Secure Rural Schools Act
The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest has received $207,983 of Title II funds through the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced April 4, 2014 that more than $300 million will be paid to 41 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in support of local schools and roads as part of the Act's reauthorization.
This disbursement includes $30 million in Title II funding to complete special conservation projects on Federal lands proposed by Resource Advisory Committees throughout the Forest Service.
The Nicolet portion of the CNNF received $71,168 and Chequamegon side received $136,815 in Title II funds.
Each county's share of their state's payment amounts can be found on the Forest Service’s Web site at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/pts/securepayments/projectedpayments.
Title II funds are used to fund projects that have broad community-based support with objectives that may include, but are not limited to: road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration; soil productivity improvements; improvements in forest ecosystem health; watershed restoration and maintenance; restoration, maintenance, and improvement of wildlife and fish habitat; control of noxious and exotic weeds; hazardous fuels reduction; and reintroduction of native species.Projects must be on public land, but can occur on private land if it can be demonstrated that there is a benefit to public land resources.Resource Advisory Committees are responsible for reviewing and recommending projects for implementation.
Committee Members needed
The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is seeking members of the community to serve on the Resource Advisory Committees to recommend how some of the Title II dollars will be spent in neighboring counties.
Committee members represent a diverse group of interests and programs. They are selected by the Secretary of Agriculture and serve four-year terms. Members are not paid for their service, but they can be reimbursed for travel expenses to meetings. Replacement members are also needed, should a committee member leave.
Committee members’ duties include:
Review projects proposed under Title II by participating counties and other persons;
Propose projects and funding to the Secretary through the Designated Federal Official;
Provide early and continuous coordination with the DFO in recommending projects;
Monitor implementation of approved projects and advise the DFO on the progress;
Make recommendations to the DFO for any appropriate changes or adjustments to the projects being monitored by the resource advisory committee.
Any Wisconsin resident interested in serving on the committee must complete an application form that will be used for a required background check. Applications can be found here:
Completed applications for the side of the forest you wish to serve on and the background information form can be mailed to:
CNNF RAC Coordinator
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
500 Hanson Lake Road
Rhinelander, WI 54501
Since 1908, the Forest Service has shared with states 25 percent of gross receipts from timber sales, grazing, minerals, recreation, and other land use fees on national forests to benefit public schools and public roads in the counties in which the forests are situated.
In the late 1980s, due largely to declines in timber sale receipts, payments began to fluctuate and drop significantly. In 1994, Congress provided "safety net payments" to counties in northern California, western Oregon and western Washington.
In 2000, Congress passed the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act that provided enhanced, stabilized payments to more states through 2006. The act was extended for one year and then reauthorized in 2008 for four more years with a one-year reauthorization in 2012. The program was reauthorized in 2013 to provide benefits for an additional year.