The Ottawa National Forest has one Secure Rural Schools Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) that is chartered by the USDA. Members of the RAC are vetted and designated by the Secretary of the USDA, and meet under Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) regulations. All meetings are open to the public.
A Secure Rural Schools RAC provides recommendations to the Forest Service on the development and implement of special projects on federal lands as authorized under the Secure Rural Schools Act and Community Self-Determination Act in Public Law 110-343. This act was most recently reauthorized for two years by section 41202 of Public Law 117-58 (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) and signed into law by the President on November 15, 2021.
As of January 2023, all 15 seats on the Ottawa RAC are vacant. In December 2022, we nominated new volunteers to serve on the RAC. The nomination package is currently under review by the USDA, and we hope a new RAC will be appointed by spring 2023.
While serving on the RAC, members will have an opportunity to
- review projects;
- recommend which projects receive funding;
- to participate openly and meaningfully in project development;
- to monitor projects approved under the Act;
- to advise the designated federal official on the progress of monitoring; and
- to make recommendations for any appropriate changes or adjustments to projects being monitored.
Committee members serve four-year terms and must be residents of Michigan. They have to submit a candidate package which is reviewed by the US Department of Agriculture. The Department makes the final decision on who is on the RAC.
Membership in the RAC must represent three categories of interests, including:
1. Labor, business, commercial interests
2. Environmental, conservation, dispersed recreation interests
3. Tribal, state, and local governments
Travel expenses for RAC participation are reimbursable.
Any person who falls into one of those broad categories who wishes to apply should download a background check and member interest form here or call 906-932-1330 for a candidate application package. Applications are accepted through September 2022.
Send signed applications (membership interest form and AD-755) to:
E6248 US Hwy 2
Ironwood, MI 49938
Secure Rural Schools and Resource Advisory Committees
In 2000, Congress signed the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) and Community Self-Determination Act (Public Law 106- 393), also known as Payments to Counties.
Through SRS federal government provides funds to counties which contain National Forest System lands to reimburse county and local governments for the potential loss of revenue from property taxes. Funds are spent through Resource Advisory Committees (RAC).
The purpose of the RAC is to make recommendations on the use and expenditure of those federal funds through projects proposed by counties and other interested parties. These funds cannot be utilized until the RAC is formed and makes recommendations on how to utilize the available funds.
The national forest works with the RAC to select projects available for funding under Title II of the Act. The purposes of the Act include making additional investments in, and creating employment opportunities through Title II funded 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 funds may be used for projects that enjoy broad based support and have objectives that may include-
- road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration;
- soil productivity improvement;
- improvements in forest ecosystem health;
- watershed restoration and maintenance;
- the restoration, maintenance, and improvement of wildlife and fish habitat;
- the control of noxious and exotic weeds; and
- the re-establishment of native species.
The funds available through SRS cannot be utilized for until the RAC is formed and makes recommendations on how to use the available funds.
New RAC Project Proposal
No new projects are currently being accepted. We hope to invite new project proposals in spring and summer 2023.
Additional information is available in the FACA Database.