National Forest Foundation

Learning Topics

Legal Framework for Collaboration

Community based collaboration on National Forests and Grasslands is guided by existing laws and regulations governing the National Forest System lands and the water sources within. While the legal framework provides direction, sideboards, and certainty to those engaged in collaborative processes, navigating the myriad rules and regulations also adds a layer of complexity to collaborative discussions. The tools below were developed to help collaborative participants and Forest Service staff understand and engage effectively within the legal framework.

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Tools

FACA

FACAphobia (March 26, 2015)
Ray Vaughan, Co-Chair of the National Advisory Committee on Forest Planning Rule Implementation, and a member of previous advisory committees, provided an overview of FACA and addressed FACA fears by discussing what is permissible – or what raises a red flag – under FACA. Following the refresher, Will Bulter from Florida State University discussed his research findings on how FACA may affect a collaborative, and Kendal Young, Forest Service CFLR Cornerstone Coordinator, shared his perspective from working with a CFLR collaborative group.

FACA Committee or Community-based Collaborative?
This best practice outlines one choice that must be made when structuring your collaborative effort - the decision to be a committee that’s chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act or a community-based collaborative.

Collaboration and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (May 6, 2009)
In this peer learning session, participants discussed the Federal Advisory Committee Act: the three key tests for FACA, how to work collaboratively with the public without violating FACA, and other key details about the act and its implementation.

FACA Easy Button
Developed by the National Partnership Office (U.S. Forest Service), the FACA "Easy Button" provides key principles and practical advice for complying with the Federal Advisory Committee Act

Administrative & Legal Review Opportunities for Collaborative Groups

Administrative & Legal Review Opportunities for Collaborative Groups (White Paper)
With the enactment of the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, Forest Landscape Restoration Act, and similar laws and policies, collaboration — an open and inclusive process through which two or more individuals or organizations work together to address a problem/issue that concerns them all and that no one of them is likely to be able to resolve alone — has gained increasing popularity as a way to resolve natural resource management challenges. With this increased engagement in the project development process, collaborative groups are beginning to see the fruits of their work from start to finish: landscape prioritization, project area identification, field trips, prescription development, proposals for action, project implementation, and monitoring of results are all now part of the work of collaborative groups.In this White Paper, published by the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University, Susan Jane Brown provides information on administrative and legal review opportunities for collaborative groups.

Administrative & Legal Review Opportunities for Collaborative Groups (April 16, 2015)
In this peer learning session, attorney Susan Jane Brown shared information about the Forest Service’s administrative review process, as well as the judicial review process, and opportunities for collaborative engagement at both levels. This session follows the recent release of a White Paper authored by Susan Jane Brown, published by the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University.

NEPA

A Roadmap for Collaboration Before, During and After the NEPA Process
Working together in a collaborative environment is more important than ever to both the Forest Service and the public. However, there is often a knowledge gap between the lead agency and stakeholders; each use their own language and have their own set of expectations. The National Forest Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of a new tool intended to bridge the gap in a clear, concise and usable way by identifying opportunities and presenting techniques for collaboration.

A New Tool to Support Collaboration Before, During and After the NEPA Process - Take 2! (November 19, 2013)
The National Forest Foundation revisits the use of a new tool intended to bridge gaps in a clear, concise and usable way by identifying opportunities and presenting techniques for collaboration. The tool is called "A Roadmap for Collaboration Before, During and After the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) Process." Check it out!

Innovative Approaches to the National Environmental Policy Act (May 14, 2014)
In this peer learning session, participants heard about three innovative approaches to NEPA: (1) Adaptive NEPA on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests, (2) Mountain Pine Beetle Response on the Black Hills, and (3) National Forest A to Z Mill Creek Stewardship Project on the Colville National Forest.

Forest & Travel Planning

Creative Forest Service Approach to Travel Planning
The Cibola National Forest partnered with the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to provide for deeper engagement in the travel management planning than possible in more traditional public processes.

A Discussion of Challenges and Opportunities Associated with National Forest Planning and Collaboration (November 13, 2014)
In this peer learning session, which was sponsored by the National Partnership Office, participants were asked to consider the challenges and opportunities associated with integrating forest planning with other collaborative planning efforts. Speakers from the University of Colorado, University of Montana, and U.S. Forest Service discussed the 2012 Forest Planning regulations and why the requirements for collaboration and public participation are shining light on potential challenges and opportunities around overlapping collaboration and planning efforts.

Place-Based Forest Agreements and Laws

Place-Based Forest Agreements and Laws Symposium
The National Forest Foundation and Bolle Center for People and Forests at the University of Montana held a symposium on June 8 and 9, 2010, focused on the growing interest in various landscape level approaches to management of our National Forests.

Agricultural Act (Farm Bill) of 2014

Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) Insect and Disease Language
This excerpt of the 2014 Farm Bill contains Section 8204 (amends Title VI of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2004 by adding two new sections – 602 and 603 -- aimed at enhancing the Forest Service’s ability to combat insect and disease infestations in the national forests) and Section 603 (Categorical Exclusion of Collaborative Restoration Projects).

Agricultural Act (Farm Bill) of 2014 - Collaboration Resource Document
This document, prepared by Forest Service staff in Region 1 of the Forest Service, describes insect & disease amendments to the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (HFRA) and collaboration considerations for HFRA projects.

The 2014 Farm Bill: Working Smarter through Strengthened Collaboration (June 18, 2015)
In this peer learning session, speakers focused on one element of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill), the NEPA categorical exclusion (CE) for insect and disease treatments. Following an overview of the new NEPA tools from the Washington Office, Tera Little, Project Team Leader for the Jasper Mountain Project on the Idaho Panhandle National Forest, discussed the Jasper Mountain project, which was one of the first projects completed under the new authority.

Rollout of the Good Neighbor Authority Agreement Templates (July 10th and 13th 2015)
The Good Neighbor Authority (GNA), reauthorized and expanded in both the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) and the FY 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, allows the U.S. Forest Service to partner with States to implement restoration projects across state-federal boundaries. The agreement templates that will be used to carry out projects under the GNA were subject to approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The PRA process provided opportunities for the Forest Service to develop and improve the agreement templates with state forestry and other partners. The agreement templates have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget and are ready for use with states to begin implementing projects under GNA. This peer learning session (which was held twice) introduced and discussed the agreement templates.

Watershed Condition Framework

Aiming for Success: Watershed Condition Framework (May 27, 2015)
This peer learning session for Line Officers was designed to share the value of the Watershed Condition Framework and discuss successes and challenges of its implementation. Following a kick-off by Leslie Weldon, Deputy Chief of the National Forest System, two case studies were shared that explained how the Watershed Condition Framework has been used to improve watershed health on national forests. Speakers shared their experiences in the selection of priority watersheds, project implementation, and the role of partners.

Partnering for Success: Watershed Condition Framework (June 22, 2015)
This peer learning session featured the perspectives of a line officer and partner as they explained how partnerships and cooperation are critical to improving watershed health on national forests. Speakers shared their experiences and discussed lessons related to working with one another to develop and complete successful watershed restoration projects.

A Quick Guide for Incorporating Collaboration Into the Watershed Condition Framework (WCF)
Produced by the University of Oregon Ecosystem Workshop Program, this quick guide provides strategies for collaborating at each of the steps in the WCF.


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