Stewardship Contracting Overview

Stewardship contracting includes natural resource management practices seeking to promote a closer working relationship with local communities in a broad range of activities that improve land conditions. These projects shift the focus of federal forest and rangeland management towards a desired future resource condition. They are also a means for federal agencies to contribute to the development of sustainable rural communities, restore and maintain healthy forest ecosystems, and provide a continuing source of local income and employment.

Authority

Public Law 108-7 granted the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service ten-year authority to enter into stewardship contracts or agreements to achieve agency land management objectives and meet community needs. This represented an extension of the Forest Service's authority to 2013, expands authority to BLM, continues collaboration with state and local communities and tribes, and removes the requirement for project-level monitoring and "non-commercial" restrictions.

Some of the features of the authorizing legislation includes allowing FS & BLM to apply the value of timber or other forest products removed as an offset against the cost of services received, apply excess receipts from a project to other authorized stewardship projects, select contracts and agreements on a "best value" basis, and award a contract or agreement up to ten years which may stimulate long term investment in the local community. Stewardship contracts may be used for treatments to improve, maintain, or restore forest or rangeland health; restore or maintain water quality; improve fish and wildlife habitat; and reduce hazardous fuels that pose risks to communities and ecosystem values.

Pilot Projects

Section 347 of the FY1999 Omnibus Appropriations Act (P.L. 105-277) authorized the Forest Service to implement up to 28 stewardship contracting pilot projects. The legislation also set forth new administrative processes and procedures that the Agency could test while implementing these pilot projects. The legislative language indicated that the Agency was granted these authorities for two reasons: 1) to help achieve land management goals on the national forests, and 2) to help meet the needs of local and rural communities. The Forest Service also implemented a number of pilot projects that did not utilize the special authorities granted by Section 347.

Legislation authorizing Stewardship End Result Contracting for Pilot Projects:

Tribal Forest Protection Act

The purpose of the Tribal Forest Protection Act (TFPA) is to work in partnership with the tribes to improve forest health on both agency and tribal lands.

TFPA Direction

TFPA Information

Related Links