Southwest Region in FY 2012 emphasis will be placed on fire rehabilitation and restoration activities, which may not result in moving a watershed into an improved condition class.

Watershed Condition Framework and Priority Watersheds

A critical component of the successful implementation of Integrated Resource Restoration is the Watershed Condition Framework. The framework provides foundation and guidance for consistent identification of factors limiting a watershed’s condition, for determining the overall condition class of a watershed, for identifying the priority watersheds to focus restoration efforts, and the essential suite of projects to improve a watershed’s condition. The three regions have assessed the condition class of all of their 5,926 watersheds containing significant portions of National Forest System lands. Among them, 78 watersheds were selected to be priorities for restoration activities in the next 3 to 5 years.

Summary of the numbers of assessed and selected priority watersheds for restoration activities in the next 3 to 5 years, by Forest Service Region\1 and Condition Class.
Number of Watersheds by Condition Class R1 R3 R4 Pilot Total % of Total
Condition Class 1 (Good) 1,078 559 1,133 2,770 47%
Condition Class 2 (Fair) 826 890 1,153 2,869 48%
Condition Class 3 (Poor) 48 97 142 287 5%
Total 1,952 1,546 2,428 5,926 100%
Number of Priority Watersheds 25 15 38 78 n/a

1/ R1 = Northern Region, R3 = Southwest Region, R4 = Intermountain Region.

Pilot Regions Evaluations and Monitoring

To evaluate the effectiveness of the Forest Service’s Integrated Resource Restoration Pilot Authority, Regions 1, 3, and 4 will submit accomplishment reports. Information will be compiled into a national report illustrating how the Integrated Resource Restoration Pilot Authority addressed operational efficiencies and met desired outcomes. Regions will submit the following:

  • Three to five case studies from each region, showcasing accomplishments and successes implementing the Integrated Resource Restoration authority;
  • Description of outcomes associated with activities to improve watershed condition within the context of the Watershed Condition Framework;
  • Examples of combined focus and funding with Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and other agency strategies;
  • Description of how consolidation of multiple budget line items affected programs/activities/project selection;
  • Advantages and disadvantages of a consolidated budget line item (NFRR);
  • Recommendations on how Integrated Resource Restoration Program can be improved; and
  • Communication tools and/or websites highlighting to the public aspects of Integrated Resource Restoration pilot implementation.

A report of the Integrated Resource Restoration Pilot Authority summarizing the first year’s accomplishments from Regions 1, 3, and 4 will be completed November 30, 2012.

Geo-Spatial Record Keeping and Reporting

In October 2012, a letter was sent out requiring spatial data where the Forest Service Activity Tracking System (FACTS) is the database of record for Integrated Resource Restoration activities. Then, in April, a joint letter was sent out clarifying the geo-spatial record keeping and reporting requirements for Fuels, Forest Management, and Invasive activities. The standards and protocols outlined in the April letter should be applied when reporting geo-spatial activities for NFRR funded accomplishments. This April letter generated some clarifying questions, the answers to which can be found in the below questions and answer document. Reporting requirements in other databases, such as the Watershed Improvement Tracking (WIT), will be clarified after the WIT and Wildlife, Fish and Rare Plants (WFRP) integration is complete.