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Quarter Tools

  • This section of the facilities toolbox is designed to help you make the most of your resources to provide high-quality quarters for your unit's employees, and to manage the quarters effectively. The links below address the most common concerns of facility managers.

    Quarters Tools

     Photo of a family housing duplex.

    Powell Ranger Station duplex.

    Forest: Clearwater
    District: Powell
    Region: 1

    Why is the Forest Service in the landlord business at some locations?

    Taj Mahal or Dogpatch: What are the standards for housing?

    Where can I get funding to maintain and improve our quarters?

    How do we determine quarters rental rates?

    How do I use the Government Quarters Inventory form?

    How are quarters rental fees collected?

    What information do we have to provide renters?

    What are the requirements for accessibility in Forest Service quarters?

    We're overflowing. How can I provide more quarters?

    When quarters are limited, how should we decide who gets them?

    How do I handle problems with renters?

    What happens when quarters become suddenly uninhabitable?

    Clarification of Instructions For Government Quarters Inventory


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  • Photo of Lowell House

    Lowell House on the Santa Catalina Ranger District.

    Forest: Coronado
    District: Santa Catalina
    Region: 3

    The Forest Service is governed by policies and procedures contained in the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-45, Rental and Construction of Government Quarters, Forest Service Manual 7310.3, Forest Service Handbook 6409.11, and the Management of Quarters letter.

    It is the policy of the Federal Government to rely on the private housing market to provide housing for its civilian employees. The exceptions to this policy are when Government employees are required to live on a Government compound for the protection of Government property or to provide necessary service to the public, and when private housing is not available. In these cases, the Government provides housing for its employees.

    Private housing is not considered to be "available" unless it complies with the same standards as Government-furnished quarters. These standards include complying with current code requirements for existing structures and being in reasonably good repair. In locations where private housing is available, but doesn't meet those standards, the Government should provide housing.

    Over the past century, private development has spread to areas that were once remote. Forest Service housing at formerly isolated sites may now be near or within substantial communities. New Government housing cannot be constructed at these sites. Existing housing should be decommissioned if it is no longer needed. For guidance concerning Government housing at sites where commercial housing is available, refer to the Management of Quarters letter from the Washington Office dated May 1, 1998. During the 1980s and 1990s, Forest Service housing occupancy trended steadily downward. With the recent National Fire Plan hires, this trend has been reversed in many locations. Especially with Cost Pool 09 , it is imperative to retain only those quarters that are needed. For more information on disposing of excess Government housing, see the MTDC Facilities Toolbox section on Excess Sites.

    Photo of single family housing unit

    Family housing at Petersburg Ranger District.

    Forest: Tongass
    District: Petersburg
    Region: 10

    Some Forest Service housing needs are unusual, such as those for temporary, seasonal employees, who need affordable, efficiency-type housing for only a few months each year. Smaller communities often don't have enough housing to accommodate the influx of temporary employees during the field season. Private sources may be reluctant to provide seasonal housing, because it would sit vacant much of the year. In such situations, it may be appropriate for the Forest Service to provide bunkhouse-type quarters.

    All decisions concerning the provision of Government housing at Forest Service sites must be made using:

  • Photo of Aspen Forest Service housing

    Aspen Ranger Station house.

    Forest: White River
    District: Aspen
    Region: 2

    Dogpatch is not an appropriate model for Forest Service housing. The Federal Government is exempt from State and local regulations, but the Forest Service has agreed to abide by all State and local utility and structure code and permit requirements. In the absence of State or local requirements, the Forest Service will conform to the Life Safety Code and to the International family of codes.

    Nor is the Taj Mahal an appropriate model for Forest Service housing. The Government is obligated to spend the taxpayer's money wisely. The Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-45 part 8, Construction of Federally-Funded Housing, provides some basic size and room guidelines for new Government housing depending on the expected number of occupants. Existing housing should come reasonably close to conforming to these guidelines, too.

    Not all Forest Service quarters are alike, nor should they be. Depending on the location and their intended use, Forest Service quarters may be as primitive as a wall tent at a wilderness site or as modern as a suburban home. All Forest Service housing should be kept safe, sanitary, neat, attractive, and in good working order both inside and outside. Guidance is provided in:

     

     

     

    Photo of Trailer in Forest setting

    A mobile home under a snow shelter/carport at the Fenn Ranger Station.

    Forest: Nez Perce
    District: Moose Creek
    Region: 1

    • Forest Service Handbook 6709.11—Health and Safety Code Handbook, particularly chapter 30

    • Forest Service Handbook 7309.11—Buildings and Related Facilities Handbook, especially chapters 30 and 40

    • Forest Service Handbook 7309.11—Buildings and Related Facilities Handbook, 34.13c Exhibit 01 Minimum Suitability Standards (FS and BLM only)

    • Forest Service Manual 7313.3—Design Standards Quarters should project the image of an environmentally aware, concerned, professional land management organization and should conform to the USDA Forest Service The Built Environment Image Guide.

    • All Forest Service buildings are assigned a maintenance level by the line officer, based on guidelines in the Buildings and Related Facilities Handbook. The assigned maintenance level determines the speed of repairs and standard of care for the building. For quarters buildings, these range from Level 1—buildings not normally in use ("mothballed") to Level 4—which includes year-round residences. See your facilities engineer or refer to section 42.2 of the Forest Service Handbook 7309.11—Buildings and Related Facilities Handbook —for more information on maintenance levels.

     

    decorative graphic

    New house at Coyote Ranger Station.

    Forest: Santa Fe
    District:Coyote
    Region: 3

    The INFRA program has added emphasis to the regular inspection requirement for facilities. The inspections must be conducted by qualified and experienced personnel—normally facilities engineers. Sometimes inspection teams include other engineers, architects, or safety specialists. Required inspection types and their frequency are shown in section 44 of the Forest Service Handbook 7309.11—Buildings and Related Facilities. These inspections provide an excellent inventory of maintenance that should be accomplished on each building. Units that use the results of these inspections to set priorities for work and to assign maintenance budgets generally have better maintained structures than those that don't.

  • Photo of the Kremmling Crew House

    Kremmling Crew House.

    Forest: Medicine Bow-Routt
    District: Parks
    Region: 2

    The most common source of funding for quarters maintenance is the rent that is collected for the use of the quarters. These funds must be used exclusively for quarters maintenance. They don't have to be used on the specific building or even in the specific district from which they were collected. Guidance on collecting and using rent funds is contained in the Forest Service Manual 6400—Property Management, especially part 6445.04c. Rent funds are available for maintenance once they have been collected.

    Appropriated facilities maintenance funds may be used for quarters maintenance work, but quarters funds may not be used for other facilities maintenance. Quarters funds may be used to reimburse a bill-paying unit (usually a district) the amount that was added to each resident's rent payment to cover utilities and services, such as bunkhouse cleaning contracts or utilities that are not metered at individual residences.

    It is important that you know how much money is available in the collected rent account. In past years, needed maintenance has not been performed because facilities managers didn't realize they had the money available. Your unit's business management staff track the collected rent funds and can tell you how much is available each year.

    The INFRA (Web site available only to employees) program has added emphasis to the regular inspection requirements for facilities. The inspections must be conducted by qualified and experienced personnel, usually facilities engineers. Sometimes inspection teams include other engineers, architects, or safety specialists. Required inspection types and their frequency are shown in section 44 of the Forest Service Handbook 7309.11—Buildings and Related Facilities. These inspections provide an excellent inventory of maintenance that should be accomplished on each building. Units that use these inspections to set priorities for work and to assign maintenance budgets generally have better maintained structures than those that don't. You can view and download an example of an informal Maintenance Condition Survey Checklist that can be used to document project priority levels and inspections, or you can download a blank QMQM Project Spreadsheet that can be used to set priorities for projects across your unit and to track funding distribution. [An accessible form of the QMQM Project Spreadsheet is provided for users who do not have the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program.]

    Photo of Hebgen Lake crew quarters

    Hebgen Lake Crew Quarters.

    Forest: Gallatin
    District: West Yellowstone
    Region: 1

    In the past, project funds were sometimes used to accomplish more extensive maintenance and renovation. With recent and continuing budget and fiscal changes, you must check with your unit's business management staff before you make any plans to use anything other than collected rent or facilities maintenance funds for quarters projects.

    Major maintenance work, additions, renovations, and new construction may be accomplished through the capital improvement program, which is mainly funded through direct line-item appropriations from Congress. Projects that have been identified through the Facility Master Planning process, through the INFRA (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) program, and through each region's project prioritization process are prioritized servicewide for funding. The best way to get your project funded is to ensure that you have it identified and well described through these processes.

     

  • Photo of two-story bunkhouse

    Bunkhouse at Slate Creek Ranger Station.

    Forest: Nez Perce
    District: Salmon River
    Region: 1

    Quarters rental rates are based on comparable commercial housing rental rates, as directed in part 7 of the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-45, Procedures for Determining Rents and Other Charges. Every 5 years, local community rental rates are surveyed, and Forest Service rental rates are adjusted. In between, adjustments are made using the Consumer Price Index. The rental surveys are reviewed and approved by the Forest Service to assure that they are fair and reasonable before they are used.

    The USDA Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have an interagency agreement requiring the Forest Service to use the Department of the Interior's rate determination forms and computation programs. This rental rate system uses a Government Quarters Inventory form and the local commercial rental rate survey information to automatically determine the rental rate for each housing unit. Each unit's Quarters Manager has the program installed on a computer, and has the responsibility for ensuring that the quarters inventories have been conducted impartially and consistently. For instance, the data must not be manipulated to artificially adjust the rent downward to reflect a belief that the rent for that unit is too high or to use low rental rates to induce recruitment to a particular location. Not only would this practice be illegal and unfair, but it would also hamper the quarters maintenance program by reducing the pool of funds for maintenance.

    Photo of large bunkhouse.

    Bunkhouse at Aspen Ranger Station.

    Forest: White River
    District: Aspen
    Region: 2

    Each person renting Government quarters signs a Quarters Assignment Agreement form Forest Service-6400-30. This form identifies the occupant, quarters address, amount of rent, date of occupancy, grievance rights, and terms and conditions of rental. The form is also signed by the forest supervisor.

    When rental rates are adjusted, each tenant is notified of the impending rate change 30 days in advance and has the right to appeal. Appeals do not change the date of implementation of the new rates. However, if the appeal is successful, overpayments will be credited to the renter. Part 7 of the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-45, Procedures for Determining Rents and Other Charges, provides that if the rental rate adjustment is an increase of more than 25 percent, an extended rate implementation period may be used to phase in the increase over a period of up to a year. This extended implementation must be requested by the line officer and approved by the Washington Office. For more information, see part 6445 of the Forest Service Manual 6400—Property Management. The Department of the Interior's National Business Center has prepared a flyer that explains the adjustment process to renters.

  • Photo of a rental unit

    Middle House at Slate Creek Ranger Station.

    Forest: Nez Perce
    District: Salmon River
    Region: 1

    Each unit's quarters manager is responsible for assuring that the Government Quarters Inventory form DI-1875 is completed accurately and that the quarters inventories have been conducted impartially and consistently. As detailed in part 5 of the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-45, Policy, the data must not be manipulated to artificially adjust the rent downward to reflect a belief that the rent for that unit is unreasonably high, or to use low rental rates to induce recruitment to a particular location. Not only would this practice be illegal and unfair, it would also hamper the quarters maintenance program by reducing the pool of funds for maintenance.

    To avoid the appearance of favoritism or data manipulation and to assure consistency, the unit's facility engineer or another person knowledgeable of the structures (but not a renter or supervisor of renters) should complete the initial inventory and yearly updates. Information on tenant appliances, etc., can be obtained from the renter.

    The form itself is relatively easy to complete using the included instructions. The instructions to the latest version of the form are very detailed and explain nearly all situations that you may encounter. Click on Clarification of Instructions for Government Quarters Inventory for some hints that may assist you.

    Photo of house with rock work

    House at Carr Canyon, Sierra Vista Ranger District.

    Forest: Coronado
    District: Sierra Vista
    Region: 3

    Photo of a nursery at a residence

    Assistant Ranger's House at Bessey Nursery

    Forest: Nebraska
    District:Charles E. Bessey Nursery
    Region: 2

  • Photo of historic residence

    Brush Creek Dwelling house.

    Forest: Medicine Bow-Routt
    District: Brush Creek/Hayden
    Region: 2

    The 2001 Windows version of the Government Quarters Inventory form (DI-1875) is relatively easy to complete using the included instructions. The instructions are very detailed and cover nearly all situations that you may encounter.

    Here are a few areas where a little clarification may be helpful:

    • Section S1 Rent Class: Modular structures are generally not considered mobile homes. To be considered a mobile home, a structure must be easy to relocate. If you can put the axle and towing fork back on a unit and pull it to another location, it's a mobile home, regardless of the nature of the construction, quality of the finish, or manufacturer's description. A modular structure, which arrives at the site on a trailer or dolly axles, and doesn't have its own towing fork, is considered a cabin, dormitory, or house, just as if it had been built at the site.

    • Section S8 Unused Finished Space: There is often a tendency to stretch the definition of "unused" to allow the occupant to use an unneeded bedroom as storage space without being charged for the space. As the instructions clearly state, the unused space must be locked or otherwise secured so the occupant doesn't have access to it before that space can be deducted from the square footage on which rent is paid.

    • Section S10 Number of Planned Unrelated Tenants: As the instructions indicate, this number should be the number of unrelated tenants intended to be in the unit during full occupancy, regardless of how many are currently in the unit. If the unit has more occupants than planned, some of the tenants should be required to move out or the number of planned unrelated tenants should be reevaluated.
    • Section S11 Number of Rooms Used

    • Section S12 Number of Bedrooms Used

    • Section S13 Number of Bathrooms Used: Just as with unused finished space, to be counted as "not used," a room must be locked or otherwise secured so the tenant can't use it at all.

    • Section S12 Number of Bedrooms: Do not include dormitory-style sleeping rooms when counting the number of bedrooms. Only count those rooms intended for use by two or fewer unrelated individuals as bedrooms. More than two related individuals may sleep in a room counted as a bedroom.

    Photo of crew quarters

    Crew Quarters at Powell Ranger Station.

    Forest: Clearwater
    District: Powell
    Region: 1

    • Section S13 Number of Bathrooms: For dormitories or crew quarters with common-use bathrooms, count as one bathroom each bathroom area that is divided from the rest of the dwelling by full walls and a door, regardless of the number of fixtures it contains. Toilet or shower stall enclosures are not considered full walls and doors. Lavatories in halls or sleeping rooms are not counted as any portion of a bathroom.

    • Section S24 Lead Paint: If you have no knowledge of the presence or absence of lead paint, or if the unit has not been tested for the presence of lead paint, show that it has lead paint if it was constructed before 1978. The use of lead paint in residences was banned in 1978, so units constructed after 1978 should not contain lead paint.

    • Section A7 Noise/Odors O.K.: Noises or odors emanating from within the Government compound (such as barking dogs or a failed septic system) should be eliminated by the line officer through maintenance or discipline, rather than being counted as unacceptable noises and odors. However, if the problem cannot be cured in a reasonable time, an adjustment should be made until the problem is cured.

    • Section A15 Loss of Privacy: This section doesn't apply to lack of absolute privacy inherent in bunkhouses, dormitories, and crew quarters.

    • Section P9 Central Heating (Panel): This category includes electric radiant panels, whether enclosed in the structure or hung on the wall or ceiling.

    • Section P17 Engine Heater: Check this option only if the Government provides the engine heater as well as the power supply. Do not check this option if the Government provides exterior outlets that may be used by residents to power their own engine heater or for other purposes.

    • P23 Furnished Rooms: A room is considered to be furnished when the majority of the normal furnishings have been provided by the Government, regardless of whether supplemental furnishings have been added by the tenant. For instance, a living room provided with a sofa, chair, and side or coffee table is considered to be furnished, even though the tenant may add several other chairs and tables to the space.
  • Photo of ranger station

    Aspen Ranger Station House.

    Forest: White River
    District: Aspen
    Region: 2

    Most Forest Service quarters renters are Forest Service employees who have their rent collected through payroll deduction in accordance with section 5911(c) of Title 5, United States Code. Rent can also be collected from employees of other Federal Government agencies by payroll deduction. If the renter isn't a Federal Government employee, the rent is payable into the unit's quarters rental account biweekly by cash (or check) collection. As required by section 6445 of the Forest Service Manual 6400 - Property Management and chapter 50 of the Forest Service Handbook 6109.12—Employment and Benefits Handbook, if the "renter" is a volunteer or other person who does not pay rent because their use of the quarters benefits the Government, the line officer must assure that rent and utility costs are transferred from the benefiting function and deposited into the quarters account.

    Each person renting Government quarters signs a Quarters Assignment Agreement, form Forest Service-6400-30. This form identifies the occupant, quarters address, amount of rent, date of occupancy, grievance rights, and terms and conditions of rental. The form is also signed by the Forest Supervisor.

    Photo of residences

    Darby Ranger District housing.

    Forest: Bitterroot
    District: Darby
    Region: 1

    Photo of administration house

    Nogales Ranger Station house.

    Forest: Coronado
    District: Nogales
    Region: 3

  • Photo of damaged siding

    Does this siding contain asbestos? Renters have a right to know.

    Forest: Bitterroot
    District: Stevensville
    Region: 1

    Besides the amount of the rent and the conditions of rent notifications shown in the Quarters Tools section How do we determine quarters rental rates?, renters of Government Quarters have a right to know about possible health hazards.

    The Forest Service Handbook 7309.11 - Buildings and Related Facilities Handbook chapter 41 refers to governing Federal regulations and requires that we clearly sign asbestos in Forest Service buildings, and that we disclose the presence of lead-based-paint and provide renters with a copy of the pamphlet "Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home". You can download or order this pamphlet online from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in several formats and languages.

    Where the Forest Service owns or operates a public community drinking water system, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in accordance with the provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act, requires that we provide information to renters about the quality of drinking water in the form of a Consumer Confidence Report.

    You can view or download an example Ranger Station Consumer Confidence Report that complies with EPA and State of Idaho requirements by clicking on the title. Other states may have different requirements. Be sure to check with your facilities engineer or environmental engineer for the requirements in your area. [An accessible form of the Green Tree Ranger Station "2001 Drinking Water Quality Report" is also provided.]

    Photo of a wood-framed window

    Is there lead-based paint on this window trim? Renters have a right to know.

    Forest: Bitterroot
    District: Stevensville
    Region: 1

    You can view or download a Renter Notification Letter containing required notification language that can be modified for the conditions in each building. The letter can be used to inform current and potential renters of the radon, asbestos, and lead materials in their homes.

    Signs warning of asbestos hazards in buildings are usually made of plastic or metal and printed with the required warning labels. Often, signs with the warning and the location of asbestos in the building are posted near an outside, nonpublic entry to a building as well as on the friable asbestos material in the building. Your forest or regional facilities or environmental engineer can provide you information on where to obtain such signs.

  • Photo of an accessible triplex housing unit

    An accessible triplex of one bedroom units under construction at the Elk City Ranger Station.

    Forest: Nez Perce
    District: Red River
    Region: 1

    Section 34.16 of the Forest Service Handbook 7309.11 - Buildings and Related Facilities Handbook and the USDA Forest Service Accessibility Action Plan provide guidance for accessibility in Forest Service quarters. In accordance with the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968, the Forest Service provides access for all persons to all facilities owned, rented, leased, or occupied through a similar document. All buildings, both new and existing, are to be designed, constructed, altered, and operated in accordance with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) and the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards using the higher of the two standards. Your unit's accessibility specialist will be glad to help you.

    Does this mean that each quarters building, everywhere, must be made completely accessible right now? No, it doesn't, although full accessibility is the ultimate goal. The Forest Service must provide equal opportunity for every employee, but sometimes there are methods of providing access without making all buildings fully accessible. These methods are identified in your unit's transition plan.

    Each Forest Service unit was required to complete an accessibility evaluation survey of all facilities by 9/30/2001 and to develop a transition plan for those facilities that are not accessible. Check your unit's transition plan for the schedule and scope of work. If your unit has not yet completed the evaluation survey and transition plan, talk with your unit's facility engineer and accessibility specialist and with your region's accessibility coordinator for specific information on completing them.

    7 CFR 15e section 150(d) provides general information on transition plans. The ADAAG Accessibility Checklist for Buildings and Facilities and the UFAS Accessibility Checklist are both available on the Internet. However, your region may have developed checklists that will better match your facilities.

    Photo of accessible residential parking area

    Vehicle parking canopy marked for use by persons with disabilities on the Nogales District.

    Forest: Coronado
    District: Nogales
    Region: 3

    New dwellings must all be designed to be fully accessible. Entrances, hallways, doorways, bathrooms, and kitchens must be large enough to accommodate wheelchair use. Among other items, operating controls must be accessible, emergency systems must be audible and visual, and accessible egress must be provided. See the Architectural Barriers Act Accessibility Standards and your accessibility specialist or coordinator for details.

    The Forest Service Handbook 7309.11 - Buildings and Related Facilities Handbook requires that existing residences be renovated for access as opportunity and needs require. Where facilities present barriers to employment or advancement of an employee, renovation must be accomplished as soon as possible. When renovating any building, anything in the work area that can be made accessible must be made accessible. If renovation appears to jeopardize the safety of employees, the facilities engineer should consult with the safety officer and the unit's accessibility specialist to determine the best solution.

    In historic buildings, there are sometimes conflicts between providing accessibility and maintaining historic integrity. A solution can usually be worked out that satisfies both concerns. Each historic and potentially historic structure must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis following the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. State Historic Preservation Officers and the unit's accessibility specialist should be included in a team evaluating the building and identifying work that is appropriate for accessibility and maintaining the building's historic character.

  • Photo of a mobile home under a snow shelter

    A mobile home under a snow shelter at the Fenn Ranger Station on the Moose Creek Ranger District. This mobile home was originally purchased by the Clearwater National Forest, and was moved to its current location when the Clearwater National Forest no longer needed it and the Nez Perce National Forest needed housing in a hurry. Several years later the Nez Perce National Forest had two surplus mobile homes at Red River Ranger Station that were transferred to the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

    Forest: Nez Perce
    District: Moose Creek
    Region: 1

    The recent increases in fire staffing have left many units scrambling to provide housing for their employees at remote locations. Forest Service staffing levels have a tendency to rise and fall as administrations and congressional interests change. It is prudent to plan for these fluctuations when developing a Facility Master Plan. Check your unit's facility master plan to refresh your memory of what is planned for your site, consult your facilities engineer, and update the master plan as necessary before you make plans to increase your housing stock.

    Usually, we envision site-built structures when we think of Forest Service quarters. A new building begins with the facility master plan, progresses through the regionwide and servicewide project prioritization processes and priority lists, and includes in-house or contracted structure design before a construction contract is let. This process can take from 3 to 20 years, but is being expedited for certain quarters structures that have been identified as high priority under Title 4 and Title 8 deferred maintenance projects and fire-related construction. For more information on how you can use the capital construction process to obtain additional housing units, see the Quarters Tools section, Where can I get funding to maintain and improve our quarters?.

    Other options may solve your quarters crunch more quickly and won't leave you with unused space at your site if employee levels drop again:

    • Assist employees in finding commercially available housing. Actions you can take include providing new or prospective employees with newspapers or other publications showing commercial real estate listings, assembling lists of commercially available housing and providing them to employees, or providing employees with the names of property management firms. However, if lists or references are provided, you must not discriminate or show preference among commercial housing providers. If you have any doubts, consult your contracting officer and/or ethics officer.

    • Rent or lease commercially available housing, and then subrent it to employees through the quarters rental process. Where there is a lack of commercially available housing, OMB Circular A-45, Rental and Construction of Government Quarters, allows managers to use this process. Forest Service Manual section 6445 - Government-Furnished Quarters allows managers to provide leased quarters for barracks-type use if property owners agree to leasing to the Forest Service but not to its employees. Your contracting officer can assist you with this. The disadvantage to this method is that the lease amount the unit will be charged by the owner and the rent that can be charged to employees often don't match. Quarters rent is based on the information provided in the Government Quarters Inventory rather than on the amount actually charged to the unit by the owner of the property. Sometimes the unit will pay more in rent and administering the lease than the employee can be charged.

    • Other government agencies near your location may have housing that's vacant. An agreement can be made between agencies to allow your employees to rent this housing. Your contracting officer and agreements specialist can assist you in making arrangements. The regulations governing these types of agreements are contained in Forest Service Manual sections 1580—Grants, Cooperative Agreements and Other Agreements and 1585 - Interagency and Intra-agency Agreements.

    • Move a modular or mobile home onto your site. You must not move any structure onto your site that is not identified as needed in your Facility Master Plan. However, once the master plan has been updated, a modular or mobile home can usually be solicited and procured within a few months. You will need to work closely with your procurement officer and facilities engineer. Mobile homes can be obtained very quickly if the manufacturer's standard floor plan will work for you. You will need to specify the number and type of rooms required and the approximate overall building size, plus any special requirements such as gable roofs, extra insulation, or wood stove flues. Modular homes can be obtained with customized floor plans, allowing more effective use as crew quarters or accessible dwellings. Commonly, a conceptual floor plan and information on performance criteria and appearance are included in the procurement documents. You will need to assure that there is an appropriate pad or foundation for the modular or mobile home and that utilities are available to serve the location you have chosen. Providing these may require separate contracts.
  • Photo of historic bunkhouse

    Fenn Bunkhouse on the Moose Creek Ranger District—an historic bunkhouse with beautiful rock work. Repairs are in progress.

    Forest: Nez Perce
    District: Moose Creek
    Region: 1

    The tool you need is a Unit Quarters Policy. Each unit should develop its own policy. Having a well-developed quarters policy will make managing your quarters much easier. It will assure that all renters know what is expected of them and decrease perceptions of favoritism and inequitable treatment.

    Any unit with employees who are covered by the Master Agreement between the Forest Service and the National Federation of Federal Employees or other union agreement must notify the local of its intent to develop a unit quarters policy, and be prepared to include union representatives in partnership negotiations or other bargaining methods specified in the Union agreement.

    A unit quarters policy should address issues such as:
    • Procedures and priorities for assignment of available quarters
    • Occupant maintenance responsibilities
    • Damage to quarters beyond normal wear and tear
    • Alterations and improvements to quarters
    • Standards for conduct in quarters
    • Companion animals
    Photo of family housing

    Family housing on the Darby Ranger District.

    Forest: Bitterroot
    District: Darby
    Region: 1

    Guidance concerning some of the above issues is contained in Forest Service Manual 6445—Government-Furnished Quarters and in Forest Service Handbook 6709.11—Health and Safety Manual, part 39. Your unit's quarters policy must conform to the direction contained in the manual and handbook, but they leave plenty of room to model your policy to match local conditions and expectations. Click on the title to see an Example Quarters Policy, an Example Bunkhouse/Crewquarters Agreement, or an Example Dorm and Kitchen Policy.

    Once you have developed a unit quarters policy, you can use it to determine how to assign quarters units when you have more employees than available quarters.

    If you don't have a unit quarters policy and don't have time to develop one, you will need to determine what has been done in the past on your unit, and follow the precedent already established. Then take the time to develop a policy so the problem doesn’t reoccur.

  • Photo of bunkhouse

    Ketchikan Ranger District Bunkhouse.

    Forest: Tongass
    District: Ketchikan
    Region: 10

    You must handle problems with renters with fairness, tact, diplomacy, and in accordance with your Unit Quarters Policy, the Forest Service Manual and Handbook, any union agreements that apply to the unit, and other relevant laws and regulations.

    Of course, the best time to deal with a problem is when it is first observed and is more likely to be a small problem. When the problem is small, it is usually easy to inform the residents of the problem and ask that they correct it. Your unit quarters policy, along with the Forest Service Manual and Handbook, provide written statements of many of the requirements for people who rent Forest Service quarters. You should not hesitate to show residents "where it is written" that their behavior or actions are not in accordance with established policy. Sections of the manual and handbook that refer specifically to requirements for renters include:

     

     

     

    Photo of family housing

    Fenn East House in Moose Creek Ranger District.

    Forest: Nez Perce
    District: Moose Creek
    Region: 1

    If a problem is not corrected when brought to the attention of the resident, be sure to keep a record of complaints, contacts with the resident, and resident actions, in case disciplinary action eventually becomes necessary. If you need advice in handling a specific situation, or if you believe disciplinary action has become necessary, consult with your personnel specialist in employee relations.

    Smoking, alcohol, and drugs are perennial issues in government quarters, especially crew quarters. The main source of guidance on these issues is contained within Forest Service Manual (FSM) 6440 - Real Property Management.

    Departmental Regulation 4400-6 is the USDA Smoking Policy. It is included in FSM 6440 section 6443.8 as Exhibit 1 (page 13). It states that smoking is not allowed inside USDA buildings, but personal quarters are exempted from the ban. Your Unit Quarters Policy must clarify whether bunkhouse and crew quarters common rooms are considered personal quarters or whether they must be smoke-free.

    FSM 6440 section 6443.1 (page 7) contains the Rules of Conduct for Government Property. These rules apply to Government compounds and public buildings. 6443.1.7 covers alcoholic beverages and narcotics. It basically says that driving while under the influence and possession of drugs are prohibited in Government compounds and public buildings. FSM 6440 section 6445.3.3 (page 25) defines acceptable conduct in Government quarters. It clarifies that Government-owned buildings used for residential purposes are not considered public buildings, and mandates that Regional Foresters and Station/Institute/Area Directors must "Establish standards of conduct for occupants of quarters in compliance with local ordinances, regulations, and laws." These standards should include alcohol and drug issues. Sometimes responsibility for determining standards of conduct is delegated down to the Forest or District level, and such standards are included in the Unit Quarters Policy.

  • The relationship between the Forest Service and employees who occupy Forest Service quarters is a normal landlord-tenant relationship. This relationship is clearly identified in the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A45, part 9.g. When something happens that renders Forest Service quarters suddenly uninhabitable, the Forest Service response is not much different than that of ordinary private landlords.

    Photo of the Cedar Flats House

    The Cedar Flats House was originally a commissary for the Youth Conservation Corps.

    Forest: Nez Perce
    District: Moose Creek
    Region: 1

    The following guidelines for those employees who are not required to live on a government compound are very general. Complicating circumstances may necessitate resolution of obligations and responsibilities on an individual case basis. Quarters managers should contact their Regional Quarters Officer as soon as possible after major quarters damage becomes evident.

    When Forest Service employees are required to evacuate their quarters because a natural disaster such as a hurricane or wildfire is headed their way, they should go to shelters or to motels or homes of friends or relatives away from the potential disaster area, just as they would if they were renting from a private landlord. Their obligation to pay their rent does not cease while they are away from their rented homes during the evacuation.

    As the landlord, the Forest Service has an obligation to maintain its quarters in safe, sanitary, neat, and attractive condition, and in good working order both inside and outside. The Forest Service must also provide 30 days notice before evicting a tenant. This means that if a structure is suddenly damaged (Optional link for FSweb users) to the extent that it doesn't meet these standards, the Forest Service can't just kick the renters out the next morning. The Forest Service is generally required to put the renters up somewhere else for up to 30 days, and the renters continue to pay rent during that time. If the rent is paid by payroll deduction it may take a little longer than 30 days to complete a pay period. The alternate quarters don't have to be exactly comparable to the damaged quarters. A family may be housed temporarily in a crew quarters building or a motel, for example.

    As soon as possible, the Forest Service must decide whether it is economically feasible to repair the structure. Facility engineers can assess the damage and assist quarters managers and line officers in making that determination. Repairs may take longer than 30 days. If so, tenants may continue to pay their rent and remain in alternate quarters or elect to move their belongings out of the damaged structure and find other housing. If the repairs are going to take a very long time, the Forest Service will probably determine that it is not economically feasible to continue to offer alternate quarters, and the rental agreement may be canceled with 30 days notice. If the structure is beyond repair, the rental agreement may also be canceled with 30 days notice.

    Regional Quarters Officers

    Region 1
    Sandra Sandry
    (406) 329-3615
    e-mail: ssandry@fs.fed.us

    Region 2
    Marion Hammon
    (303) 275-5275
    e-mail: mhammon@fs.fed.us

    Region 3
    Bill Candelaria
    (505) 842-3123
    e-mail: wcandelaria@fs.fed.us

    Region 4
    Brent Bailey
    (801)625-5807
    e-mail: bbailey@fs.fed.us

    Region 5
    Ernie Tordsen
    (707) 562-8907
    e-mail: edordsen@fs.fed.us

    Region 6
    Stan Cunningham
    (503) 808-2392
    e-mail: scunningham@fs.fed.us

    Region 8
    Charles Hill
    (404) 347-2619
    e-mail: chill@fs.fed.us

    Region 9
    Tina Sanford
    (414) 297-1139
    e-mail: tsanford@fs.fed.us

    Region 10
    Vacant

    National Quarters Officer

    Joel Biren
    (703) 605-4663
    e-mail: jbiren@fs.fed.us

  • QMQM Projects - D-3 Date Revised: 0/0/02
    Priority Maintenance Project Description Total Cost Amount Funded Comments INFRA Bldg.No.
    A Misc.Mtc.& Progr.Mgt. 3,240 3,240 EXAMPLE ENTRY var.
    A Cleaning Contr. Reimburse, Bnkhse 4,500 4,500 EXAMPLE ENTRY 1346
    A Water/Sewer Reimbursement 2,880 2,880 EXAMPLE ENTRY var.
    Misc.Mtc. Repl. Shower Door Handle, CQ #2 30  - - - EXAMPLE ENTRY 1360
    Operations Repl. Entry Light Bulb, West House 20  - - - EXAMPLE ENTRY 1003
    B Replace Roofing, Middle House 4,200 4,200 EXAMPLE ENTRY          36" #1 Cedar Shakes 1002
    C Repair Kitchen Cabinet Hardware, South Unit of Duplex 250 250 EXAMPLE ENTRY 1031
    D Repaint West Bedroom, East House 500  - - - EXAMPLE ENTRY          Color Change Desired 1001
    E 20' Addition to CQ #3 50,000  - - - EXAMPLE ENTRY          Capital Construction 1361
    FUNDED TOTAL: $15,070
    Basically, the rule is that "if it ain't broke, it ain't maintenance".
    A short definition of the project categories:
    "A" Essential Funding.  Correction of critical health and safety hazards and Code violations and repairs necessary to keep water, wastewater, and other utility systems functioning, as well as correct critical structural problems that endanger life or health.  Also includes "pass-through" funds reimbursement for utility assessments collected from residents as part of their rent.
    "B" Required Maintenance, Protection of Investment.  Includes correcting wiring & plumbing problems, re-roofing & exterior painting where putting it off would lead to deterioration of the structure, wood-damaging insect control, repairing structural & functional problems, bringing buildings up to current Code standards, etc.
    "C" Should Do. Work that's clearly maintenance or replacement work such as repainting grungy interiors, cabinet & other interior maintenance, yard or fence maintenance (not operations stuff like mowing the grass), replacing failing carpet and vinyl flooring, etc.  Also includes fixing or replacing non-critical items such as bathroom fans, eve vents, weather seals, etc.
    "D" Nice To Do.  Includes replacements or repairs that could be deferred, repainting to change colors, interior minor renovations which may or may not be truly maintenance, etc.
    "E" Non-Maintenance or Not Recommended projects. Includes improvements and renter-desired changes that conflict with Code or FS standards.
    Operations.  Work which occurs regularly as basic upkeep of the property, such as mowing lawns, irrigating, replacing light bulbs, cleaning expenses, etc.  This work is not funded with Quarters $$.  Work is listed as a reminder to the Unit.
    Miscellaneous Maintenance & Program Management.  An allowance based on square feet and type of structure managed by the unit to cover salary for quarters program management and for small projects under $100 that should be completed as soon as they are identified, such as replacing handles, washers, broken light fixture lenses, etc.  Work is listed as a reminder to the Unit.
  • 2001 Drinking Water Quality Report

    GREEN TREE RANGER STATION

    We're pleased to present to you this Annual Water Quality Report. This report is designed to inform you about the quality water delivered to you every day. We want you to understand the quality of your drinking water and what we do to ensure that you receive good water.  At the Green Tree Ranger Station, Monty Maintenance is in charge of the day-to-day provision of your water.

    Your drinking water comes from ground water.  The well on the Green Tree compound that supplies your water is behind the Cedar Flats dorm.  It is around 300 feet deep and can produce around forty gallons of water a minute.  Water is drawn from the well, chlorinated in the control room inside the Cedar Flats dorm, and pumped to a 60,000 gallon storage tank on the hill above the Station.  It then flows by gravity to the homes and offices at the Ranger Station as needed.

    The State of Idaho is performing an assessment of our source water, including a map of where it comes from underground (delineation), a map of nearby possible pollution sources (sources of contamination), and a review of the chance for contamination (susceptibility).  This should be completed by July 1, 2003.  If you would like to assist in this effort, let your Ranger or the Forest Facilities Engineer know.

    We're pleased to report that your drinking water is safe and meets federal and state requirements.

    If you have any questions about this report or concerning your water, please contact:

    Charlie Civil, Forest Facilities Engineer
    Blue River National Forest Supervisor's Office
    Route 2 Box 345 
    Townville, ID 83000
    (208) 999-1000
    ccivil@fs.fed.us

    Since your water is provided to you by the Forest Service, there is no water board, nor are there water board meetings such as there would be if your water were provided by a municipality or business.  However, you are always welcome at any water manager's meeting that may occur during the year.  If you would like to attend, just tell Charlie and he will let you know the next time a meeting is scheduled.

    During recent years, we have sampled the water at Green Tree Ranger Station for over 80 different chemicals and have found very little contamination.  Contamination is anything other than pure water.  We sample total coliform bacteria monthly as an indicator of microorganisms that should not be present.  We detected no coliform bacteria at all during 2000.  The table below lists all the drinking water contaminants that we detected during the 2000 calendar year.  We are not required to sample for every contaminant every year.  Where the testing year is other than 2000, it is shown in the table.  Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants.  The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate a health risk.  More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Forest Facilities Engineer at the number above or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).

    In the table below, you may find some terms and abbreviations with which you are not familiar. To help you better understand these terms we've provided the following definitions.  Other definitions are at the bottom of the table.

    MCLG, or Maximum Contaminant Level Goal is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health.  MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

    MCL, or Maximum Contaminant Level, is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water.  MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

    AL, or Action Level, is the concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.

    TEST RESULTS
    Regulated Violation
    Y/N
    Level
    Detected
    Unit
    Measurement
    MCLG MCL Likely Source of
    Contamination

    Alpha emitters

    no

    0.4

    pCi/l

    0

    15

    Erosion of natural deposits

    Fluoride

    no

    0.86

    (1998)

    ppm

    4

    4

    Erosion of natural deposits; water additive which promotes strong teeth; discharge from fertilizer and aluminum factories

    Lead

    no

    4

    ppb

    0

    AL=15

    Corrosion of household plumbing systems, erosion of natural deposits

    Sodium

    no

    27.5

    (1998)

    ppm

    no

    standard

    no

    standard

    Natural deposits

    ND or No Detect - laboratory analysis indicates that the constituent is not present.

    PPM, or milligrams per liter - one part per million corresponds to one minute in two years or a single penny in $10,000.

    PPB, or micrograms per liter - one part per billion corresponds to one minute in 2,000 years, or a single penny in $10,000,000.

    pCi/L, or picocuries per liter is a measure of the radioactivity in water.

    As you can see by the table, the Green Tree Ranger Station water system had no violations.  Your drinking water meets or exceeds all Federal and State requirements, though some constituents have been detected. The EPA has determined that your water IS SAFE at these levels.

    Sources of drinking water, both tap water and bottled water, originate as surface water from rivers and lakes or as ground water from springs and wells.  As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material.  Water picks up wastes from both human and animal activities.  Surface water must be carefully filtered to remove bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.  Ground water is usually filtered naturally.

     

    Contaminants that may be present include:

    Microbial contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa are very small living creatures that may be natural and harmless, or harmful if originating from septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, or wildlife.

    Inorganic contaminants such as heavy metals can be naturally occurring or result from urban storm water runoff or industrial or domestic wastewater discharges.

    Pesticides and herbicides may come from agricultural or residential uses.

    Radioactive contaminants are naturally occurring.

    Organic chemicals are usually man-made (synthetic) and vaporize easily (volatile).  Petroleum products and degreasers are examples of gas station and dry cleaner waste transported by storm water or sewers.

    Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as people with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, people who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly people, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

    The Environmental Protection Agency ensures that tap water is safe to drink by writing regulations that limit both natural and man-made contaminants.  Your water has been treated according to both Idaho and EPA regulations.  Interstate bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

    If you want to further protect yourself, remember that bacteria can grow on the end of your faucet and lead can dissolve from your home plumbing.  Flush your system by running your water for about ten seconds or until cold before drinking.

    Remember that you are encouraged to call the Forest Facilities Engineer with any questions you may have  about this report or concerning your water.  Monte takes pride in providing top quality water to every home and office on the Green Tree Ranger Station.