USDA Forest Service Lapse in Funding Plan (PDF 179 KB)
Information for media inquiries
Due to a lapse in government funding, we have limited staff available to assist with your media request at this time. If you are an accredited media representative with a question related to the government shutdown impacts on the Forest Service, please submit it to email@example.com (link sends email) or 202-205-1134 and we will assist you as soon as we are able. For all other queries, we will respond to you as soon as possible once funding has been restored. For overall information about the government shutdown, please call the Office of Management and Budget at 202-395-7254.
Agency wide operational updates
The USDA Forest Service is assessing and prioritizing activities we are able to maintain during the lapse in funding based on three categories of work identified in the agency shutdown plan. The plan reflects difficult choices made on the most critical work needed to conduct an orderly shutdown and to protect health, safety and assets during a lapse in funding. The agency is also evaluating and proceeding with some work using non-appropriated funds to continue critical business functions and public services. These choices continue to evolve as the lapse in funding status persists and more critical needs emerge.
USDA Forest Service ongoing work during the lapse in funding
- The Forest Service continues to focus on work that protects public health and safety and public assets. The agency also continues activities considered part of an orderly shutdown. This is consistent with work identified as Category 1 and Category III of our shutdown plan. View the current list of activities.
- The Forest Service is evaluating and proceeding with some work using non-appropriated funds to continue critical business functions and public services with appropriate oversight. These activities fall under Category II of the existing shutdown plan. View the current list of activities.
Status of USDA Forest Service wildland fire operations during partial government shutdown
- Preparing fire responders for the nation’s 2019 fire suppression is part of the USDA Forest Service shutdown plan. Despite operational challenges during this time, we are doing our best to hire and train employees so the agency readies itself to fight fire in the upcoming year.
- Staffing for permanent and temporary fire positions is essential for the 2019 fire year; it will continue throughout shutdown status. The National Wildfire Apprentice Program is a primary training venue for interagency federal wildland firefighters. The first session occurred as planned the week of January 13, 2019. Further information can be found at https://www.nafri.gov/wfap/ .
- As we continue to conduct critical training to the extent feasible, we are carefully evaluating timing and need for each class. We are making difficult choices; some courses are not feasible at this time. Most of our fire-related courses are conducted in an interagency manner. Local fire training classes are occurring across the country; some interagency training has been postponed.
- Forest Service employees whose regular responsibilities include responding to and managing wildland fires will be designated as excepted on-call so they are able to respond when called for duty.
- The Forest Service relies on many contractors to support wildfire suppression. This includes ground resources, aviation assets, retardant, mobile caterers, showers, and numerous support staff contracts.
- The Forest Service will continue necessary actions to the extent feasible to bring on these contractors as part of excepted work needed to prepare for the 2019 fire year.
- HAZARDOUS FUELS TREATMENTS
- The Forest Service understands treating hazardous fuels with prescribed burning is an important tool that can reduce the wildfire risk and impacts to natural resources and communities. We recognize that prescribed fire work relies heavily on timing, ground and weather conditions. The Forest Service may make choices to conduct limited hazardous fuels treatments using funds from prior years - if those operations can be performed safely to take advantage of limited opportunities. These are “non appropriated” funds and this work is exempt, as described in the agency’s shutdown plan.
- Decisions on what projects to conduct will be made on a case-by-case basis, prioritizing work in the highest risk areas where conditions are highly-favorable for success. Treatments could include mechanical fuels treatments. Under limited circumstances, treatments may also include prescribed burns. The agency is evaluating that on a case by case basis based on an extensive risk analysis.
Wood Innovations Grant Application Deadline Extended
- The Wood Innovations Grants deadline, originally scheduled for January 23, 2019, will be extended due to the lapse in government funding. (link to original press release announcing the RFP below).
- Once funding has been restored, the updated deadline will be announced on the Wood Innovations homepage - https://www.fs.usda.gov/naspf/programs/wood-education-and-resource-center/wood-innovations-home.
- Press release with 2019 RFP announcement - https://www.fs.fed.us/news/releases/usda-forest-service-announces-8-million-expand-wood-products-and-wood-energy-markets
Field Operational Updates
- Chugach National Forest - Avalanche forecasting services from the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center continue. Forecasts are available 7:00 a.m. daily and posted on the web at http://www.cnfaic.org/wx/weather.php - Update from week of January 6, 2019
Tongass National Forest -
A landslide has occurred on National Forest System Lands, Tongass National Forest, on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska. At approximately 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2019, a landslide occurred at mile post 3.46 on the Kasaan Road, closing the road and taking out electrical power to South Thorne Bay and Kasaan residents. Approximately 300 residents are affected by this road closure. The instability of the site presents a risk to people in and around the slide, as well as those who would be working on removal of debris and road reconstruction in the future. Agency personnel are working with local, borough, state, federal and tribal entities to respond to the immediate threat, while operating collectively to respond to future threats. Additional information available in the attached Fact Sheet (https://www.fs.fed.us/documents/shutdown/AK_update.pdf) - Update from week of January 6, 2019
Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center
The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Winter Hours: The Visitor Center, Discovery Zone, and Discovery Southeast Bookstore are open all winter during Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m and during Friday nights for lectures. Outdoor areas around the visitor center are open 6 a.m. to midnight, year-round. This season's themes at the Visitor Center are: January: Glaciers and Oceans; February: Salmon Forest; March: Lesser Known Winged Things of AK - Update from 01/15/2019
The Visitor Center is hosting its second Fireside Lecture of the season on January 18, 2019, titled Outside Lies Magic by Forest Wagner. Climbing and skiing are exciting! Like many outdoor activities they can lead to physical and mental health, and engage and create deep connections with people and place. Forest Wagner, Assistant Professor of Outdoor Studies at UAS, loves skiing, climbing, and spending time outside and will discuss how it benefits us to do so. All Friday night Fireside Lectures begin at 6:30 p.m. and repeat at 8 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. They are free of charge - Update from 01/15/2019
Starting in January, Discovery Southeast Bookstore will begin a rotating art exhibit (and sale!) to compliment the Fireside Chats presented by the USDA Forest Service at the Visitor Center. Each artist can submit one or more pieces. Anyone interested in contributing artwork or would like more information, can email bookstore manager, AnnMarie Ellison, at AnnMarie@discoverysoutheast.org - Update from 01/15/2019
For more information about activities at the visitor center call 907-789-0097.
- Modoc National Forest - The Modoc National Forest continues to provide daily care for wild horses at the Double Devil Wild Horse Corrals in Alturas, CA. During the lapse in funding we are not able to accept payment for adoption or sale of any horses and the facility is closed to the public. We will plan an adoption event soon after funding is restored. Information about adoption or purchase of horses is available online and forms may be completed and submitted for approval for approval after funding is restored. https://www.facebook.com/doubledevilwildhorsecorrals/ 165 horses will be available for adoption or sale at the Double Devil Wild Horse Corrals once the government shutdown ends. To date, 86 have found new homes through previous adoptions and sales - Update from 01/16/2019
- San Bernardino National Forest - The USDA Forest Service will be unavailable to host the Saturday, January 12 bald eagle count at U.S. Forest Service locations in Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead and Lake Hemet. Participants may still attend the count at Silverwood Lake and Lake Perris, which are run by California State Parks - Update from week of January 6, 2019
- The Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area (BWRA) on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest's Bridgeport Ranger District is open. General information and avalanche forecasts are available at: https://www.bridgeportavalanchecenter.org - Update from week of January 6, 2019
National Forests in Florida – All recreation areas and trails are open for now using fees collected from users (non-appropriated dollars). The Forest has reduced staffing and services because of the lapse in funding so all offices are closed. Some employees and services are being paid from other non-appropriated funds or funds appropriated in prior years primarily to maintain timber and road maintenance contracts and recreation areas - Update from week of January 6, 2019
- All offices on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are closed. The Lolo Pass Visitor Center bathrooms are open - Update from week of January 6, 2019
- A limited number of employees are working to protect basic health and safety, manage shutdown related information, administer the 8 active timber sales, and work on some other critical priorities using prior year funds - Update from week of January 6, 2019
- The Delta National Forest is closed to motorized vehicle access, excluding boats, as a safety precaution to protect the public and limit damage to roads and natural resources from flooding. The emergency closure order, pursuant to Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 36 CFR 261.50(a) and (b), and for the protection of the public and natural resources, is effective immediately until an undetermined date when the floodwaters recede. Press release can be found at: https://www.fs.fed.us/documents/shutdown/News_Release_Delta_NF_Flooding_Closure.pdf - Update from 01/15/2019
- The Mt. Hood National Forest is a popular destination for winter recreation. Many of these recreation opportunities are provided through partners or permit holders, such as resorts, ski areas, and organizational camps. During the shutdown, the forest will not be maintaining trailheads, trails, or the forest website. A few campgrounds and day use sites remain open, and are being operated by a concessionaire. A more complete update can be found at: https://www.fs.fed.us/documents/shutdown/MtHoodShutdown_update.pdf - Update from 01/15/2019
U.S. Territory: Puerto Rico
- El Yunque National Forest - Has a small number of sites (9) and trails (5) open using fees collected from outfitter-guide permits (non-appropriated dollars). The Forest has reduced staffing and services because of the lapse in funding. Some employees and services are being paid from funds appropriated in prior years. Work repairing damage from 2018 hurricanes continues using supplemental funding approved by Congress last year. The following partners are also assisting: Naguabo Municipality, Amigos del Yunque, ACE and Eastern National - Update from week of January 6, 2019
USDA Forest Service ongoing work during the lapse in funding
The Forest Service continues to focus on work that protects public health and safety and public assets. The agency also continues activities considered part of an orderly shutdown. This is consistent with work identified as Category 1 and Category III of our shutdown plan. These activities may include:
- Wildland fire and safety
- fire preparedness, fire suppression, critical fire training
- law enforcement
- Forest Management
- short-term timber sale administration for ongoing sales with open payment units
- protection of closed recreation areas
- activities that support health and safety such as support for search and rescue or emergency actions to protect the public
- avalanche mitigation activities
- Contracts or Agreements needed to maintain orderly shutdown activities
- Facility protection and emergency repairs
- Emergency road repairs
The Forest Service is evaluating and proceeding with some work using non-appropriated funds to continue critical business functions and public services with appropriate oversight. These activities fall under Category II of the existing shutdown plan. These activities may include:
- Wildland Fire
- Prescribed fire prep
- Prescribed burning
- Forest Management
- Non-fire fuels treatments
- Long-term timber sale administration
- FY19 timber sale prep
- NEPA for FY19 timber sales
- Advertise and sell FY19 timber sales
- Tree planting using non-appropriated funds
- Reforestation and restoration activities, including tree nurseries
- Grazing Management
- Issuance of bills for permitted grazing
- Compliance and implementation monitoring
- Critical time-sensitive meetings with permittees
- Operations of open recreation areas
- Providing minimal services where appropriate
- Administering and processing special use permits
- Acquisitions and Agreements
- processing new contracts and agreements needed for critical work that can be supported with non-appropriated funds
- Critical non-emergency road repairs
- wildlife projects using non-appropriated funds
- Pipeline litigation using cost recovery funds
- Hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico
- Operating the Savannah River Site
- Operating seed labs using user fees