Integrated Resource Restoration Frequently Asked Questions
- For the Integrated Resource Restoration performance measures, is there sufficient baseline data prior to the Integrated Resource Restoration pilot to determine if the Forest Service is more efficient under the pilot?
There is no historical baseline, but the Budget includes expectations of how fiscal year performance will be tracked, and that performance will be compared to what has been done historically.
- Do Appropriators (Congress) understand the changes to Forest Service needed to integrate Integrated Resource Restoration into the way the Agency does business?
Yes. The Agency has had conversations with Appropriators regarding how the regions under the pilot were moving Integrated Resource Restoration into their system of business.
- Has Forest Service tracked unit costs associated with Integrated Resource Restoration (i.e. cost per acre treated or per unit of wood produced)?
The Agency is tracking unit costs traditionally, as Integrated Resource Restoration is in its first year of implementation. The Agency is still figuring out for future years if a qualitative or quantitative approach will be best.
- What is the size of a landscape?
Landscape size is variable. Most projects are at a sub-watershed scale between 10,000 and 40,000 acres; but some projects consist of multiple watershed scales, depending what the goals of the project are.
- How is Integrated Resource Restoration related to Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects?
Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects and Integrated Resource Restoration both encourage landscape scale restoration work. Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration projects, which have National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) completed, can be a part of the overall integrated program of work that a region or forest is implementing. Additionally, there are projects in high priority watersheds that were not selected under Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration that a region or forest may choose to implement with Integrated Resource Restoration funds.
- As far as Forest Service’s capacity to report outcomes, what challenges are being encountered?
There is the challenge of articulating the outcomes we are after and implementing measurements that will be able to capture outcomes in a better capacity.
- Are all forests in each pilot region the pilot implementation, or are individual forests within the regions the pilot?
Regions 1, 3, and 4 are participating in a single Integrated Resource Restoration pilot. This includes all the forests in these regions.
- Are forests with Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration funds able to use Integrated Resource Restoration as internal matching funds?
- What can be done to facilitate data sharing?
Forests may be hesitant to share GIS (geographic information systems) data for sensitive species location with collaborative groups, causing difficulties supporting restoration and monitoring projects. Discussions should be held with collaboratives on this issue to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.
- Are there plans to merge monitoring/reporting requirements between Integrated Resource Restoration, Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration, and Watershed Condition Framework since they have overlapping objectives?
Yes, after the pilot is completed and we can ascertain how to be more effective, efficient, and meaningful in how we measure success.
- Does a forest supervisor have the discretion to allocate funds among any of the nine traditional performance measures that were merged into Integrated Resource Restoration as he or she sees fit?
Line officers have the ability to shift funds to places and programs.
- Have the Watershed Condition Framework and the Terrestrial Condition Framework supplanted forest plans as the guiding documents for these forests implementing the pilot authority?
No. Forest Land Management Plans are the sole guidance for National Forests. The Watershed Condition Framework acts as a tool for monitoring, gauging effectiveness of management plans, tracking accomplishments, and acts as a basis for outcome measures.
- How can a forest be competitive in obtaining Integrated Resource Restoration dollars if the focus is on maintenance rather than restoration?
The restoration definition includes maintaining the existing condition of landscapes; therefore Integrated Resource Restoration facilitates and supports integrated work that maintains landscapes.
- Is there increased collaboration with partners or facilitated conservation education as a result of the Integrated Resource Restoration Pilot?
The forests have looked at areas that have the best opportunity to demonstrate the benefit of added collaborates that are able to take advantage of Integrated Resource Restoration projects. In many circumstances, these are mature collaboratives that can articulate conservation education ideas that are important to the community.
- Does Integrated Resource Restoration diminish the focus on wildlife work?
The Integrated Resource Restoration land management approach restores the resilience, integrity, and functionality of systems and in the process fixes individual concerns. Integrated Resource Restoration facilitates a more successful gathering together of resources that will allow a look at needed outcomes and will combine resources to manage for concerns such as wildlife habitat for threatened and endangered species, in conjunction with activities such as fuels.
- Does Integrated Resource Restoration give regions and forests the opportunity to implement collaboratively developed projects and determine priorities for Integrated Resource Restoration implementation?
Yes. The basis for success is to engage various stakeholders. Information sharing and engagement at the forest level helps the Agency to focus needs, and therefore focus implementation. It also assists in gauging what scale should Integrated Resource Restoration be implemented and what work we are trying to accomplish. By collaboratives assisting in project collaboration, projects are more likely to be implemented without litigation.
- Will implementing Integrated Resource Restoration nationwide require congressional approval?
Yes. The Agency will work with the Appropriation Committees to ensure that Integrated Resource Restoration is being implemented to achieve its objectives.