Partnerships

Good Neighbor and Stewardship Agreements

The Importance of Cross-Boundary Collaboration in R5

To maximize the benefits of land management, the Forest Service and partners need to collaboratively engage in the Shared Stewardship of our natural resources across jurisdictional boundaries to address natural resource challenges on a landscape scale. Shared Stewardship can increase the impact of our restoration work and enable us to more actively manage our lands through leveraging the strengths of different organizations. Cross-boundary collaboration also directly contributes to the Forest Service vision to increase pace and scale of restoration across our National Forests. Collaboration increases the Forest Service’s ability to leverage non-federal resources and expertise. With fixed capacity on the Forest Service side, and an immense need for forest and watershed restoration work, Good Neighbor and Stewardship Authorities allow us to strengthen coordination with partners to increase pace and scale of restoration.

What is the Good Neighbor Authority?

The Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) allows the Forest Service to enter into agreements with State, County, and Tribal agencies to perform forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration services on, and adjacent to, National Forest System lands. The authority allows the Forest Service to enter into up to 10-year agreements with partner agencies that have the mandate to conduct forest and watershed restoration activities, who then perform the activities on behalf of the Forest Service. Adjacency of land is not required, and the there are no restrictions on mutual interests or mutual benefits. What is unique about the GNA is that there is no match requirement for partner contribution, although a match is recommended.

What are Stewardship Agreements?

Stewardship agreements (SA) are a tool that the Forest Service can use to engage any non-federal partner when there is mutual interest and mutual benefit presented in a proposed project to be implemented on National Forest System lands. The project(s) under the agreement must meet one of the seven land management goals specified in policy under the Stewardship Authority. SA can be entered into for up to 20 years. SA have a 20% minimum match requirement.

Good Neighbor vs. Stewardship Agreements

It is important to use the right tool for the right project with the right partner. There are some key differences between Good Neighbor and Stewardship agreements that both the Forest Service and partner should consider when selecting what instrument to utilize. Some of those differences are summarized below and more in-depth discussion can be found here.

Agreement Good Neighbor Authority Stewardship Authority
Eligible Partners State, County*, or Tribe* Any non-Federal entity
Maximum Agreement Duration 10 years 20 years
Project Goals Forest, rangeland, and watershed restoration services. Including insect and disease work; hazardous fuels; and any other activities to restore or improve forest, rangeland, and watershed health, including fish, and wildlife habit. Must meet one of the 7 land management goals outlined in the law
Match requirement None, but a match is recommended ≥20%

*Counties and tribes cannot do timber sales under their own GNA agreements, only in support of a State GNA agreement
There are also other instruments that can be used to enter into an agreement with the Forest Service. You can find out more about these instrument on our Partnerships 101 website.

Contact Us

For project specific inquiries, you can contact the Forest Service or partner contact listed in the Good Neighbor agreement project list or the Stewardship agreement project list.

Alternatively, you can reach out to the relevant Forest Service staff member, below, for general questions.

Jason Ko
Good Neighbor Authority Program Coordinator
State and Private Forestry, Pacific Southwest Region
Email: jason.ko@usda.gov
Office: 707-562-8875

Greg Schroer
Stewardship Agreement Program Coordinator
Ecosystem Conservation, Pacific Southwest Region
Email: greg.schroer@usda.gov
Office: 707-562-8930

Good Neighbor and Stewardship Authority Resources

Master vs. Supplemental Project Agreements

The Forest Service can enter into a Master Good Neighbor or Master Stewardship Agreement (MSA) with its partners. These Master Agreements establish the intent to collaborate and define the broad parameters and geographic area for collaboration in terms of topics of interest and logistics such as roles and responsibilities. No funding or implementation commitments are made in Master Agreements. Once specific project(s) and project areas have been identified, partners develop and sign Supplemental Project Agreement(s) (SPA) which are tiered to the Master Agreement. Usually, one SPA encompasses one project, although modifications to SPAs may add additional projects. SPAs tend to have a shorter timeline, which parallels the anticipated project-level timeline, that fall within the Master Agreement’s timeline. The Master and Supplemental Project Agreement system allows for long term cross-boundary collaboration between the Forest Service and partners. Note that the Forest Service can, and does, also enter into standalone Stewardship or Good Neighbor agreements, too.

Roles and Responsibilities

There are a variety of roles and responsibilities that both the Forest Service and partner can take on within Good Neighbor and Stewardship Agreements. Depending on the capacity of the partner agency, and the comfort level of National Forest leadership on engaging with partners on various projects, the partner agency can take on anywhere from small parts of implementation to nearly all of a project. The specifics should be clearly delineated for each step of project implementation in the agreements, and SPAs or modifications as relevant, but there are some pointers to keep in mind. The Forest Service is responsible for the NEPA Decision, although the overall process (i.e. work leading up to the NEPA Decision) and project execution may rely more heavily on the partner. In general, it is important that the Forest Service staff are comfortable delegating tasks to partners and that both parties are able to establish and maintain regular communication.

This spreadsheet can help the Forest Service and partners think about the various roles and responsibilities to discuss.

Good Neighbor Authority in Region 5

You can find the list of active Good Neighbor agreements here, which includes contacts, agreement numbers, and additional project information. The Pacific Southwest Region released this one-page overview on the Good Neighbor Authority. You can also learn more about Good Neighbor agreements and partnerships we are engaged in nationally here. Another good resource for how GNA is being implemented across the West can be found here.

Relevant Legislation and Guidance

You can find the relevant regulations on the Good Neighbor Authority in the Forest Service Handbook. You can also find proposed Good Neighbor updates to the 2019 Farm Bill.

GNA Agreement Templates

For Forest Service staff, you can access the most up to date Good Neighbor Agreement templates here. Partners, please contact your local Forest Service representative for the most recent fillable versions.

Training Slidedeck

The slidedecks on Good Neighbor Authority from the Region 5 Stewardship and Good Neighbor Authority Agreements Workshop that was held February 27-March 1, 2019 can be found here:

Example Good Neighbor Authority Agreements

Below are some examples of Good Neighbor agreements and SPAs that are being implemented in Region 5:

Stewardship Agreements in Region 5

You can download the list of active Stewardship Agreements, whose implementation will be partially managed by partners. For potential partners and/or contractors interested in engaging in the projects listed under the Supplemental Project Agreements, please monitor the Schedule of Proposed Actions (SOPA) in Region 5 and communicate with the agreement points of contact.

Relevant Legislation

The national Stewardship Contracting Reporting, Guidance, and Directives website is an excellent resource for in depth information on the guidance, legislation, and authorities governing stewardship contracting and agreement processes. The Forest Service handbook section governing stewardship can be downloaded here.

Stewardship Agreement Templates

For Forest Service staff, you can access the most up to date Stewardship Agreement templates here. Partners, please contact your local Forest Service representative for the most recent fillable versions.

Training Slidedeck

The slidedecks on Stewardship Agreement from the Region 5 Stewardship and Good Neighbor Authority Agreements Workshop that was held February 27-March 1, 2019 can be found here:

Example Stewardship Agreements

Below are some examples of Stewardship agreements and SPAs that are being implemented in Region 5:

GNA & SA Resources





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