Key Accomplishments

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorized $1.15 billion to the USDA Forest Service to help reinvigorate the economy while restoring natural resources.

The programs funded under the Recovery Act will create jobs that invest in or leverage the investments of partners and contribute to sustainable operations including reducing the environmental footprint of infrastructure and/or greener operations of administrative and recreation sites, roads, trails, and facilities.

$650 million for capital improvement and maintenance projects (roads, bridges, trails, facilities, and abandoned mine work) (407 projects)

$500 million for wildland fire management activities (fuels reduction and forest health protection) on State and Federal lands
  • $250 million on Federal lands (160 projects) and
  • $250 million on State and private lands (138 projects).
  • Up to $50 million of the wildland fire management funds are to be used for wood-to-energy grants to increase biomass utilization from Federal, state, and private lands.
705 projects throughout the nation, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. 

Meeting Resource and Other Needs with ARRA Funding

The Forest Service is also assuring that Recovery Act funds are having positive outcomes with key partners including: states, tribes, small business owners, urban and rural communities; youth education and job training opportunities; and addressing other resource issues in ways to create more jobs that help transform community and rural economies.
Fire Risk Reduction
Caitlin Stark clears cut brush to help restore the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie to its original condition. Click to enlarge.Forest Service Recovery Act  funds help reduce fire risk directly and indirectly. Primarily thinning vegetation that fuels large intense wildfire directly minimizes fire risk. Recovery Act projects are also helping reduce long-term fire risk through ecological restoration, which restores landscapes to a more natural state where fire is less intense and balanced with other ecological processes.

Green Energy – Sustainable Operations
Workers install solar panels on the Wayne NF headquarters facility. Click to enlarge.The Forest Service is using Recovery Act funds to reduce our environmental footprint through improved energy efficiency, including shifting toward renewable resources such as solar, wind, and woody biomass utilization; reducing operational and maintenance costs while minimizing waste generation and reducing landfill; and increasing the number of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified Forest Service buildings.

Green Energy – Wood-to-Energy
Woody biomass being gathered. Click to enlarge.The Forest Service is using Recovery Act funds to support the sustainable utilization of woody biomass to help meet the nation’s energy needs through wood. Using wood biomass for renewable energy provides opportunities to improve energy security, reduce energy costs, and enhance economic development across rural communities while facilitating restoration of forests and ecosystems.

Collaboration with Tribal Groups
A Chumash Tribal fire crew thins the dense brush on the Santa Barbara Ranger District. This Recovery Act project will help reduce the size and scale of forest fires by clearing brush and removing dead trees. Click to enlarge.Forest Service Recovery Act funds are providing job opportunities for Tribes as well as improving habitat and watersheds that support rural subsistence for traditional uses and food sources from land and water resources. In addition, activities funded by wildland fire management are providing increased wildfire protection for Tribal lands through hazardous fuels reduction projects adjacent to Tribal communities. Also, woody material being removed through hazardous fuels reduction projects is available for Tribal forest products industry, as well as for local woody biomass utilization facilities. Several projects will support the maintenance and development of infrastructure for the local timber and electrical generation industries.

Connections with Youth
Forest Service construction specialist Brian Wilson (l) instructs Job Corps students Rashad Baker-Johnson (c) and Brandon Ausec (r) on the proper method of installing a low-flow toilet valve. Click to enlarge.Section 702 of the General Provisions of the Recovery Act directs the Secretary of Agriculture “…to utilize…the Public Lands Corps, Youth Conservation Corps, Student Conservation Association, Job Corps and other related partnerships…to serve young adults.” The Forest Service will provide youth opportunities to cultivate work, social, and education skills, learn marketable skills such as masonry, carpentry, painting, green-building techniques, or other experiences to prepare them for future employment. The Forest Service’s 28 Job Corps Centers will be an integral part of developing a highly skilled workforce of future land stewards and a cadre of leaders interested in public service.