Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the benefits of the Forest Service Economic Recovery Program resource management work?

A: Immediate private sector jobs, increased energy independence for America, a workforce trained for a long-lived Green Industry, a cleaner environment, a more stable economic base for land stewardship projects, a restoration of forest and grasslands.

Many of the communities most affected by the economic downturn are located near national forests. Our employees are woven into the community fabric; we know local needs, and we have the local capacity to provide training and employment.

Forest Service Economic Recovery projects will provide private sector employment opportunities to reinvigorate local economies through work on forests and rangelands. America’s lands and waters will be healthier because of work that includes:

  • The removal of brush from overgrown, dense forests.
  • Forest and rangeland stewardship projects across multiple ownerships.
  • Watershed and stream restoration, small dam reconstruction and construction of modern timber bridges, road, culvert and stream channel repair.
  • Road and trail maintenance and decommissioning.
  • Stewardship of city parks and urban forests.
  • Maintenance and Greening of recreation sites and facilities.

Q: How is the Program being coordinated and carried out?
A: The Forest Service will monitor, track and account for all stimulus funds dedicated to this proposal. The agency has already identified “shovel-ready” projects that can be undertaken immediately. Each Region, Area, Station will have an executive designated as the Economic Recovery Executive for that unit. A small core team of executives will develop program functions and accountability and will monitor, track and account for all stimulus funds dedicated to this proposal.

For the past two months, we have been addressing our needs to increase our contracting and agreements management capacity and developing strategies to prioritize workload and to apply our efforts as effectively as possible to meet the work ahead of us. Our Business Operations staffs will be primed and ready to handle the additional workload related to hiring, budgets, acquisitions, and payroll processing.

Q: How will the Program help in increasing America’s energy independence?
A: Biomass gleaned from the forests as a Hazardous Fuels Reduction project can be burned to produce energy. This wood biomass can also be converted into ethanol as an alternate energy source.


Q: What is the capacity of the Forest Service to begin immediate work on reducing hazardous fuels?
A: We estimate that about 1.4 million acres on the National Forests are “shovel ready projects” for hazardous fuels reduction. Further, we estimate that another 5 million acres of hazardous fuels treatment work can be ready within a reasonable timeframe, as necessary – through NEPA and projects that are non-controversial or can be categorically excluded. Most of the work will be through contracts to the private sector.

The Forest Service’s Economic Recovery Program immediately creates private sector jobs:

  • that remove dense underbrush and other hazardous vegetation from crowded forest lands. This will help fires burn in a beneficial manner, with less risk to people and homes in developed areas. This will help reduce the number of large catastrophic fires -- diminishing their rate, severity and size and will protect communities from the risk of wildfires (Hazardous Fuels Reduction),
  • that complete construction projects to repair and upgrade recreation and Forest Service facilities and perform roads maintenance (Infrastructure Repair and Upgrades),
  • that establish a stable, broad-based program utilizing wood as an alternative to fossil fuels (Wood to Energy), and
  • that improve the health of urban forests.

Q: Of all of the jobs that will be created within the Project, how many will be Forest Service jobs and how many will be in the private sector?
A: Almost all of the jobs created will be in the private sector. The role of the Forest Service is to help facilitate and coordinate the program. It is estimated that about 1-2 percent of the total jobs will be for the Forest Service to help deploy planned actions. Such agency jobs will include contracting specialists; engineering specialists; forestry technicians; and program specialists -- primarily in land restoration. To be sure, the number of Forest Service jobs will be very small in relation to the total jobs created.

We already provide some of the best, most dependable private sector rural jobs in America, and we have opportunities for many more, including millions of acres of needed restoration work and a huge backlog of shovel-ready projects related to roads, bridges, buildings, and recreational facilities.

Under the Program, the Forest Service will increase private sector employment and expand training opportunities for Job Corps enrollees. These actions will enhance the so-called Green Industry and provide long term stability.