[USC02] 16 USC CHAPTER 84, SUBCHAPTER VI: MISCELLANEOUS
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16 USC CHAPTER 84, SUBCHAPTER VI: MISCELLANEOUS
From Title 16—CONSERVATIONCHAPTER 84—HEALTHY FOREST RESTORATION

SUBCHAPTER VI—MISCELLANEOUS

§6591. Forest stands inventory and monitoring program to improve detection of and response to environmental threats

(a) In general

The Secretary of Agriculture shall carry out a comprehensive program to inventory, monitor, characterize, assess, and identify forest stands (with emphasis on hardwood forest stands) and potential forest stands—

(1) in units of the National Forest System (other than those units created from the public domain); and

(2) on private forest land, with the consent of the owner of the land.

(b) Issues to be addressed

In carrying out the program, the Secretary shall address issues including—

(1) early detection, identification, and assessment of environmental threats (including insect, disease, invasive species, fire, and weather-related risks and other episodic events);

(2) loss or degradation of forests;

(3) degradation of the quality forest stands caused by inadequate forest regeneration practices;

(4) quantification of carbon uptake rates; and

(5) management practices that focus on preventing further forest degradation.

(c) Early warning system

In carrying out the program, the Secretary shall develop a comprehensive early warning system for potential catastrophic environmental threats to forests to increase the likelihood that forest managers will be able to—

(1) isolate and treat a threat before the threat gets out of control; and

(2) prevent epidemics, such as the American chestnut blight in the first half of the twentieth century, that could be environmentally and economically devastating to forests.

(d) Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2004 through 2008.

(Pub. L. 108–148, title VI, §601, Dec. 3, 2003, 117 Stat. 1914.)

§6591a. Designation of treatment areas

(a) Definition of declining forest health

In this section, the term "declining forest health" means a forest that is experiencing—

(1) substantially increased tree mortality due to insect or disease infestation; or

(2) dieback due to infestation or defoliation by insects or disease.

(b) Designation of treatment areas

(1) Initial areas

Not later than 60 days after February 7, 2014, the Secretary shall, if requested by the Governor of the State, designate as part of an insect and disease treatment program 1 or more landscape-scale areas, such as subwatersheds (sixth-level hydrologic units, according to the System of Hydrologic Unit Codes of the United States Geological Survey), in at least 1 national forest in each State that is experiencing an insect or disease epidemic.

(2) Additional areas

After the end of the 60-day period described in paragraph (1), the Secretary may designate additional landscape-scale areas under this section as needed to address insect or disease threats.

(c) Requirements

To be designated a landscape-scale area under subsection (b), the area shall be—

(1) experiencing declining forest health, based on annual forest health surveys conducted by the Secretary;

(2) at risk of experiencing substantially increased tree mortality over the next 15 years due to insect or disease infestation, based on the most recent National Insect and Disease Risk Map published by the Forest Service; or

(3) in an area in which the risk of hazard trees poses an imminent risk to public infrastructure, health, or safety.

(d) Treatment of areas

(1) In general

The Secretary may carry out priority projects on Federal land in the areas designated under subsection (b)—

(A) to reduce the risk or extent of, or increase the resilience to, insect or disease infestation; or

(B) to reduce hazardous fuels.

(2) Authority

Any project under paragraph (1) for which a public notice to initiate scoping is issued on or before September 30, 2023, may be carried out in accordance with subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 6512 of this title, and sections 6514, 6515, and 6516 of this title.

(3) Effect

Projects carried out under this subsection shall be considered authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects for purposes of the authorities described in paragraph (2).

(4) Report

(A) In general

In accordance with the schedule described in subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall issue 2 reports on actions taken to carry out this subsection, including—

(i) an evaluation of the progress towards project goals; and

(ii) recommendations for modifications to the projects and management treatments.

(B) Schedule

The Secretary shall—

(i) not earlier than September 30, 2018, issue the initial report under subparagraph (A); and

(ii) not earlier than September 30, 2024, issue the second report under that subparagraph.

(e) Tree retention

The Secretary shall carry out projects under subsection (d) in a manner that maximizes the retention of old-growth and large trees, as appropriate for the forest type, to the extent that the trees promote stands that are resilient to insects and disease.

(Pub. L. 108–148, title VI, §602, as added Pub. L. 113–79, title VIII, §8204, Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 915; amended Pub. L. 115–334, title VIII, §§8407(b), 8408, Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4846, 4847.)

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 115–334, §8407(b)(1), substituted "subsection (b)—" and subpars. (A) and (B) for "subsection (b) to reduce the risk or extent of, or increase the resilience to, insect or disease infestation in the areas."

Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 115–334, §8407(b)(2), substituted "2023" for "2018".

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 115–334, §8408, struck out subsec. (f). Prior to amendment, text read as follows: "There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2024."

§6591b. Administrative review

(a) In general

Except as provided in subsection (d), a project described in subsection (b) that is conducted in accordance with section 6591a(d) of this title may be—

(1) considered an action categorically excluded from the requirements of Public Law 91–190 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); and

(2) exempt from the special administrative review process under section 6515 of this title.

(b) Collaborative restoration project

(1) In general

A project referred to in subsection (a) is a project to carry out forest restoration treatments that—

(A) maximizes the retention of old-growth and large trees, as appropriate for the forest type, to the extent that the trees promote stands that are resilient to insects and disease;

(B) considers the best available scientific information to maintain or restore the ecological integrity, including maintaining or restoring structure, function, composition, and connectivity; and

(C) is developed and implemented through a collaborative process that—

(i) includes multiple interested persons representing diverse interests; and

(ii)(I) is transparent and nonexclusive; or

(II) meets the requirements for a resource advisory committee under subsections (c) through (f) of section 7125 of this title.

(2) Inclusion

A project under this subsection may carry out part of a proposal that complies with the eligibility requirements of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program under section 7303(b) of this title.

(c) Limitations

(1) Project size

A project under this section may not exceed 3000 acres.

(2) Location

A project under this section shall be limited to areas—

(A) in the wildland-urban interface; or

(B) Condition Classes 2 or 3 in Fire Regime Groups I, II, or III, outside the wildland-urban interface.

(3) Roads

(A) Permanent roads

(i) Prohibition on establishment

A project under this section shall not include the establishment of permanent roads.

(ii) Existing roads

The Secretary may carry out necessary maintenance and repairs on existing permanent roads for the purposes of this section.

(B) Temporary roads

The Secretary shall decommission any temporary road constructed under a project under this section not later than 3 years after the date on which the project is completed.

(d) Exclusions

This section does not apply to—

(1) a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System;

(2) any Federal land on which, by Act of Congress or Presidential proclamation, the removal of vegetation is restricted or prohibited;

(3) a congressionally designated wilderness study area; or

(4) an area in which activities under subsection (a) would be inconsistent with the applicable land and resource management plan.

(e) Forest management plans

All projects and activities carried out under this section shall be consistent with the land and resource management plan established under section 1604 of this title for the unit of the National Forest System containing the projects and activities.

(f) Public notice and scoping

The Secretary shall conduct public notice and scoping for any project or action proposed in accordance with this section.

(g) Accountability

(1) In general

The Secretary shall prepare an annual report on the use of categorical exclusions under this section that includes a description of all acres (or other appropriate unit) treated through projects carried out under this section.

(2) Submission

Not later than 1 year after February 7, 2014, and each year thereafter, the Secretary shall submit the reports required under paragraph (1) to—

(A) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate;

(B) the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate;

(C) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives;

(D) the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives; and

(E) the Government Accountability Office.

(Pub. L. 108–148, title VI, §603, as added Pub. L. 113–79, title VIII, §8204, Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 916.)

References in Text

Public Law 91–190, referred to in subsec. (a)(1), is Pub. L. 91–190, Jan. 1, 1970, 83 Stat. 852, known as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which is classified generally to chapter 55 (§4321 et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 4321 of Title 42 and Tables.

§6591c. Stewardship end result contracting projects

(a) Definitions

In this section:

(1) Chief

The term "Chief" means the Chief of the Forest Service.

(2) Director

The term "Director" means the Director of the Bureau of Land Management.

(b) Projects

The Chief and the Director, via agreement or contract as appropriate, may enter into stewardship contracting projects with private persons or other public or private entities to perform services to achieve land management goals for the national forests and the public lands that meet local and rural community needs.

(c) Land management goals

The land management goals of a project under subsection (b) may include any of the following:

(1) Road and trail maintenance or obliteration to restore or maintain water quality.

(2) Soil productivity, habitat for wildlife and fisheries, or other resource values.

(3) Setting of prescribed fires to improve the composition, structure, condition, and health of stands or to improve wildlife habitat.

(4) Removing vegetation or other activities to promote healthy forest stands, reduce fire hazards, or achieve other land management objectives.

(5) Watershed restoration and maintenance.

(6) Restoration and maintenance of wildlife and fish.

(7) Control of noxious and exotic weeds and reestablishing native plant species.

(d) Agreements or contracts

(1) Procurement procedure

A source for performance of an agreement or contract under subsection (b) shall be selected on a best-value basis, including consideration of source under other public and private agreements or contracts.

(2) Contract for sale of property

A contract entered into under this section may, at the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture, be considered a contract for the sale of property under such terms as the Secretary may prescribe without regard to any other provision of law.

(3) Term

(A) In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the Chief and the Director may enter into a contract under subsection (b) in accordance with section 3903 of title 41.

(B) Maximum

The period of the contract under subsection (b) may exceed 5 years but may not exceed 10 years.

(4) Offsets

(A) In general

The Chief and the Director may apply the value of timber or other forest products removed as an offset against the cost of services received under the agreement or contract described in subsection (b).

(B) Methods of appraisal

The value of timber or other forest products used as an offset under subparagraph (A)—

(i) shall be determined using appropriate methods of appraisal commensurate with the quantity of products to be removed; and

(ii) may—

(I) be determined using a unit of measure appropriate to the contracts; and

(II) may include valuing products on a per-acre basis.

(5) Relation to other laws

Notwithstanding subsections (d) and (g) of section 472a of this title, the Chief may enter into an agreement or contract under subsection (b). Notwithstanding the Materials Act of 1947 (30 U.S.C. 602(a)),1 the Director may enter into an agreement or contract under subsection (b).

(6) Contracting officer

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary or the Secretary of the Interior may determine the appropriate contracting officer to enter into and administer an agreement or contract under subsection (b).

(7) Fire liability provisions

Not later than 90 days after February 7, 2014, the Chief shall issue for use in all contracts and agreements under this section fire liability provisions that are in substantially the same form as the fire liability provisions contained in—

(A) integrated resource timber contracts, as described in the Forest Service contract numbered 2400–13, part H, section H.4; and

(B) timber sale contracts conducted pursuant to section 472a of this title.

(e) Receipts

(1) In general

The Chief and the Director may collect monies from an agreement or contract under subsection (b) if the collection is a secondary objective of negotiating the contract that will best achieve the purposes of this section.

(2) Use

Monies from an agreement or contract under subsection (b)—

(A) may be retained by the Chief and the Director; and

(B) shall be available for expenditure without further appropriation at the project site from which the monies are collected or at another project site.

(3) Relation to other laws

(A) In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the value of services received by the Chief or the Director under a stewardship contract project conducted under this section, and any payments made or resources provided by the contractor, Chief, or Director shall not be considered monies received from the National Forest System or the public lands.

(B) Knutson-Vanderberg 2 Act

The Act of June 9, 1930 (commonly known as the "Knutson-Vanderberg 2 Act") (16 U.S.C. 576 et seq.) shall not apply to any agreement or contract under subsection (b).

(f) Costs of removal

Notwithstanding the fact that a contractor did not harvest the timber, the Chief may collect deposits from a contractor covering the costs of removal of timber or other forest products under—

(1) section 490 of this title; and

(2) section 498 of this title.

(g) Performance and payment guarantees

(1) In general

The Chief and the Director may require performance and payment bonds under sections 28.103–2 and 28.103–3 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, in an amount that the contracting officer considers sufficient to protect the investment in receipts by the Federal Government generated by the contractor from the estimated value of the forest products to be removed under a contract under subsection (b).

(2) Excess offset value

If the offset value of the forest products exceeds the value of the resource improvement treatments, the Chief and the Director may—

(A) use the excess to satisfy any outstanding liabilities for cancelled agreements or contracts; or

(B) if there are no outstanding liabilities described in subparagraph (A), apply the excess to other authorized stewardship projects.

(h) Cancellation ceilings

(1) In general

Notwithstanding section 3903(b)(1) of title 41, the Chief and the Director may obligate funds in stages that are economically or programmatically viable to cover any potential cancellation or termination costs for an agreement or contract under subsection (b).

(2) Advance notice to Congress of cancellation ceiling in excess of $25,000,000

Not later than 30 days before entering into a multiyear agreement or contract under subsection (b) that includes a cancellation ceiling in excess of $25,000,000, but does not include proposed funding for the costs of cancelling the agreement or contract up to that cancellation ceiling, the Chief or the Director, as applicable, shall submit to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives a written notice that includes—

(A) a description of the cancellation ceiling amounts proposed for each program year in the agreement or contract;

(B) the reasons why the cancellation ceiling amounts described under subparagraph (A) were selected;

(C) a description of the extent to which the costs of contract cancellation are not included in the budget for the agreement or contract; and

(D) an assessment of the financial risk of not including budgeting for the costs of agreement or contract cancellation.

(3) Transmittal of notice to OMB

Not later than 14 days after the date on which written notice is provided under paragraph (2), the Chief or the Director, as appropriate, shall transmit a copy of the notice to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

(i) Monitoring and evaluation

(1) In general

The Chief and the Director shall establish a multiparty monitoring and evaluation process that accesses the stewardship contracting projects conducted under this section.

(2) Participants

Other than the Chief and Director, participants in the process described in paragraph (1) may include—

(A) any cooperating governmental agencies, including tribal governments; and

(B) any other interested groups or individuals.

(j) Reporting

Not later than 1 year after February 7, 2014, and annually thereafter, the Chief and the Director shall submit to the congressional committees described in subsection (h)(2) a report on—

(1) the status of development, execution, and administration of agreements or contracts under subsection (b);

(2) the specific accomplishments that have resulted; and

(3) the role of local communities in the development of agreements or contract plans.

(Pub. L. 108–148, title VI, §604, as added Pub. L. 113–79, title VIII, §8205(a), Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 918; amended Pub. L. 115–31, div. G, title IV, §422, May 5, 2017, 131 Stat. 499; Pub. L. 115–141, div. O, title II, §§204–206, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1064, 1065.)

References in Text

The Materials Act of 1947, referred to in subsec. (d)(5), is act July 31, 1947, ch. 406, 61 Stat. 681, which is classified generally to subchapter I (§601 et seq.) of chapter 15 of Title 30, Mineral Lands and Mining. Section 602(a) of Title 30 is section 2(a) of the Act. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 601 of Title 30 and Tables.

The Act of June 9, 1930, referred to in subsec. (e)(3)(B), is act June 9, 1930, ch. 416, 46 Stat. 527, popularly known as the Knutson-Vandenberg Act, which is classified generally to sections 576, 576a, and 576b of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 576 of this title and Tables.

Section 490 of this title, referred to in subsec. (f)(1), was in the original "the Act of August 11, 1916 (16 U.S.C. 490)", and was translated as referring to the undesignated provisions appearing in act Aug. 11, 1916, ch. 313, 39 Stat. 462, as amended, which are classified to section 490 of this title.

Section 498 of this title, referred to in subsec. (f)(2), was in the original "the Act of June 30, 1914 (16 U.S.C. 498)", and was translated as referring to the undesignated provisions appearing in act June 30, 1914, ch. 131, 38 Stat. 430, as amended, which are classified to section 498 of this title.

Amendments

2018—Subsec. (g)(2). Pub. L. 115–141, §205, added subpars. (A) and (B) and struck out former subpars. (A) and (B) which read as follows:

"(A) collect any residual receipts under the Act of June 9, 1930 (commonly known as the "Knutson-Vanderberg Act") (16 U.S.C. 576 et seq.); and

"(B) apply the excess to other authorized stewardship projects."

Subsecs. (h), (i). Pub. L. 115–141, §204, added subsec. (h) and redesignated former subsec. (h) as (i). Former subsec. (i) redesignated (j).

Subsec. (j). Pub. L. 115–141, §§204(1), 206, redesignated subsec. (i) as (j) and substituted "submit to the congressional committees described in subsection (h)(2) a report" for "report to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives" in introductory provisions.

2017—Subsec. (d)(5). Pub. L. 115–31, §422(1), inserted at end "Notwithstanding the Materials Act of 1947 (30 U.S.C. 602(a)), the Director may enter into an agreement or contract under subsection (b)."

Subsec. (d)(7). Pub. L. 115–31, §422(2), struck out "and the Director" after "the Chief" in introductory provisions.

20-Year Stewardship Contracting

Pub. L. 115–141, div. O, title II, §207, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1065, provided that:

"(a) In General.—The Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Interior may award contracts or agreements under section 604 of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511 [6591c]), for terms not to exceed 20 years on areas where the majority of Federal lands are in Fire Regime Groups I, II, or III.

"(b) Preference.—In awarding a contract under this section, the Secretary concerned [see Definitions note below] may, notwithstanding the Federal Acquisition Regulations, give a procurement preference to a contractor that would, as part of the contract, promote an innovative use of forest products, including cross-laminated timber."

Definitions

Pub. L. 115–141, div. O, title II, §201, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1062, provided that: "In this title [see Tables for classification]:

"(1) National forest system.—The term 'National Forest System' has the meaning given the term in section 11(a) of the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974 (16 U.S.C. 1609(a)).

"(2) Public land.—The term 'public land' has the meaning given the term 'public lands' in section 103 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1702).

"(3) Secretary concerned.—The term 'Secretary concerned' means—

"(A) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to National Forest System land; and

"(B) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public land."

1 See References in Text note below.

2 So in original. Probably should be "Knutson-Vandenberg".

§6591d. Wildfire resilience projects

(a) In general

Hazardous fuels reduction projects, as defined in section 6511(2) of this title may be—

(1) carried out in accordance with subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 6512 of this title and sections 6514 and 6515 of this title;

(2) considered an action categorically excluded from the requirements of Public Law 91–190 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); and

(3) exempt from the special administrative review process under section 6515 of this title.

(b) Collaborative restoration project

(1) In general

A project referred to in subsection (a) is a project to carry out forest restoration treatments that—

(A) maximizes the retention of old-growth and large trees, as appropriate for the forest type, to the extent that the trees promote stands that are resilient to insects and disease, and reduce the risk or extent of, or increase the resilience to, wildfires;

(B) considers the best available scientific information to maintain or restore the ecological integrity, including maintaining or restoring structure, function, composition, and connectivity; and

(C) is developed and implemented through a collaborative process that—

(i) includes multiple interested persons representing diverse interests; and

(ii)(I) is transparent and nonexclusive; or

(II) meets the requirements for a resource advisory committee under subsections (c) through (f) of section 7125 of this title.

(2) Inclusion

A project under this subsection may carry out part of a proposal that complies with the eligibility requirements of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program under section 7303(b) of this title.

(c) Limitations

(1) Project size

A project under this section may not exceed 3000 acres.

(2) Location

A project under this section shall be—

(A) Prioritized within the wildland-urban interface;

(B) If located outside the wildland-urban interface, limited to areas within Condition Classes 2 or 3 in Fire Regime Groups I, II, or III that contain very high wildfire hazard potential; and

(C) Limited to areas designated under section 6591a(b) of this title as of March 23, 2018.

(3) Roads

(A) Permanent roads

(i) Prohibition on establishment

A project under this section shall not include the establishment of permanent roads.

(ii) Existing roads

The Secretary may carry out necessary maintenance and repairs on existing permanent roads for the purposes of this section.

(B) Temporary roads

The Secretary shall decommission any temporary road constructed under a project under this section not later than 3 years after the date on which the project is completed.

(4) Extraordinary circumstances

The Secretary shall apply the extraordinary circumstances procedures under section 220.6 of title 36, code of Federal regulations 1 (or successor regulations), when using the categorical exclusion under this section.

(d) Exclusions

This section does not apply to—

(1) a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System;

(2) any Federal land on which, by Act of Congress or Presidential proclamation, the removal of vegetation is restricted or prohibited;

(3) a congressionally designated wilderness study area; or

(4) an area in which activities under subsection (a) would be inconsistent with the applicable land and resource management plan.

(e) Forest management plans

All projects and activities carried out under this section shall be consistent with the land and resource management plan established under section 1604 of this title for the unit of the National Forest System containing the projects and activities.

(f) Public notice and scoping

The Secretary shall conduct public notice and scoping for any project or action proposed in accordance with this section.

(g) Accountability

(1) In general

The Secretary shall prepare an annual report on the use of categorical exclusions under this section that includes a description of all acres (or other appropriate unit) treated through projects carried out under this section.

(2) Submission

Not later than 1 year after March 23, 2018, and each year thereafter, the Secretary shall submit the reports required under paragraph (1) to—

(A) the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate;

(B) the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the Senate;

(C) the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives;

(D) the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives; and

(E) the Government Accountability Office.

(Pub. L. 108–148, title VI, §605, as added Pub. L. 115–141, div. O, title II, §202, Mar. 23, 2018, 132 Stat. 1062.)

References in Text

Section 6511(2) of this title, referred to in subsec. (a), was in the original "the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 (16 U.S.C. 6511(2))" and was translated as referring to section 101(2) of that Act, which is classified to section 6511(2) of this title and defines "authorized hazardous fuel reduction project".

Public Law 91–190, referred to in subsec. (a)(2), is Pub. L. 91–190, Jan. 1, 1970, 83 Stat. 852, known as the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, which is classified generally to chapter 55 (§4321 et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 4321 of Title 42 and Tables.

March 23, 2018, referred to in subsec. (c)(2)(C), was in the original "the date of enactment of this Act" and was translated as meaning the date of enactment of Pub. L. 115–141, which enacted this section, to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

1 So in original. Probably should be "Code of Federal Regulations".

§6591e. Categorical exclusion for greater sage-grouse and mule deer habitat

(a) Definitions

In this section:

(1) Covered vegetation management activity

(A) In general

The term "covered vegetation management activity" means any activity described in subparagraph (B) that—

(i)(I) is carried out on National Forest System land administered by the Forest Service; or

(II) is carried out on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management;

(ii) with respect to public land, meets the objectives of the order of the Secretary of the Interior numbered 3336 and dated January 5, 2015;

(iii) conforms to an applicable forest plan or land use plan;

(iv) protects, restores, or improves greater sage-grouse or mule deer habitat in a sagebrush steppe ecosystem as described in—

(I) Circular 1416 of the United States Geological Survey entitled "Restoration Handbook for Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems with Emphasis on Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat—Part 1. Concepts for Understanding and Applying Restoration" (2015); or

(II) the habitat guidelines for mule deer published by the Mule Deer Working Group of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies;


(v) will not permanently impair—

(I) the natural state of the treated area;

(II) outstanding opportunities for solitude;

(III) outstanding opportunities for primitive, unconfined recreation;

(IV) economic opportunities consistent with multiple-use management; or

(V) the identified values of a unit of the National Landscape Conservation System;


(vi)(I) restores native vegetation following a natural disturbance;

(II) prevents the expansion into greater sage-grouse or mule deer habitat of—

(aa) juniper, pinyon pine, or other associated conifers; or

(bb) nonnative or invasive vegetation;


(III) reduces the risk of loss of greater sage-grouse or mule deer habitat from wildfire or any other natural disturbance; or

(IV) provides emergency stabilization of soil resources after a natural disturbance; and

(vii) provides for the conduct of restoration treatments that—

(I) maximize the retention of old-growth and large trees, as appropriate for the forest type;

(II) consider the best available scientific information to maintain or restore the ecological integrity, including maintaining or restoring structure, function, composition, and connectivity;

(III) are developed and implemented through a collaborative process that—

(aa) includes multiple interested persons representing diverse interests; and

(bb)(AA) is transparent and nonexclusive; or

(BB) meets the requirements for a resource advisory committee under subsections (c) through (f) of section 7125 of this title; and


(IV) may include the implementation of a proposal that complies with the eligibility requirements of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program under section 7303(b) of this title.

(B) Description of activities

An activity referred to in subparagraph (A) is—

(i) manual cutting and removal of juniper trees, pinyon pine trees, other associated conifers, or other nonnative or invasive vegetation;

(ii) mechanical mastication, cutting, or mowing, mechanical piling and burning, chaining, broadcast burning, or yarding;

(iii) removal of cheat grass, medusa head rye, or other nonnative, invasive vegetation;

(iv) collection and seeding or planting of native vegetation using a manual, mechanical, or aerial method;

(v) seeding of nonnative, noninvasive, ruderal vegetation only for the purpose of emergency stabilization;

(vi) targeted use of an herbicide, subject to the condition that the use shall be in accordance with applicable legal requirements, Federal agency procedures, and land use plans;

(vii) targeted livestock grazing to mitigate hazardous fuels and control noxious and invasive weeds;

(viii) temporary removal of wild horses or burros in the area in which the activity is being carried out to ensure treatment objectives are met;

(ix) in coordination with the affected permit holder, modification or adjustment of permissible usage under an annual plan of use of a grazing permit issued by the Secretary concerned to achieve restoration treatment objectives;

(x) installation of new, or modification of existing, fencing or water sources intended to control use or improve wildlife habitat; or

(xi) necessary maintenance of, repairs to, rehabilitation of, or reconstruction of an existing permanent road or construction of temporary roads to accomplish the activities described in this subparagraph.

(C) Exclusions

The term "covered vegetation management activity" does not include—

(i) any activity conducted in a wilderness area or wilderness study area;

(ii) any activity for the construction of a permanent road or permanent trail;

(iii) any activity conducted on Federal land on which, by Act of Congress or Presidential proclamation, the removal of vegetation is restricted or prohibited;

(iv) any activity conducted in an area in which activities under subparagraph (B) would be inconsistent with the applicable land and resource management plan; or

(v) any activity conducted in an inventoried roadless area.

(2) Secretary concerned

The term "Secretary concerned" means—

(A) the Secretary of Agriculture, with respect to National Forest System land; and

(B) the Secretary of the Interior, with respect to public land.

(3) Temporary road

The term "temporary road" means a road that is—

(A) authorized—

(i) by a contract, permit, lease, other written authorization; or

(ii) pursuant to an emergency operation;


(B) not intended to be part of the permanent transportation system of a Federal department or agency;

(C) not necessary for long-term resource management;

(D) designed in accordance with standards appropriate for the intended use of the road, taking into consideration—

(i) safety;

(ii) the cost of transportation; and

(iii) impacts to land and resources; and


(E) managed to minimize—

(i) erosion; and

(ii) the introduction or spread of invasive species.

(b) Categorical exclusion

(1) In general

Not later than 1 year after December 20, 2018, the Secretary concerned shall develop a categorical exclusion (as defined in section 1508.4 of title 40, Code of Federal Regulations (or a successor regulation)) for covered vegetation management activities carried out to protect, restore, or improve habitat for greater sage-grouse or mule deer.

(2) Administration

In developing and administering the categorical exclusion under paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned shall—

(A) comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.);

(B) with respect to National Forest System land, apply the extraordinary circumstances procedures under section 220.6 of title 36, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), in determining whether to use the categorical exclusion;

(C) with respect to public land, apply the extraordinary circumstances procedures under section 46.215 of title 43, Code of Federal Regulations (or successor regulations), in determining whether to use the categorical exclusion; and

(D) consider—

(i) the relative efficacy of landscape-scale habitat projects;

(ii) the likelihood of continued declines in the populations of greater sage-grouse and mule deer in the absence of landscape-scale vegetation management; and

(iii) the need for habitat restoration activities after wildfire or other natural disturbances.

(c) Implementation of covered vegetative management activities within the range of greater sage-grouse and mule deer

If the categorical exclusion developed under subsection (b) is used to implement a covered vegetative management activity in an area within the range of both greater sage-grouse and mule deer, the covered vegetative management activity shall protect, restore, or improve habitat concurrently for both greater sage-grouse and mule deer.

(d) Long-term monitoring and maintenance

Before commencing any covered vegetation management activity that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b), the Secretary concerned shall develop a long-term monitoring and maintenance plan, covering at least the 20-year period beginning on the date of commencement, to ensure that management of the treated area does not degrade the habitat gains secured by the covered vegetation management activity.

(e) Disposal of vegetative material

Subject to applicable local restrictions, any vegetative material resulting from a covered vegetation management activity that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b) may be—

(1) used for—

(A) fuel wood; or

(B) other products; or


(2) piled or burned, or both.

(f) Treatment for temporary roads

(1) In general

Notwithstanding subsection (a)(1)(B)(xi), any temporary road constructed in carrying out a covered vegetation management activity that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b)—

(A) shall be used by the Secretary concerned for the covered vegetation management activity for not more than 2 years; and

(B) shall be decommissioned by the Secretary concerned not later than 3 years after the earlier of the date on which—

(i) the temporary road is no longer needed; and

(ii) the project is completed.

(2) Requirement

A treatment under paragraph (1) shall include reestablishing native vegetative cover—

(A) as soon as practicable; but

(B) not later than 10 years after the date of completion of the applicable covered vegetation management activity.

(g) Limitations

(1) Project size

A covered vegetation management activity that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b) may not exceed 4,500 acres.

(2) Location

A covered vegetation management activity carried out on National Forest System land that is covered by the categorical exclusion under subsection (b) shall be limited to areas designated under section 6591a(b) of this title, as of December 20, 2018.

(Pub. L. 108–148, title VI, §606, as added Pub. L. 115–334, title VIII, §8611, Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4848.)

References in Text

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, referred to in subsec. (b)(2)(A), is Pub. L. 91–190, Jan. 1, 1970, 83 Stat. 852, which is classified generally to chapter 55 (§4321 et seq.) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 4321 of Title 42 and Tables.