Collaboration and the Law

The Forest Service and other federal agencies are authorized to work collaboratively with the public under a variety of laws and directives. Empowered by such, we work regularly with partners, including tribes, states, other federal agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and communities.

The sources on this page will help you understand current law relevant to collaboration and collaborative endeavors.


Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Act: Congress, under Title IV of Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (PDF, 40 KB), established the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP). The purpose of the CFLR Program is to encourage the collaborative, science-based ecosystem restoration of priority forest landscapes.


Collaborative Forest Restoration Act (P.L.106-393, Title VI):  This act establishes the Collaborative Forest Restoration Program (CFRP) in New Mexico. CFRP is a cost-sharing program that promotes collaborative forest restoration projects on public land. Multiparty monitoring is a key requirement of CFRP projects.

Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 USC Title 5): FACA provides detailed rules for federal agencies working with collaborative groups and integrating their ideas into decisions. The intent of FACA is to ensure access for all citizens in agency policy decisions.


Healthy Forests Restoration Act: The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 significantly changed the way the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management do fuel reduction projects to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire. In addition to specifying how special fuels reduction projects should be created and implemented, the law also promotes use of biomass and small diameter materials; creates a forest reserve program; provides technical assistance for private landowners, and addresses insect infestations and other environmental threats to healthy forests.


National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  One of the primary goals of the NEPA is to encourage meaningful public input and involvement in the process of evaluating the environmental impacts of proposed federal actions. A NEPA Task Force found that collaborative approaches to engaging the public and assessing the impacts of federal actions under NEPA can improve the quality of decision-making and increase public trust and confidence in agency decisions.


Secure Rural Schools (Public Law 106-393): Since 1908, the federal government has paid the states between one-quarter to one-half of the revenue received from National Forest System lands, with  payments to be used primarily for schools and road maintenance by the counties in which those federal lands are located. With the steep decline in federal timber sales in the late 1980s, revenue to local governments also declined. In response, Congress passed the Secure Schools Act in 2000 to stabilize payments to counties and to "make additional investments in, and create additional employment opportunities through projects that improve the maintenance of existing infrastructure, implement stewardship objectives that enhance forest ecosystems, and restore and improve land health and water quality." The Act also establishes Resource Advisory Committees, a collaborative mechanism for local communities to design, fund and implmenent many types of restoration projects.


Service First Authority (P. L. 106-291, 109-54, 110-329, 111-8):  The laws creating Service First give the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture the authority to establish pilot programs involving certain land management agencies to conduct activities jointly or on behalf of one another; collocate in federal offices or leased facilities; make reciprocal delegations of their respective authorities, duties and responsibilities, and make transfer of funds and reimbursement of funds on an annual basis, including transfers and reimbursements for multi-year projects. Service First is a concept of organizing work with an external focus. It's about achieving the timeless goals of land stewardship and quality public service.


Stewardship Contracting: The 2003 Appropriations Act (16 U.S.C. 2104 Note) provides the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management ten-year authority to enter into stewardship contracts and agreements. Stewardship contracting is intended to promote collaborative working relationships with local communities, improve land conditions, and help develop sustainable rural economies by developing, implementing, and monitoring projects collaboratively. Final agency direction became effective December 12, 2005.


Tribal Forest Protection Act (P.L. 108-278): The Tribal Forest Protection Act (TFPA) establishes a process for tribes to work collaboratively with federal agencies to perform hazardous fuel reduction and forest health projects on federal lands adjacent to tribal lands.

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