- The Root & Stem Act authorizes the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to propose and enter into stewardship contracts and agreements prior to completion of an environmental review.
- Root & Stem projects must be developed through a collaborative process.
- Through the Root & Stem projects, the preparation of the environmental analysis may be included as a service item (i.e. paid for with timber receipts) in the stewardship contract or agreement, provided that the eligible entity contracts the work to an independent third party and the agency retains decision authority for the environmental analysis and the project.
Both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management need to accomplish more hazardous fuels reduction work in order to reduce the risk or catastrophic wildfire and promote wildlife habitat. Expanding collaboration and including the preparation of environmental analysis in the collaborative process will help ensure the agencies to are able to expand capacity and get more work done on the ground.
The Root & Stem Project Authorization Act is modeled off a collaboratively developed, forest restoration project piloted in the Colville National Forest. The approach taken in the Colville allowed for project design and development that reflected the desires of the community and allowed for the more timely and efficient treatment of 54,000 acres. This bill takes lessons learned from this project to codify and affirm the agency’s ability to enter into stewardship contracts of this nature.
NLBMDA members are encouraged to contact their elected officials and ask them to cosponsor and pass the Root & Stem Project Authorization Act of 2023 (H.R.674/S.188).