Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act

Updated: April 4, 2014

This site is currently being updated to include payment reports that were announced on April 4, 2014.

Secure Rural Schools Act reauthorized for 1 year on October 2, 2013

On October 2, 2013 Congress passed a one year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act as part of HR 527 Helium Stewardship Act. Additional information will continue to be posted as it becomes available.

Reauthorization for Fiscal Years 2013

Title I, Secure Payments

Full Funding Amount 

The full funding amount for FY 2013 for all counties that elect to receive a share of the State payment is 95 percent of the FY 2012 amount. For FY 2013, the full funding amount is $328,961,250.00 and includes the amount to be paid by the Bureau of Land Management to counties in western Oregon.

Deadline to elect to receive payment is December 31, 2013

Each county in which a national forest is located must elect to receive a share of the State payment or a share of the State’s 25-percent payment. Each county must make its election, communicate the election to the State, and have the State transmit the election to the Forest Service by December 31, 2013. This date is also the deadline for county elections to allocate the State payment to be transmitted to the Forest Service.  The county elections are effective for FY2013.  Also see Secure Payments / Election & Allocations Guidelines.

Governor's transmittal of election to receive payment

A county’s election to receive a payment must be transmitted by the Governor of each eligible State. The Forest Service will not accept an election directly from a county or from any organization acting on behalf of a county. County elections must be transmitted by the Governor’s office or other appropriate executive office of the State, such as State Treasurer, on behalf of the Governor. The Forest Service will send a a letter and form to the eligible States about specific procedures by which county elections are to be transmitted to the Forest Service acting on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture.  

Failure to elect to receive a payment

If the Governor or other appropriate executive office of an eligible State fails to transmit the election for an eligible county by the deadline the county shall be considered to have elected to receive a share of the State payment.

Deadline to allocate the State payment among titles is December 31, 2013.

By December 31, 2013, the Governor of an eligible State must transmit to the Forest Service the election of an eligible county to allocate its share of the State payment among titles II and III, or both, or to return funds to the Forest Service. The Forest Service will not accept an allocation election directly from a county or from any organization acting on behalf of a county. Elections must be transmitted by the Governor’s office or other appropriate executive office of the State, such as State Treasurer, on behalf of the Governor. This date is also the deadline for county elections to receive payment to be transmitted to the Forest Service. The Forest Service will send a letter and form with instructions to the eligible States about transmitting county elections to the Forest Service acting on behalf of the Secretary of Agriculture.  Also see Secure Payments / Election & Allocations Guidelines.

Allocation guidelines

The guidelines for allocating among titles vary depending on the amount of the county share of the State payment. Projected county share of the FY 2013 State payment for all affected counties is shown on the Secure Payments / Payments and Receipts page.

  • $100,000 or less.  An eligible county that elects to receive a share of the State payment that is $100,000 or less (a minor distribution) may elect to use 100-percent of its share for public roads and schools under title I. Prior to 2011, a county that elects to receive a minor distribution must make an affirmative election to use the 100-percent of its share for title I purposes. This is a new requirement. The county also may opt to allocate its share in the same manner as a county with a share that is $350,000 or greater, as described below. An eligible county that receives a minor distribution that fails to elect to allocate its payment shall be considered to have elected to expend 80 percent of its share of the State payment for public schools and roads. The remaining 20-percent will be available to the Forest Service to carry out projects in the eligible county to further the purposes of title II. This is a new requirement.

An eligible county that elects to receive a share of the State payment that is more than $100,000 is required to allocate at least 15-percent but no more than 20-percent of its share to title II projects, title III projects, or both, or return the funds to the Federal government. An eligible county that receives a share of the State payment of $350,000 or more has additional restrictions. The following is a summary of the allocations guidelines.

  • $100,001 to $349,999. If the county share of the State payment is more than $100,000 but less than $350,000, the county must allocate 15-percent to 20-percent of its share to title II, title III, or a combination of both. The total percentage allocated to title II and/or title III must be no less than 15 percent and no greater than 20 percent. The county also may opt to return its allocation, in whole or part, to the Federal Government.
  • $350,000 or greater. If the county share of the State payment is $350,000 or greater, the county must allocate 15-percent to 20-percent of its share to title II, title III, or a combination of both, except that the allocation for title III projects may not exceed 7 percent. The total percentage allocated to title II and title III combined must be no less than 15 percent and no greater than 20 percent. The county also may opt to return its allocation, in whole or part, to the Federal Government.

Failure to allocate the State payment 

If the Governor of an eligible State fails to transmit the election of an eligible county’s allocation of its share of the State payment by December 31, 2013, the county shall be considered to have elected to expend 80 percent of its share of the State payment for public schools and roads. The remaining 20 percent will be available to the Forest Service to carry out projects in the eligible county to further the purposes of title II.  The Act does not require that the Forest Service’s use of the remaining 20 percent be reviewed or recommended by a resource advisory committee.

Title II, Special Projects on national forests

Authorized uses of title II funds

The authorized uses of title II funds are unchanged. Title II funds are authorized for projects that protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat; improve the maintenance of existing Forest Service infrastructure; protect and enhance ecosystems on the national forests; and restore and improve land health and water quality. The projects have objectives that may include maintenance or obliteration of Forest Service roads, trails and infrastructure; improvement of soil productivity; improvements in forest ecosystem health; restoration and maintenance of watersheds; control of noxious and exotic weeds; and reestablishment of native species. Projects funded under title II must be on national forests or benefit the resources on national forests.

Use of title II funds for resource advisory committee administrative expenses

The reauthorized Act allows a resource advisory committee to recommend the use of not more than 10 percent of the title II funds for administrative expenses associated with operating the committee.

Existing advisory committee charter and members

The reauthorized Act provides that a resource advisory committee established before September 29, 2011, may be deemed by the Secretary to be a resource advisory committee for the purposes of title II and a committee charter filed on or before September 29, 2011, shall be considered to be filed for the purposes of the reauthorized Act. All committees active under the previous Act had charters filed before September 29, 2011.

The Secretary approved and filed a new charter for these committees to enable the committees to continue their monitoring duties under PL110-143. In a July 25, 2012 decision memo, the Secretary of Agriculture deemed the existing resource advisory committees authorized under PL 110-343 to be committees for the purposes of title II in the reauthorized Act (PL 112-141) and approved the current charter and the members in good standing for the purposes of the reauthorized Act.

Deadline to initiate title II projects is September 30, 2014

The deadline to initiate title II projects is September 30, 2014. For purposes of title II, a project is considered to be initiated when a resource advisory committee recommends the project to the Forest Service.  The recommendation is documented in the committee's meeting minutes.

Deadline to obligate title II funds is September 30, 2014

The deadline to obligate FY 2013 funds for title II projects is September 30, 2014. The deadline to obligate FY 2008-2012 title II funds is extended to September 30, 2014.

Title III, County Funds

Deadline to initiate title III projects is September 30, 2014

The deadline for a county to initiate title III projects is September 30, 2014. This deadline applies to projects using FY 2008-2012 funds as well as those for FY 2013 funding.

The county’s initiation of a title III project must be documented. For the purposes of title III, a project may be considered to be initiated at a point in time before the county publishes its intention to use title III funds for an authorized project in a publication of local record as required in section 302(b). The Forest Service recommends that the county document its initiation of title III projects in the meeting minutes of its county governing body (e.g. board of commissioners) which reflect the county’s agreement to use the funds for the authorized uses in title III.

Deadline to obligate title III funds is September 30, 2014

The deadline to obligate title III funds is September 30, 2014. This deadline applies to FY 2008-2012 title III funds as well as those to be received for FY 2013. The Forest Service recommends that a county’s procedure for and documentation of its obligation of title III funds be consistent with its procedures to obligate funds from other Federal sources. 

Authorized uses of title III funds

There are no changes to the authorized uses of title III county funds in the reauthorized Act. However, as a result of a recent audit of county uses of title III funds by the Government Accountability Office, the Forest Service will update the information on the website, including the title III frequently asked questions, to further clarify the type of expenditures allowed under title III. 

Section 100101(b)

Failure to have made an election to allocate the FY 2011 payment

If a county failed to make a timely election to allocate its share of the FY 2011 State payment to title II and/or title III, 15 percent of the county distribution was returned to the U.S. Treasury. The reauthorized Act provides that these amounts be made available to the Forest Service to carry out projects that further the purposes of title II. The Act does not require such uses be reviewed or recommended by a resource advisory committee.