State Watershed Forestry Assistance Program Guideline

DRAFT

 

     Please send your comments to ksolari@fs.fed.us by July 26.

 

 

I.  Purpose, Scope and Background.

 

A.     Purpose.  The purpose of the Watershed Forestry Assistance Program (WFAP) is to use forests and forestry practices to produce measurable improvements in water quality, watershed health, and watershed management through partnerships and collaborative approaches in priority watersheds.

 

B.Scope. The scope of this program includes:

  • Federal and State programs that promote forestry practices for protecting, managing and restoring water quality and watershed functions.
  • Priority urban and rural watersheds, including watersheds that connect multiple jurisdictions, where applying forestry practices can improve the benefits from trees and forests for watershed residents and society as a whole.
  • Watershed partnerships, both new and existing, that help multiply and leverage financial, volunteer, and professional resources.

 

C.     Background. Studies have shown that forested watersheds produce high quality water and that forestry practices can help prevent and resolve a variety of environmental problems including those associated with agricultural and developed land uses.  Programs that establish and maintain forests and tree cover have been found effective in mitigating stormwater run-off, reducing pollutants, limiting peak flow increases, and sustaining aquatic ecosystems.  Forests are increasingly recognized for their critical role in meeting national clean water goals, especially in terms of drinking water supplies.  The Watershed Forestry Assistance Program represents a unique integration of practical, long-term approaches and scientific concepts for protecting and improving the nation’s water resources.  The program:

  • Implements forestry practices at a watershed scale achieving water resource improvements and protection.
  • Addresses water resource needs across a gradient of urban to rural lands.
  • Places emphasis on partnerships among organizations and on collaborations across ownership and jurisdictional boundaries to greatly multiply program benefits.
  • Effectively uses the state-federal partnership for delivery of forestry programs to integrate forests and forestry practices into a more comprehensive statewide watershed protection and restoration strategy.
  • Capitalizes on the networks and relationships established by State Foresters to engage communities, local governments, watershed organizations, landowners, and nonprofit groups to implement watershed forestry practices.
  • Assists States in meeting the non-point source pollution standards established under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act of 1972.
  • Encourages use of riparian forest buffers and other agroforestry practices that reduce pesticides, fertilizers, sediments, and agricultural or urban runoff from entering water supplies.
  • Incorporates “green infrastructure” concepts into urban activities to help maintain functional watersheds and reduce the contamination of surface water as part of a local comprehensive stormwater management strategy.  
  • Promotes technology transfer and training on watershed assessment and management techniques.
  • Provides voluntary and incentive-based forest management assistance for communities, local governments, watershed organizations, landowners, and nonprofit groups to address water quality impairments.

 

II.  Definitions.

 

A.     Best Management Practice (BMP).   Specific practices identified by a State as a means of preventing or reducing water pollution from nonpoint sources.  An example of a BMP is the installation of a forestry streamside management zone to filter out sediments, nutrients, and other pollutants before they enter surface waters.

 

B.Chief. The Chief of the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.  

 

C.     Cost-share.  Those funds available under WFAP for watershed forestry projects on non-federal land in priority watersheds.  WFAP cost-share funds may not exceed 75 percent of the cost of the project. Other Federal funding sources may contribute an additional 15 percent of the cost of the project.  Non-federal share of the costs of the project may be provided in the form of cash, services, or other in-kind contributions.

 

D.     Education.  A series of activities, events, and printed or electronic materials that: 1) expand the general understanding of the connection between forest management and watershed health.  2) actively involve learners in assessing their own individual needs in order to adopt new or improved practices that protect, restore and manage watershed functions; 3) deliver knowledge to learners in formats that enable them to use it; and 4) enable learners to develop and demonstrate the necessary skills to implement forestry practices that benefit water resources and watershed health while achieving individual goals. 

 

E.   Geographic Regions.  The collection of States that makeup the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) Regions. The three regions are: North (consisting of the States within the Forest Service Northeastern Area), South (consisting of all the States within the Forest Service Southern Region, and the Territories of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF)), and the West (consisting of all the States within the Forest Service Northern, Rocky Mountain, Intermountain, Southwestern, Pacific Southwest, Pacific Northwest and Alaska Regions). See Appendix XX for a map of the Forest Service’s Regions/Area/IITF.  

 

F.   Hydrologic Unit Code.  A national standard system of watersheds that are classified into four types of units: regions, sub-regions, accounting units, and cataloging units. The hydrologic units are arranged within each other, from the smallest (cataloging units) to the largest (regions). Each hydrologic unit is identified by a unique hydrologic unit code (HUC) consisting of two to eight digits based on the four levels of classification in the hydrologic unit system.  A standardized fifth-level of classification or ten-digit hydrologic unit (watershed) is being developed.  Locally, a non-standard sixth-level sub-watershed may be available.

 

G.     In-kind contributions.  Non-cash contributions, including third-party contributions, necessary to accomplish program activities.  Expenses must be allowable as if the Federal Government were required to pay for them. See Appendix XX for applicable OMB Circulars.

 

H.     Nonindustrial private forest land.  Land that has existing tree cover or that is suitable for growing trees; and is owned by any nonindustrial private individual, group, association, corporation, or other private legal entity, that has definitive decision making authority over the land.  

 

I.    Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution.  NPS pollution comes from many diffuse sources and is caused by irrigation, rainfall, or snowmelt runoff that picks up pollutants and deposits them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and aquifers. Examples of these pollutants include:

  • Fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides from agricultural lands and urban areas;
  • Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff and energy production;
  • Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop and forest lands, and eroding streambanks;
  • Salt from irrigation practices and acid drainage from abandoned mines;
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes, and faulty septic systems; and
  • Atmospheric deposition and hydromodification.

 

J.    Participating State. A participating State shall have the capability to participate in WFAP as defined in the State grant narrative, such as:

·        Supporting a State Watershed Forester position;

·        Providing a State implementation strategy for

o       A program of technical assistance to protect water quality and

o       A State Watershed forestry cost-share program;

·        Designating State priority watershed(s), and

·        Achieving measurable results with targeted funds.

 

K.    Priority Watershed.   A watershed selected by the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee or equivalent body for the purpose of targeting funds and resources to protect or accelerate improvements in water quality and watershed condition.

 

L.   Program.  A State-wide activity including development of State-wide educational opportunities and best-management practices.

 

M.   Project.  A watershed-scale undertaking which may consist of many components including planning, education, implementation of best management practices, and other watershed protection, management, or restoration actions.

 

N.    Responsible official. USDA Forest Service Regional Forester, Area Director, or Institute Director charged with the administration of WFAP.     

 

O.    State.  Each of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and the territories and possessions of the United States.

 

P.   State Forester. The director or other head of a State forestry agency or equivalent State official.     

 

Q.    State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committees (SFSCC).  SFSCCs are defined, and their duties are described, in Section 19(b) of the CFAA (16 U.S.C. 2113).  They are chaired and administered by the State Foresters, or equivalent State officials, with membership composed of representatives from the following agencies, organizations, or individuals: Forest Service; Natural Resources Conservation Service; Farm Services Agency; Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service; local government; consulting foresters; environmental organizations; forest products industry; forest land owners; land trusts; conservation organizations; the State fish and wildlife agency; and others determined appropriate by the Secretary of Agriculture. 

 

R.Urban.   That part of a watershed that contains a city or town in which people live.  These human settlements have geographic names and boundaries, a form of local governance, and a legal status recognized by the state or jurisdiction in which they are located.   

 

S.   Watershed.   The total area above a given point of a water body that contributes flow to that point.

 

T.   Watershed Forester.  A position under the direction of a State Forester with technical watershed skills and the primary responsibility for the coordination and oversight of the Statewide watershed forestry program.

 

U.      Watershed Forestry. The use of forests and the practice of forestry to protect, restore, and sustain water quality, water flows, and the health and function of watersheds.

 

III. National Program Administration.

 

A.     The Chief of the Forest Service and (where appropriate as described in Section III.G) the Administrator of the Cooperative State, Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) may provide technical, financial, and related assistance to State Foresters or Cooperative Extension officials at land grant colleges and universities and 1890 institutions, to expand State capacities for addressing watershed issues on non-federal forested and potentially forested land.

B.     The Chief shall provide national and regional technical and financial assistance and administrative [F1] oversight of WFAP.   This includes monitoring results of WFAP over the life of the program to ensure that State forestry programs and watershed forestry projects are contributing to measurable improvements in water quality in priority watersheds; addressing watershed issues on non-federal forested land and potentially forested land; and enhancing public understanding of the connection between forests and watershed health.

C.     The Chief shall annually distribute such funds as may be available for WFAP as follows:

1.                        The funds shall be distributed in two categories:

·  Technical and educational assistance and

·  Watershed Forestry Projects.  

2.      The national allocation shall be divided between these two fund categories with no more than 25 percent supporting technical and educational assistance and at least 75 percent supporting cost-shared Watershed Forestry Project Grants.

 

D.     The Chief shall send the regional allocation to the Responsible Official(s) in each of the three geographic regions for distribution to the State Foresters.  In the Western Geographic Region, the Chief shall send allocations to the Responsible Official in each of the seven Forest Service regions.  The allocation will be determined as specified in Section X.

E.      The Chief has authority to resolve all issues that may arise in the administration of WFAP.

F.      The Chief shall submit an annual report to the Secretary of Agriculture that includes a summary of all activities and practices funded under WFAP for the previous fiscal year and a cumulative summary of significant accomplishments nationwide.

G.     The Administrator, Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), in consultation with the Chief, may provide support for WFAP development and implementation, including:

  1. Providing an annual summary of CSREES activities to the Chief for the annual report to the Secretary described in Section III.F.
  2. Providing information and updates on the program to extension forest and water resources educators throughout the Cooperative Extension System.
  3. Providing research, education and extension information and updates to USDA Forest Service officials and State Foresters.
  4. On request, consulting with program partners regarding educational program design and program evaluation.
  5. Synthesizing current research findings in Current Research Information System (CRIS) that will support the goals of WFAP.
  6. Coordinating activities and conducting cooperative projects with the Forest Service and State Foresters in order to advance the goals of the WFAP.

IV. Regional Program Administration.

A.     The Responsible Official shall provide oversight for all aspects of WFAP including State program reviews.

B.     The Responsible Official shall submit an annual report to the Chief summarizing all programs and projects funded through WFAP for the previous fiscal year.

C.     The Responsible Official shall disburse funds to the State Foresters in a timely manner based on the allocations provided by the Chief.  The Responsible Official(s) shall coordinate with State Foresters to determine the final allocation to each State and will document any adjustments to the individual State allocations.

D.     The Responsible Official(s) shall facilitate watershed projects that cross State or Forest Service regional boundaries.

E.      The Responsible Official should assist the State in identification of strategic issues and opportunities that may help the State in determining their priority watersheds or targeting program activities.

F.      The Responsible Official shall ensure that the States’ proposed program actions produce measurable results in watershed health and management.  

G.     The Responsible Official shall ensure that State grant narratives include:

1.      Actions consistent with the implementation strategy for WFAP;

2.      Activities and responsibilities of the State Watershed Forester position;

3.      Selection criteria for State priority watershed(s);

4.      Targeting of actions within State priority watershed(s); and

5.      Plans to achieve and report measurable results.  

 

V.  State Program Administration.

 

A.     State Foresters, participating in the WFAP, shall provide the following information in the annual State grant narrative:

·        Provisions for duties and actions of a State Watershed Forester position;

·        Identified State priority watershed(s) and rationale/criteria for selection; and

·        WFAP implementation strategy including:

o       A program of technical assistance to protect water quality and a watershed forestry project cost-share program; and

o       Plans for achieving measurable results with targeted project funds in priority watershed(s).

 

B.     The State Forester, in consultation with the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee or equivalent body, should identify priority watersheds within each State based on the criteria contained in Section VI.  Watershed forestry projects must be conducted in priority watersheds.

 

C.     No cost-share of funds is required from the State for the participation in technical and educational portion of WFAP (see Section VII). Watershed forestry projects (see Section VIII) require at least a 25 percent State match with WFAP funds. The States may use other federal funds to cover this match except that the total Federal share may not exceed 90 percent.

 

D.     Each State participating in WFAP shall submit an annual report to the Responsible Official, reporting all projects and programs funded through WFAP for the previous fiscal year.  The report should contain data on accomplishments by educational assistance, technical assistance, and watershed forestry projects.  See Section IX.

 

E.      A State does not have to adopt a separate WFAP cost-share or grant program if a State cost-share or grant program already exists that meets the objectives of WFAP.  However, WFAP funds must be accounted for in accordance with Federal financial accounting standards.  If an existing cost-share or grant program is used, a copy of the guidelines for that program must be referenced and attached to the State grant narrative. 

 

F.      State Foresters shall establish schedules that take into account reporting deadlines for application and award of funding for watershed forestry projects in priority watersheds.  State Foresters may award funds for watershed forestry projects to communities, local governments, nonprofit groups, and nonindustrial private forest landowners.

 

VI.   Priority Watershed Criteria.

 

A.     Selection Criteria.  The State Forester, in consultation with the State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committee or equivalent body (SFSCC), should select one or more priority watersheds in that State to target watershed forestry projects for funding.  The number and size of priority watersheds selected should be limited to those that can be effectively addressed with the funds available.  The SFSCC should also identify the rationale for selection of the priority watershed, the specific needs for watershed restoration or conservation in the selected watershed(s), the desired outcomes from using WFAP funds, and means of coordinating with other States where priority watersheds cross State boundaries.  In selecting priority watersheds, States should consider one or more of the following categories of water resource issues where forests and forestry practices can protect or restore watersheds:

 

1. Drinking Water Supplies.  Forested lands typically produce high-quality water. Types of watershed forestry projects to address drinking water supply issues include protecting and maintaining forest cover, ensuring effective BMP implementation, and restoring forests and watersheds which contain a source of municipal or community drinking water supplies. Data on source water protection areas is available from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and from individual State source water protection programs.

 

2. Water Quality Impairments from Nonpoint Source Pollution. Forestry practices can help reduce pollutants such as fertilizers, sediment, pesticides, and animal waste from entering water bodies and can shade waterways lowering stream temperature.  Forestry practices are well-suited to address water quality impairments due to sediment, temperature, and excess nutrients (e.g., nitrogen and phosphorus).  Types of watershed forestry projects to address these types of impairments include agroforestry practices like riparian forest buffers, afforestation of sensitive areas like seeps, steep slopes, and highly erodible soils, forest harvesting best management practices, appropriately placed forested wetland restoration, and appropriate management of riparian forests.  Data on the type and location of water quality impairments is available from EPA or State water agencies. 

 

3. Urban Runoff.  Strategically planted trees in urban areas can protect water quality and reduce the impacts of runoff from impervious surfaces.  Types of urban watershed forestry projects include projects 1) that incorporate trees in plans to treat stormwater runoff; 2) that promote “green infrastructure” concepts which help reduce runoff and maintain functional watersheds; and 3) that enhance tree canopy in urbanized areas to reduce the contamination of surface water from polluted runoff. Data on land use change, trends in conversion away from forest land use, and rising percent impervious surface is available from States or the Natural Resource Conservation Service National Resource Inventory.

 

4. Wetland and Riparian Forests.  Wetland and riparian forests are critical habitat for wildlife and aquatic organisms and serve as filters for adjacent and upstream pollution sources.  Wetland and riparian forests help maintain fully functioning watersheds and streams.  Identification of the extent of loss and the ability to achieve restoration benefits are useful in determining project locations. Types of watershed forestry projects include those to protect, manage, and restore riparian and wetland areas.   Data on existing wetlands are found in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) National Wetland Inventory.  Hydric soils, a typical factor in identifying wetland restoration potential, are identified in county soil surveys.  Riparian buffers are identified from U.S. Geological Survey stream files.

 

5. Watershed Risk Related to Forest Health.  Declines in forest health usually result in negative watershed impacts, including increased nutrient production after defoliation or tree death, changes in nutrient generation following invasion of exotic species, increased sediment production following wildfire, and loss of riparian trees that provide large wood, leaf litter, bank stability, and other services for stream habitat, integrity, and function. Types of watershed forestry projects to address these risks include specific management actions that create resilient and diverse forests needed for watershed protection and treatment of specific invasive species that pose a risk to watershed health. Data on percent forest cover trends, communities at risk for wildfire, forest health trends for insects/disease/atmospheric deposition, and spread of invasive species that threaten watershed health is available from the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis.

 

6.  Other Issues or Stresses Addressed through Forestry.  States may identify other factors for identifying a priority watershed not specified in the list above.  The State Forester should identify and justify the other factors in the State grant narrative. Types of watershed forestry projects that address additional issue or stressors include special BMPs, restoration practices, removing exotic invasive woody species that negatively affect stream health, and habitat improvement actions aimed at aquatic species and aquatic health.  Data on imperiled, threatened and endangered aquatic and amphibian species, aquatic resources, erodible soils are available from the FWS and NRCS.

 

B.     Other considerations.  When selecting a priority watershed, States may consider additional items that are essential to successful implementation, such as:

  • Community capacity or potential for involvement;
  • Opportunities for interstate watershed approaches;
  • Ability to leverage funding or establish innovative or demonstration projects;
  • Ongoing watershed partnerships;
  • Existing watershed planning projects that include elements that watershed forestry can implement or complement; and
  • Opportunities to coordinate with other targeted watershed efforts.

 

C.     Reporting.  State Foresters shall provide annual reports on priority watershed identification as outlined in Section IX.B.  If a priority watershed meets more than one of the water resource issues identified in Section VI.A, the primary category should be identified.  If States have not identified one or more priority watersheds for targeted watershed forestry project funding, an explanation should be supplied in the grant narrative.[F2] 

 

VII. State Grants for Technical and Educational Assistance.

 

Subsections A. through B. of this section are to be funded from the national allocation for technical, educational, and other related assistance.  A maximum of 25 percent of the national allocation shall be for this type of assistance.

 

A.     Technical Assistance Program.

 

Technical assistance to promote the watershed forestry assistance program may include, but is not limited to, providing the following:

  • Assistance in building partnerships, promoting collaboration, and developing strategies for watershed restoration and protection through forestry,
  • Information on BMP use or other methods of promoting water quality through forestry to local governments, nonindustrial private forest landowners, communities, or other stakeholders,
  • Technical guidance to land managers, local officials policymakers community groups and watershed organizations on using forest management, restoration, and conservation for water quality protection,
  • Identification and implementation of forestry projects or planning that complement State and local efforts to protect water quality,
  • Opportunities to enhance cooperation of federal and State agencies charged with responsibility for water and watershed management,
  • Guidance on the use of trees and forestry practices in urban and rural non-point source pollution control and reduction, and
  • Forest resource data to support watershed forestry in local/regional/state planning.
  • Monitoring and evaluating project performance and predicting benefits.

 

B.  Educational Assistance.

 

  1. The overall purpose of the educational program is to accelerate the adoption of forestry practices on non-federal forestlands to solve water quality and other water resource issues at the watershed scale. 

2.      WFAP education programs may be integrated with existing education programs provided by other agencies and organizations or new initiatives. 

3.      The audiences for WFAP education programs will include individuals and natural resource professionals with responsibilities related to watershed and forest resource management on nonfederal land, such as: nonindustrial private forest landowners, nonprofit organizations, watershed councils, and communities (including local governments and homeowner associations).

4.      WFAP education programs should use and leverage existing resources of agencies and organizations that have demonstrated expertise in educational program design and delivery.  These agencies and organizations could include the following:

a.       The Cooperative Extension System as a key partner, with representatives who serve on State Forest Stewardship Coordinating Committees or equivalent bodies and provide expertise used in WFAP education programs. 

b.      Other State and local organizations, agencies and educational institutions with expertise in design, delivery and evaluation of educational programs. 

5.      To ensure adequacy and relevancy of proposed programs, development of WFAP education programs should include a wide range of partners and stakeholders.

 

VIII.        Financial Cost-Share Assistance for Watershed Forester, BMP Programs and Watershed Forestry Projects.

 

At least seventy-five percent of the national allocation shall be made available to participating States for State watershed forester positions, watershed forestry projects and best-management practices programs.  State cost-share is required as defined in Section II.

 

A.     Watershed Forester.  State Foresters may use WFAP funds for a State watershed forester who can also engage in and administer State best management practices program.  This position may be a regional position with responsibility in more than one State, or a shared position with another agency/organization such as Extension or water quality or resource conservation agency.  States should identify their strategy to implement the new and additional hours funded to effectively carry out the watershed forestry program and projects, with staffing details and deliverable results, explained in the State grant narrative.

 

BMP/watershed forester position responsibilities may include but are not limited to:

  • Plan and coordinate a Statewide watershed forestry program,
  • Implement watershed forestry projects and/or cost-share in priority watershed(s),
  • Track program and project accomplishments and produce progress reports,
  • Foster partnerships among agencies, local governments, organizations, and communities to plan and implement watershed forestry activities,
  • Coordinate education, training, and technology transfer on watershed forestry,
  • Gather information and identify and evaluate priority watershed forestry issues,
  • Serve as program contact for watershed forestry issues with State Forest Stewardship Committee or equivalent body, and
  • Develop or enhance a Forestry BMP program and conduct training, monitoring, and reporting.

 

B.State Forestry Best-Management Practices Programs.  State Foresters may use WFAP funds for development or enhancement of State-wide Forestry BMP programs.  State Foresters shall report annually as outlined in Section IX.C on the accomplishments of this program.

 

C.     Watershed Forestry Projects in Priority Watersheds.  State Foresters may use WFAP funds for watershed forestry projects in priority watersheds.

 

1.      Eligibility.  All communities, local governments, watershed organizations, nonprofit groups, and nonindustrial private forest landowners located within a State-designated priority watershed are eligible to apply for and receive assistance under WFAP without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, disability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, or marital or family status. In cases where a public-private partnership will conduct a project, State agencies may receive funds to fulfill their portion of project work.

 

2.      Watershed Forestry Project Elements And Objectives.  Watershed forestry projects should accomplish watershed protection, management and restoration needs and demonstrate the value of forests to watershed health and condition through:

·        The use of trees as solutions to water quality and quantity problems in urban and rural areas.

·        Community-based planning, involvement and action through State, local and nonprofit partnerships that incorporate watershed forestry practices.

·        Application and dissemination of science, technology, and monitoring information on forestry best management practices relating to watershed forestry.

·        Watershed-scale forest management activities and conservation planning.

·        The restoration of wetland (as defined by the States) and riparian forests.

·        The establishment and maintenance of riparian vegetative buffers.

·        Reduction of flooding and stormwater runoff, as well as management of water flows.

·        The mitigation of existing, chronic sources of water quality degradation in the non-federal forest environment.

 

3.      Financial Assistance for Watershed Forestry Projects in Priority Watersheds.   The State Forester shall make awards to communities, nonprofit groups, local governments, and nonindustrial private forest landowners for watershed forestry projects in priority watersheds that address the program elements and objectives. The State Forester will require watershed forestry projects grantees to:

·                    Coordinate efforts among multiple partners, landowners and/or projects to leverage funds and accomplish the project goals. 

·        Provide a timeframe for the project completion and information on outyear funding requirements and plans.

·        Document measurable results in priority watershed health and management.

·        Provide procedures to protect the public investment on non-Federal lands.

·                    Assure that the required non-federal cost-share is achieved.

·                    Submit watershed forestry project reports that provide the information required in Section IX.D. 

 

IX.  Reporting and Monitoring. 

 

State Foresters shall annually report program accomplishments in four categories – State-wide Watershed Forestry Program Capacity (Section IX.A), Forestry Best Management Practices Programs (Section IX.B), Watershed Forester Position (Section IX.C), and Watershed Forestry Projects (Section IX.D).  Annual reports shall be submitted to the Responsible Official.  Approximately every three years, State Foresters and USDA Forest Service will jointly assess the status of State watershed forestry assistance programs.

 

A.  State-wide Watershed Forestry Program Capacity.  State Foresters shall assess the program indicators outlined below and provide an overall rating – red, yellow, green – based on evidence of performance and professional judgment.  A brief narrative explaining the rating shall be provided.   

  1. Watershed Forester:  Coordinates watershed level projects and leads Statewide best management practice (BMP) program.

a.       Green -- Dedicated Position

b.      Yellow -- Partial Position

c.       Red -- No Position

 

  1. Best Management Practices (BMPs): 

a.       Green – Comprehensive published Best Management Practices that cover all applicable silviculture operations and have been approval by the State water quality agency.

b.                        Yellow – Partial set of BMPs only and/or no approval or acknowledgement of the BMPs by the State water quality agency.

c.       Red – No BMPs.

 

  1. BMP Monitoring:

a.       Green -- Routine, State-wide BMP implementation monitoring (compliance) and some level of BMP effectiveness monitoring. conducted on a regular established interval (annual, 2 yr, etc.).

b.      Yellow -- Limited or intermittent implementation monitoring and/or no effectiveness monitoring

c.       Red -- No regular BMP monitoring of any type

 

  1. Watershed-based Partnerships: 

a.       Green – Formal, documented involvement in multiple watershed partnerships (e.g. active involvement, a recognized entity, etc.).

b.      Yellow – Involved in limited partnerships but only informally and not officially recognized.

c.       Red – No involvement in watershed partnerships.

 

  1. Education and Training: 

a.       Green – Documented, formal training (e.g. workshops, classes, field exercises, etc.) in watershed forest management and/or BMPs for diverse stakeholders (e.g. loggers, landowners, community groups, etc.).

b.      Yellow – Informal training and/or reaching limited stakeholders (e.g. just reaching landowners).

c.       Red – No education or training activities.

 

  1. Watershed Forestry Technical Assistance:

a.       Green – Providing comprehensive field guidance to diverse stakeholders on watershed forestry management and BMPs (e.g. assisting a landowner in developing a watershed forestry plan or assisting a logger in BMP implementation).

b.      Yellow – Limited field guidance and/or reaching limited stakeholders.

c.       Red – No technical assistance provided.

 

B.     Forestry Best-Management Practices Programs.  If WFAP funds are used for forestry BMP programs, State Foresters shall provide a narrative describing overall strategy for development and enhancement of State-wide BMP programs and will report annually on the following accomplishments:

a.  BMP implementation monitoring.

·        Number of forestry sites evaluated for BMP implementation.

·        Number of treated acres evaluated.

·        Rate of statewide BMP implementation.

b.  BMP training and education.

·        Number of BMP workshops sponsored or participated in

·        Total number of individuals trained (workshops and individually)

·        Number of landowners trained.

·        Number of loggers trained.

·        Number of forestry professionals trained.

c.  BMP Technical Assistance.

·        Number of landowners contacted and/or visited.

·        Number of acres affected by recommended practices.

·        Volume (mgd) of water from forestland receiving BMP assistance.

 

C.            Watershed Forester Position.  If WFAP funds are used for a watershed forester position, State Foresters shall provide a narrative describing overall strategy to effectively carry out the watershed forestry program and projects with staffing details and deliverable results.

 

D.     Projects in Priority Watersheds.

 

  1. State Foresters shall report the following information on an annual basis for each watershed forestry project in a priority watershed.       

 

a.       A brief overview of the watershed forestry project including project description and goals plus photographs and watershed map showing location of activities.

 

b.      Project budget and partnerships. 

·        Number of partners (government agencies, community groups, watershed associations, conservation organizations, private landowners, etc.) and leveraged funding or in-kind services provided by each.

 

c.       Watershed Activities. 

·        Number of acres restored (e.g. acres restored to forest cover following catastrophic fires, acres of altered wetlands restored, urban storm water management, etc).

·        Number of acres protected (e.g., watershed plan or local restrictions, etc.).

·        Number of acres managed (e.g. BMP implementation, ground-water recharge areas, municipal water supply basins).

·        Number of stream miles restored (BMPs, riparian buffers established).

·        Number of stream miles protected (BMPs, riparian buffers identified).

·        Number of watershed plans completed (and associated acreage).

·         

d.      Watershed Outcomes.  A brief narrative linking watershed activities to watershed forestry project goals and overall impact of project on water quality and watershed health.  Discussion of measured changes in watershed condition or water quality.

 

e.       Priority Watershed Identification.  State Foresters shall provide the following information for State-identified priority watersheds:

·        Name of watershed (identifier) or place (map) and USGS HUC code.

·        Size of watershed (acres).

·        The category of water resource issues addressed (Section VI).

·        The nature of watershed problems and the opportunities fo enhancement through watershed forestry.

·        Percent of watershed in forest cover or potential for tree cover  (approximate acreage).

·        Percent of acreage in need of restoration and/or protection (if known).

·        Primary and secondary public benefits of watershed forestry activities, such as:

o       Provide source water protection.

o       Improve water quality.

o       Protect water quality.

o       Improve water flows

o       Reduce costs of water treatment.

o       Reduce conversion from forest type.

o       Maintain economic viability of forestry.

o       Manage for and protect aquatic species.

o       Manage for and protect threatened, endangered, and rare species.

o       Restore and protect forested wetlands.

o       Protect recreational uses of streams (fishable, swimmable).

o       Reduce non-point source pollution.

o       Protects for destructive wildfires.

           

X.  Process for Allocating Funds to Forest Service Regions/Area.

 

A.   State Grants for Technical Assistance, Education, and Planning.  A maximum of twenty-five percent of the allocated funds shall be used by Forest Service (FS) Responsible Officials to provide direct non-matching grants to Participating States to support watershed forestry technical assistance, education, and planning efforts.  Technical Assistance, Education and Planning funds are also used by the FS Washington Office and FS Regions/Area/IITF to fund program management functions. Total funding available for this use is apportioned to the Northeast, South, and Western Geographic Regions commensurate with the number of participating states and territories contained in that distribution area. States may also utilize a portion of these funds to support related activities performed by the Watershed Forester positions.

 

B.  Cost-share Assistance for Watershed Forestry Projects, Watershed Foresters, and BMP Programs.  A minimum of seventy-five percent of allocated funds shall be used by  Forest Service (FS) Responsible Officials and Participating States to implement watershed forestry projects in priority watersheds, support a Watershed Forester position, and to develop, implement and monitor statewise BMPs.   The Forest Service Washington Office distributes funds to the Northeastern Area, Southern Region/IITF, and seven western regions based on criteria that serve as indicators of watershed condition, potential for participation by non-federal landowners and communities, and those deriving benefit from the watershed forestry program. Criteria are determined on a state-by-state basis from currently available national data and a weight assigned based on both the relative importance of the criteria and the quality of the available data.   This weight corresponds to a percentage of the national allocation.  Criteria for determining the distribution of watershed forestry project funds are:

 

1.      Watershed Condition and Need.

 

Criterion A:  Miles of EPA 303d Impaired Waters.  The number of miles of streams and shorelines in each State impaired by sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, and temperature and the acres of impaired lake, estuary, and wetland as defined by EPA 303d listing.  This criterion is used to represent the potential magnitude of watershed restoration and protection needs currently existing.  Data source:  EPA 303d listing of impaired waters. (Data source being evaluated.)

 

Alternate Criterion A (Proxy): Miles of Forest Stream and Shoreline Mileage.  In the event that the 303d stream mileage proves to be unusable or inequitable, a measure of total stream mileage modified by percent non-federal forest land in a state will be used as a proxy.  This measure would be used to address the potential extent of the problem or challenge faced for stream improvement and protection with deference to private forest lands.  The states stream and shoreline mileage would be multiplied by the percent non-federal forest land to establish a state total.  These would be added to form a national total.  Example:  Kentucky has 1000 miles of streams, at 80 percent private forests = 800 miles.  If the national total is 100,000 miles, Kentucky rates at 8 percent of total.

 

Criterion B:  Conversion of forests to other land uses.  The total net acres of land in each State converted to non-forest uses over the last five years.  This criterion is used as an indicator of watershed threat and impact.  Land use conversion, especially to urban uses is a major factor in water quality and aquatic system decline.  Data Source:  NRI 

 

2.      Potential to Provide Public Benefits from Non-federal Forest Lands.

 

Criterion C:  Area in Non-Federal Forest Ownership.  The total acres of non-federal forest lands within the State.  Privately owned and community forest lands have the potential to provide watershed benefits to communities by protecting soils, maintaining stream flow, and supporting aquatic ecosystems.  These forests are also the target of this program.   Data source: Forest Inventory and Analysis and NRI

 

Criterion D:   Number of Non-Industrial Private Forest Landowners.  The total number of private forest landowners in the State.  Those managing private forest lands play a critical role in the ability to implement projects that will protect and restore watersheds and manage forests to prevent or enhance water quality.  Data source: Forest Inventory and Analysis and NRI.

 

3.      Demand for Watershed Assistance Program Benefits.

 

Criterion E:  Number of Private/Non-profit Watershed and Conservation Organizations.  The total number of 501(c)(3) watershed or conservation groups identified by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as primarily established for environmental protection, restoration, and natural resource management related purposes.   These non-profit and private partners will be important partners in implementing local watershed-based efforts in the state.   Data Source: IRS

 

Criterion F:   Importance of Non-Federal Forests to Public Drinking Water Supplies.  Total population depending upon surface water from public water supplies as a water source.  The states total population served by municipal supplies using surface water supplies multiplied by the percent non-federal forest land establishes a state total which represents importance of forest lands to sustaining public water supplies.  Data Source: EPA Community Source Water Protection Survey data, USGS Water Use Report.

 

Alternate Criterion F (proxy): Forest Dependent Population.  If national level data for drinking water supplies cannot be obtained, the total population of each state multiplied by the percent non-federal forest land will be used as a proxy.   Data Source:  2000 Census and NRI/FIA data

 

4.      Future Criterion (Year 2 and beyond):  State Forestry Agency Watershed Program Performance.  In future years, as the program is implemented, the “Red/Yellow/Green” assessment of State program capacity may be used as an additional criterion to allocate funding based on State performance and potential for implementation of a comprehensive program (See Section IX.A). The measure will be the total number of states in each Geographic Region (Northeast, South and West) operating at the “green” level.

 

Several other criteria were considered but not included in the allocation criteria at this time due to redundancy or the availability of a suitable database for use.  Data for criterion such as these could be developed in the future.  They were:  the number of high priority acres of agricultural or open lands suitable for afforestation, the actual acreage of afforestation, acreage of highly erodible soils, and the miles or acres of riparian and wetland areas in need of reforestation.

 

*Note:  The following criterion and weightings are provided as a starting place for discussion and analysis.  Final decisions on the criteria and their relative weighting will depend upon the final acquisition and testing of the various databases and an evaluation of the distribution of funds that results from the use of the available data.  It is unknown at this time whether the criteria and weighting as described below will provide a distribution of funding appropriate to meet the needs of the program.

 

 

Theme

 

Criteria

 

Unit of Measure

*Weight (% of $)

Data Sources

Watershed Condition  and Need

(1) Impaired streams where forestry practices can be used to restore or protect water resources.

 

The number of miles of streams and shorelines in each State impaired by sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, and temperature and the acres of impaired lake, estuary, and wetland. 

15

EPA 303d list, NWI  and national hydro-graphy

 

(2) Conversion of forests to other land uses

 

The total net acres of forest land in each State converted to non-forest uses over the last five years.

20

 

NRI, FIA

Potential Benefits from Watershed Forests

(3) Area in Non-federal Forest land

 

Total acres of non-federal forest lands by state

20

FIA, NRI,

 

(4) Private Forest Landowners. 

The total number of non-industrial private forest landowners in the State. 

20

FIA

Opportunity/ Demand for Watershed Forestry Assistance

(5) Watershed and Conservation Groups and Organizations

The total number of non-profit watershed and conservation groups operating in the State.

10

IRS, River Network

 

 

(6) Importance of forests to public drinking water supply

 

Total population in state depending upon surface water from non-industrial  forested watersheds as a municipal water source.

15

EPA Source Water Protection, FIA/NRI

Watershed Forestry Program Performance

(Future)

(7) Capacity to implement a comprehensive Watershed Program

Total number of States with “green” rating of program capacity.

--

WFA Program Reporting

 

C.     Calculation of Allocations to Geographic Areas. To determine the distribution of funds available for Watershed Forestry Projects, the FS Washington Office will divide the national allocation among the criterion according to their weight (percent).   A National total for each Criterion will then be established by the FS Washington Office.  Distribution by Geographic Regions (Northeast, South and West) will be based on the portions of the national total related to the states in that area.   For example: if State A generates 10 percent of the national total for Criterion #1 and $1,000,000 is allocated to this criterion, the Geographic Region containing State A would receive a distribution of $100,000 for that criterion as part of its distribution.

 

D.     Regional Competitive Pool Option.  In the event that national funding for the Watershed Forestry Assistance Program falls short of authorization, distribution of available funds to all states may make it difficult to implement successful watershed forestry projects.   In addition, administrative demands on limited funds may make grant programs inefficient and/or ineffective.   In this case, the Responsible Official, in consultation with State Foresters, in each of three Geographic Regions may elect to distribute available project funds through establishment of a competitive grant pool.   Grants under this option would be selected for funding by representatives of the FS and State Foresters in the FS Regions/Area/IITF.

 


 [F1]

 [F2]What is meant by this statement?  I would leave it out.  If they participate in the program they should identify priority watersheds, otherwise why participate?  SRA