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BLM Montana/Dakotas Promotes Service First Opportunities
The BLM-Montana/Dakotas has been successful in meeting the Service First goals of improving customer service, increasing operational efficiency, and improving stewardship of the land.
The BLM-Montana/Dakotas participates extensively in Service First through interagency agreements within the three-state area (Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota). We have numerous agreements established under the Service First authority with the Forest Service (FS), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS). Projects range from cone collection, fire/fuels projects, historical preservation projects, youth education projects, Sage Grouse conservation efforts, and many others.
The Lewistown Field Office has had agreements with the Forest Service's Historic Preservation Team (HPT) for over 10 years. Working together, the BLM and FS HPT have restored the Nelson Homestead, Hagadone Homestead, Gilmore Cabin, and the Ervin Cabin. Currently, the Lewistown Field Office personnel are working with the FS HPT to restore the Wartzenluft Barn located on the Musselshell Trail in northeastern Fergus County, Montana. The barn, which is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, has been in need of restoration for over 20 years and this year the funding and expertise became available to complete the work. The Forest Service's Historic Preservation Team will lead the preservation effort. Work on the project is expected to continue through July.
In addition to the projects completed under interagency agreements, the Great Falls and Dickinson field offices share office space with the Forest Service. The interagency offices provide one-stop shopping for customer service. The BLM Great Falls Field Office and the Lewis and Clark National Forest Supervisor's Office also share receptionist and mail services. The Great Falls Field Office building lease is scheduled to expire in September 2013. The agencies are working together to find suitable space and plan to consider further opportunities where resources can be shared and money can be saved.
Best Management Practices and Lessons Learned:
- Maintain regular communication among partners.
- Provide adequate detail in the agreement where the partners understand what the expectations are without making it so tight that there is no flexibility in the agreement.
- Ensure there is funding in the agreement so we don't hamper our efforts to accomplish the work associated with the agreement.
- Engage management from the beginning and garner local management support so we can meet our obligations.
- Highlight the value of the agreement, successes and accomplishments.
- Establish good working relationships among partner administrative staffs responsible for finalizing the interagency agreements.
- Establish a written operating plan to ensure all parties know what their responsibilities are, both in terms of service as well as financially.