Integrated Resource Restoration Results

Evaluating the Integrated Resource Restoration Line Item

At the request of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, Colorado State University, is conducting a third-party review of the Integrated Resource Restoration (IRR) budgetary approach, which has been implemented on a pilot basis for three years in USFS Regions 1, 3, and 4 since fiscal year 2012.

Objectives are three-fold: 1) To understand strategic planning approaches and whether improvements in efficiency, prioritization, flexibility, and achievement of restoration outcomes are occurring under the IRR pilot; 2) To assess internal perceptions of the pilot, current challenges, and opportunities for improvement; and 3) To determine the extent to which current performance measures and targets facilitate accomplishment and communication of outcomes under the pilot. This evaluation will take place over two years, in three phases, and began in August 2013.

FY 2013 Report

The 2013 report assesses the Agency’s success in implementing Integrated Resource Restoration (IRR) in its second year by examining whether the three pilot regions achieved their target outputs, enhanced outcomes, and gained flexibility and efficiencies. It also discusses the advantages and challenges of IRR and how it has affected internal and external collaboration.

FY 2012 Implementation and Accountability

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 Joint Statement requested that a plan and guidance be developed for the Integrated Resource Restoration (IRR) pilot that ensures program transparency, monitoring, fair allocation of funding, a consistent approach across the three regions within the IRR pilot, and that restoration be the primary goal of any projects funded through the pilot. The Agency's FY 2012 Program Direction set expectations for implementation; requiring each region to provide three to five case studies to discern application of authority across regions; that projects within the case studies are restoration centric; and an explanation of funding allocations. To give a more holistic view of regional perspectives and to monitor annual progress, in addition to the case studies, the regions were required to complete an "Integrated Resource Restoration FY 2012 Report" to provide more specific information on FY 2012 implementation.

The three Regions in the IRR pilot have submitted their FY 2012 reports to the Washington Office. Annual accomplishment reporting includes:

  • Target accomplishment in the five outcome based performance measures;
  • A narrative on the decision-making process used to formulate priorities for FY 2012's program of work, whether regions increased internal and external collaboration, and day lighting/understanding any potential pitfalls or adverse impacts of implementing the pilot;
  • Three to five case studies from each region, showcasing accomplishments and successes implementing the IRR authority and illustrating how the pilot authority addressed operational efficiencies and met desired outcomes; and
  • Spatial data.

Each region's individual submissions have been synthesized into a national report. Individual regional reports and case studies are included as appendices to the national summary.

Findings from the 2012 Regional Reports

  • All three regions reported that IRR provided increased flexibility: funding multiple priorities, integrating planning efforts, and leveraging IRR funds to support CFLR projects.
  • IRR fostered increased coordination across program areas and encouraged integrated planning.
  • Implementing high-priority projects was easier without the constraints of managing multiple BLIs.
  • Focused investments in landscape-level projects allowed restoration actions to be funded in a single year that would otherwise be piecemealed together over many years.
  • The focused, integrated effort made setting goals and priorities easier.
  • The timing of IRR availability in FY 2012 (partway through the FY) focused on projects and priorities "off the shelf" projects without additional collaboration.
  • There is a perception that some programs will be underserved, while focusing on larger landscape goals.
  • Restoration priorities and timber volume targets may not align.