[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 1042 Introduced in House (IH)]






108th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1042

To authorize collaborative forest restoration and wildland fire hazard 
 mitigation projects on National Forest System lands and other public 
 and private lands, to improve the implementation of the National Fire 
                     Plan, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           February 27, 2003

    Mr. Udall of Colorado (for himself and Mr. Udall of New Mexico) 
 introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on 
   Agriculture, and in addition to the Committee on Resources, for a 
 period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for 
consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the 
                          committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To authorize collaborative forest restoration and wildland fire hazard 
 mitigation projects on National Forest System lands and other public 
 and private lands, to improve the implementation of the National Fire 
                     Plan, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    (a) Short Title.-- This Act may be cited as the ``Forest 
Restoration and Fire Risk Reduction Act''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Purposes.
Sec. 4. Definitions.
Sec. 5. Transition.
Sec. 6. Cooperative program for hazardous fuel reduction projects.
Sec. 7. Selection process for hazardous fuels reduction projects.
Sec. 8. Monitoring and evaluation requirements.
Sec. 9. Administrative procedures under cooperative community 
                            protection and forest restoration program.
Sec. 10. Special Department of Agriculture administrative appeals 
                            process for hazardous fuels reduction 
                            projects.
Sec. 11. Forest restoration and homeowner assistance program and 
                            projects.
Sec. 12. Forest Restoration and Value-added Centers.
Sec. 13. Competitive service hiring preference for graduates of 
                            certified youth service or conservation 
                            corps.
Sec. 14. Research and training.
Sec. 15. Authorization of appropriations.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

     Congress finds the following:
            (1) More than a century of intensive fire suppression, 
        logging, livestock grazing, and urban development has altered 
        the natural fire regimes of some forested Federal public lands.
            (2) One aspect of this altered ecological dynamic is the 
        presence of many dense tree stands characterized by small 
        diameter trees and excessive fuel buildups on the forest floor. 
        These conditions reduce biodiversity, provide fewer benefits to 
        human communities, wildlife, and watersheds, and pose an 
        increased risk of catastrophic wildfires that can destroy or 
        seriously damage both human and natural resources.
            (3) Unnaturally severe wildfires on highly erodible soils 
        can result in disastrous flood events and sediment deposition 
        if such a fire is followed by heavy rains. This combination of 
        events poses a particular threat to communities that rely on 
        municipal drinking water supply facilities located on Federal 
        public lands or that rely on water flowing from these lands.
            (4) Healthy and productive forested watersheds minimize the 
        threat of unnaturally high-intensity wildfires, provide 
        abundant and diverse wildlife habitat, and produce a variety of 
        products or benefits, including clean water.
            (5) The risk of damage to human life and property from 
        unnaturally severe wild fires is greatly increased in areas 
        where rapidly expanding urban populations are intermingled with 
        forested wildlands, and a primary purpose of the National Fire 
        Plan is to reduce the risk of such wild fires in these areas, 
        known as the ``wildland/urban interface''.
            (6) Restoration efforts are more successful when there is 
        involvement from Federal and State land managers, as well as 
        neighboring communities and other interested persons, when 
        projects are prioritized in high-risk areas where municipal 
        water supplies and human lives and property are threatened, and 
        when both decisions and implementation activities are carried 
        out across ownership boundaries.
            (7) Designing demonstration restoration projects through a 
        collaborative approach may contribute to the development of 
        cost-effective restoration activities, empower diverse 
        organizations to implement activities that value local and 
        traditional knowledge, build ownership and civic pride, and 
        ensure healthy, diverse, and productive forests and watersheds.

SEC. 3. PURPOSES.

     The purposes of this Act are as follows:
            (1) To reduce the risks to human life and property and 
        municipal drinking water supplies from large, high-intensity 
        wildfires on forested lands.
            (2) To refocus the implementation of the National Fire Plan 
        to the areas of highest risk to people, property, and water 
        supplies by redirecting the National Fire Plan funding and 
        hazardous fuels reduction projects through State-established 
        project selection panels.
            (3) To improve communication and joint-problem solving 
        among Federal, State, and local land managers, as well as other 
        individuals and groups who are interested in reducing the risk 
        of unnaturally severe wildfires and restoring the diversity of 
        forested lands.
            (4) To encourage sustainable communities and sustainable 
        forests through collaborative partnerships focused on forest 
        restoration and reducing the risk of unnaturally severe 
        wildfires.
            (5) To develop, demonstrate, and evaluate ecologically 
        sound forest restoration techniques and to assist in carrying 
        out forest restoration projects.

SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.

     In this Act:
            (1) Federal lands.--The term ``Federal lands'' means--
                    (A) National Forest System lands; and
                    (B) public lands administered by the Secretary of 
                the Interior acting through the Bureau of Land 
                Management.
            (2) Hazardous fuels reduction project.--The term 
        ``hazardous fuels reduction project'' means a project--
                    (A) undertaken for the purpose of reducing the 
                amount of hazardous fuels resulting from alteration of 
                a natural fire regime as a result of fire suppression 
                or other activities or from insect infestation; and
                    (B) accomplished through the use of prescribed 
                burning or mechanical treatment.
            (3) Inventoried roadless areas.--The term ``inventoried 
        roadless areas'' means the areas identified in a set of 
        inventoried roadless area maps contained in the Forest Service 
        Roadless Area Conservation, Final Environmental Impact 
        Statement, Volume 2, dated November 2000.
            (4) Municipal water supply system.--The term ``municipal 
        water supply system'' means the dams, reservoirs, canals, 
        ditches, flumes, laterals, pipes, pipelines, or other surface 
        facilities and systems constructed or installed for the 
        impoundment, storage, transportation, or distribution of 
        drinking water for a community.
            (5) National fire plan.--The term ``National Fire Plan'' 
        means the plans, strategies, projects, and activities of the 
        Secretary concerned to respond to adverse impacts on 
        communities and the environment from wildfires on Federal 
        lands, which are based on and reflect--
                    (A) the report of the Secretary of Agriculture and 
                the Secretary of the Interior entitled ``Managing the 
                Impact of Wildfires on Communities and the 
                Environment'', dated September 8, 2000; and
                    (B) congressional direction accompanying 
                appropriations to the Department of Agriculture and the 
                Department of the Interior for wildland fire management 
                for fiscal year 2001 and subsequent years.
            (6) Secretary concerned.--The term ``Secretary concerned'' 
        means--
                    (A) the Secretary of Agriculture (or the designee 
                of the Secretary) with respect to National Forest 
                System lands; and
                    (B) the Secretary of the Interior (or the designee 
                of the Secretary) with respect to public lands 
                administered by the Secretary through the Bureau of 
                Land Management.
            (7) Stakeholder.--The term ``stakeholder'' includes forest 
        landowners, local communities and political leaders, tribal 
        governments, local volunteer firefighters, conservation 
        organizations, educational institutions, and other interested 
        public and private entities.
            (8) Wilderness study area.--The term ``Wilderness Study 
        Area'' means--
                    (A) a portion of the Federal lands that is 
                designated as suitable for wilderness in a land and 
                resources management plan; or
                    (B) other Federal lands that are managed so as not 
                to impair the suitability of such lands for 
                preservation as wilderness through inclusion in the 
                National Wilderness Preservation System.
            (9) Wildland-urban interface.--The term ``wildland-urban 
        interface'' means a geographic area designated by the Secretary 
        concerned as an area--
                    (A) that is within or adjacent to an interface 
                community or intermix community, as those terms are 
                defined on page 753 of volume 66 of the Federal 
                Register, as published on January 4, 2001;
                    (B) on which conditions are conducive to large-
                scale fire disturbance events; and
                    (C) for which a significant risk exists of a 
                resulting spread of the fire disturbance event, after 
                ignition, which would threaten human life and property.

SEC. 5. TRANSITION.

    (a) Implementation.--No hazardous fuels reduction project shall be 
planned or carried out by the Secretary concerned under the National 
Fire Plan unless the project is planned and carried out pursuant to 
this Act.
    (b) Exception for Ongoing Projects.--This Act shall not apply to a 
hazardous fuels reduction project for which analysis required pursuant 
to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4331 et 
seq.) has been completed on or before the date of the enactment of this 
Act.

SEC. 6. COOPERATIVE PROGRAM FOR HAZARDOUS FUEL REDUCTION PROJECTS.

    (a) Cooperative Community Protection and Forest Restoration 
Program.--
            (1) Establishment.--The Secretary concerned shall establish 
        a cooperative community protection and forest restoration 
        program under the National Fire Plan to make cost-share grants 
        to enable stakeholders to participate with the Secretary 
        concerned in planning and carrying out hazardous fuels 
        reduction projects that--
                    (A) are conducted in the wildland-urban interface 
                or to protect municipal water supply systems;
                    (B) are designed, implemented, and monitored 
                through a collaborative process that includes a diverse 
                and balanced group of stakeholders, as well as 
                appropriate Federal, tribal, State and local government 
                representatives;
                    (C) create local employment or training 
                opportunities within the context of accomplishing 
                restoration objectives that are consistent with the 
                purposes of this Act; and
                    (D) satisfy the other requirements specified in 
                subsection (d).
            (2) Cross-boundary projects and participation.--Except as 
        otherwise provided in this section, hazardous fuels reduction 
        projects under the program may be carried out entirely on, or 
        involve any combination of, Federal lands, tribal lands, State 
        or local government lands, or private forest lands. 
        Prioritization, decisionmaking, and implementation of approved 
        hazardous fuels reduction projects should be on a cross-
        boundary, landscape-scale basis, with both State and Federal 
        land managers able to act as agents of the other parties to the 
        project.
            (3) Administration.--A grant made under the program shall 
        be administered by the appropriate State Forester, in 
        cooperation with the Secretary concerned in the same manner as 
        grants made pursuant to the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act 
        of 1978 (16 U.S.C. 2101 et seq.).
            (4) Cost-share requirements.--The Federal share of the cost 
        of a hazardous fuels reduction project under the program shall 
        not exceed 80 percent of the total cost of the project. The 
        required 20 percent matching funds may be provided in the form 
        of cash or in-kind contributions.
    (b) Exclusion of Certain Federal Lands.--A hazardous fuels 
reduction project under the program shall not be conducted on the 
following Federal lands:
            (1) A component of the National Wilderness Preservation 
        System.
            (2) Federal lands where, by Act of Congress, Presidential 
        proclamation, or applicable land and resource management plan, 
        the removal of vegetation is prohibited or restricted.
            (3) Wilderness Study Areas.
            (4) Inventoried Roadless Areas.
    (c) Tree Removal and Thinning Limitations.--In conducting a 
hazardous fuels reduction project under the program, if the Federal 
lands to be treated by the project contain fire resistant, pre-fire-
exclusion old or large trees, the Secretary concerned shall limit the 
number and size of the trees to be removed so as to maintain as nearly 
as possible an ecologically optimum number of such trees, as determined 
by the Secretary concerned on a project-by-project basis, appropriate 
for each ecosystem type. The Secretary concerned shall also emphasize 
the removal of small-diameter trees and thinning from below for the 
project.
    (d) Other Eligibility Requirements.--
            (1) Objectives.--To be an eligible hazardous fuels 
        reduction project under the program, the project shall address 
        the following objectives:
                    (A) Reduce the threat of large, high-intensity 
                wildfires in the area of the project and the negative 
                effects of excessive competition between trees by 
                restoring ecosystem functions, structures, and species 
                composition, including the reduction of nonnative 
                species populations and the retention of old or large 
                native-species trees.
                    (B) Reestablish fire regimes approximating those 
                that shaped forest ecosystems prior to intensive fire 
                suppression.
                    (C) Improve the ability of State and local fire 
                departments to safely and effectively perform initial 
                fire control in the area of the project.
                    (D) Mitigate areas at high risk for flood, erosion, 
                or sediment damage following a wildland fire, 
                rehabilitate areas that have experienced such fire-
                related damage, or both.
                    (E) Where appropriate, improve the use of, or add 
                value to, small diameter trees.
            (2) Compliance with environmental laws.--The planning and 
        implementation of a hazardous fuels reduction project under the 
        program shall comply with all applicable Federal and State 
        environmental laws and incorporate current scientific forest 
        restoration information.
            (3)  Assessment requirements.--Each hazardous fuels 
        reduction project under the program shall include a multiparty 
        assessment--
                    (A) to identify both the existing ecological 
                condition of the proposed project area and the desired 
                future condition; and
                    (B) to evaluate, upon project completion, the 
                positive or negative impact and effectiveness of the 
                project.
    (e) Annual Workshop.--Each stakeholder that desires to participate 
in a hazardous fuels reduction project under the program shall enter 
into an agreement to attend an annual workshop with other stakeholders 
for the purpose of discussing the program and the hazardous fuels 
reduction projects implemented under the program. The Secretary 
concerned shall coordinate and fund the annual workshop, and 
stakeholders may use a portion of the funds provided for projects under 
the program to pay for travel and per diem expenses to attend the 
workshop.
    (f) Report.--Not later than five years after the end of the first 
fiscal year in which funding is made available for the program, the 
Secretary concerned shall submit a report to the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of 
the House of Representatives containing an assessment on whether, and 
to what extent, the hazardous fuel reduction projects funded under the 
program are meeting the purposes of this Act.

SEC. 7. SELECTION PROCESS FOR HAZARDOUS FUELS REDUCTION PROJECTS.

    (a) Determination of Project Funding Priorities.--Prior to the 
selection of hazardous fuels reduction projects under section 6, the 
State Forester and Regional Forester, and the State Forester and State 
Director of the Bureau of Land Management, of each State in which such 
projects will be conducted shall meet with the technical advisory panel 
for the State established in subsection (c) to determine priorities for 
project funding.
    (b) Selection of Proposals to Be Funded.--
            (1) Recommendations.--After consulting with the technical 
        advisory panels for a State, the State Forester, Regional 
        Forester, and State Director of the Bureau of Land Management 
        shall jointly submit to the Secretary concerned recommendations 
        regarding priority hazardous fuels reduction projects that 
        should be funded under section 6.
            (2) Selection.--Based on the recommendations received under 
        paragraph (1), the Secretary concerned shall then select the 
        hazardous fuels reduction project proposals to be funded under 
        section 6.
            (3) Priorities.--The Secretary concerned shall give 
        priority to hazardous fuels reduction projects that can be 
        conducted across ownership boundaries for the benefit of a 
        larger landscape or watershed.
    (c) Technical Advisory Panel.--
            (1) Panel required; purpose.--The Secretary concerned shall 
        convene a technical advisory panel for each State in which 
        hazardous fuels reduction projects will be conducted under 
        section 6 for the purpose of setting protection and restoration 
        priorities, evaluating all proposed projects, and providing 
        recommendations under subsection (a). The Secretary concerned 
        shall establish the procedures through which each panel will 
        develop its recommendations.
            (2) Administration.--The technical advisory panel for a 
        State shall be jointly administered by the State Forester and 
        the Regional Forester, in the case of panels convened by the 
        Secretary of Agriculture, or the State Forester and the State 
        Director of the Bureau of Land Management, in the case of 
        panels convened by the Secretary of the Interior.
            (3) Composition.--Each technical advisory panel shall be 
        composed of 10 to 13 members appointed by the Secretary 
        concerned from persons recommended by the respective State 
        Forester and Regional Forester or State Director of the Bureau 
        of Land Management.
            (4) Required members.--At a minimum, the technical advisory 
        panel for a State shall include the following members:
                    (A) An official of the natural resource department 
                of the State or an equivalent State agency.
                    (B) Two representatives from Federal land 
                management agencies.
                    (C) One tribal representative, if the State 
                includes at least one federally-recognized Indian 
                tribe.
                    (D) One representative of the State's local fire 
                departments.
                    (E) Two independent scientists with experience in 
                forest ecosystem restoration.
                    (F) An equal number of representatives from each of 
                the following:
                            (i) One or more recognized conservation 
                        organizations.
                            (ii) Local communities.
                            (iii) Local commodity interests.

SEC. 8. MONITORING AND EVALUATION REQUIREMENTS.

    (a) Multi-Party Process.-- The Secretary concerned shall establish 
a multiparty monitoring and evaluation process in order to assess the 
cumulative accomplishments or adverse impacts of hazardous fuels 
reduction projects conducted under section 6. To the extent 
practicable, the Secretary concerned shall include any interested 
individual or organization in the monitoring and evaluation process.
    (b) Department Monitoring.--The Secretary concerned also shall 
conduct a monitoring program to assess the short- and long-term 
ecological effects of the hazardous fuels reduction projects conducted 
under section 6. The monitoring of a project shall be performed for a 
minimum of 15 years.

SEC. 9. ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES UNDER COOPERATIVE COMMUNITY 
              PROTECTION AND FOREST RESTORATION PROGRAM.

    (a) Scoping.--In accordance with applicable regulations and 
administrative guidelines in effect on January 1, 2003, the Secretary 
concerned shall conduct scoping for each hazardous fuel reduction 
project involving Federal lands to be conducted under section 6. 
Scoping shall include an opportunity for public participation.
    (b) Public Meeting.--Upon completion of the scoping for a hazardous 
fuel reduction project involving Federal lands, the Secretary concerned 
shall conduct a public meeting at an appropriate location with respect 
to the project.

SEC. 10. SPECIAL DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS 
              PROCESS FOR HAZARDOUS FUELS REDUCTION PROJECTS.

    (a) Applicability.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall use the 
following administrative appeal process to consider appeals regarding 
hazardous fuels reduction projects to be conducted on National Forest 
System lands under section 6.
    (b) Documents.--
            (1) Complete and availability.--Under this administrative 
        appeal process, the environmental analysis document, analysis 
        file, and decision document for a hazardous fuels reduction 
        project shall be complete and available for public review once 
        notice of the decision document is provided in the local paper 
        of record. The Secretary of Agriculture shall seek to make 
        these documents as widely available as possible, through 
        posting on the Internet and in other ways.
            (2) Revision.--Except as provided in this section, the 
        environmental analysis document, analysis file, and decision 
        document may not be revised after it is made available to the 
        public unless the Secretary of Agriculture provides new public 
        notice and recommences the time limits specified in this 
        subsection for the project.
    (c) Eligibility.--To be eligible to appeal a hazardous fuels 
reduction project under this administrative appeal process, a person 
must have submitted written comments during the preparation stage of 
the project on an issue specifically related to the project for which 
the appeal is sought. For purposes of this subsection, a written 
comment includes a comment sent by e-mail or facsimile.
    (d) Submission of Notice of Intent to Appeal.--
            (1) Time for submission.--The Secretary of Agriculture 
        shall give eligible persons a 10-day period, beginning on the 
        date the signed decision document for a hazardous fuels 
        reduction project is made available to the public, during which 
        to submit written notice of an intent to appeal the decision. 
        Notice submitted after the end of such period shall not be 
        accepted. For purposes of this paragraph, a written notice 
        includes a notice submitted by e-mail or facsimile, and written 
        notice submitted by mail shall be considered to have been 
        submitted on the date shown by a postmark or other evidence of 
        the date on which it was mailed.
            (2) Effect of failure to timely submit.--If no valid notice 
        of appeal is submitted within the required period, the 
        hazardous fuels reduction project shall not be subject to 
        appeal under this administrative appeal process or any other 
        provision of law, and the decision document shall be considered 
        the final agency decision.
    (e) Filing of Appeal.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall give an 
eligible person who timely submits the notice of intent to appeal with 
regard to a hazardous fuels reduction project a 15-day period during 
which to file the administrative appeal. This period shall begin at the 
end of the 10-day period required by subsection (d), not on the day the 
person actually submitted the notice.
    (f) Stay of Action.--Upon the timely submission of a notice of an 
intent to appeal a hazardous fuels reduction project under subsection 
(d), the Secretary of Agriculture shall take no action to implement the 
hazardous fuels reduction project until the completion of the appeal 
process and any judicial review of the project, unless the person 
submitting a notice of intent fails to timely file the administrative 
appeal under subsection (e).
    (g) Time for Review.--Upon receipt of the administrative appeal 
with regard to a hazardous fuels reduction project, the appeals officer 
shall consider and render a decision on the appeal within 25 days.
    (h) Handling of Appeals.--
            (1) Negotiations authorized.--The appeals officer may enter 
        into negotiations with the appellant and other interested 
        persons who filed comments during the preparation stage of the 
        hazardous fuels reduction project subject to the review. Any 
        decision document resulting from the negotiations shall be 
        considered the final agency decision.
            (2) New decision document.--The appeals officer may sign a 
        new decision document correcting errors or otherwise modifying 
        the decision document or may remand the case for further 
        proceedings. If the appeals officer signs a new decision 
        document, the appeals officer shall supplement the record with 
        explanatory analysis and documentation. The new decision 
        document shall be considered the final agency decision.
            (3) Extension of time periods.--In order to facilitate 
        negotiations, or for any other reason considered appropriate by 
        the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary may extend either 
        or both of the periods specified in subsections (d) and (e) for 
        submission of a notice of intent to appeal and for filing of an 
        appeal.
    (i) Relation to Existing Authority.--Any provision of section 322 
of the Department of the Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations 
Act, 1993 (Public Law 102-381; 16 U.S.C. 1612 note), that is 
inconsistent with the process established by this section shall not 
apply to a hazardous fuels reduction project covered by this Act.

SEC. 11. FOREST RESTORATION AND HOMEOWNER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM AND 
              PROJECTS.

    (a) Establishment of Program.--The Secretary of Agriculture and the 
Secretary of the Interior (in this section referred to as the 
``Secretaries'') shall jointly establish a program to identify and 
carry out projects to implement this section on the Federal lands and, 
subject to subsections (c) and (d), certain non-Federal lands.
    (b) Authorized Project Activities.--Projects identified and 
implemented under the program are limited to one or more of the 
following activities:
            (1) Erosion control and restoration of healthy, properly 
        functioning watersheds, including meadows, upslope areas, 
        riparian and floodplain areas, stream channels, and wetlands.
            (2) Activities to implement a recovery plan for a 
        threatened or endangered species.
            (3) Road and trail assessments and plans and the 
        maintenance, obliteration, or closure of roads and trails.
            (4) Wildlife and fish habitat management activities 
        designed to restore native species and their habitats.
            (5) Monitoring, including multiparty monitoring, of the 
        implementation and effectiveness of the projects.
            (6) Watershed analysis, including resource conditions and 
        trend assessments.
            (7) Restoration job training and the support of existing, 
        and the creation of new, micro- and small enterprises related 
        to restoration and the utilization and marketing of by-products 
        derived from the projects.
            (8) Activities to ensure compliance with the National 
        Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4331 et seq.).
            (9) Ecologically appropriate actions for the control and 
        removal of noxious and invasive species.
            (10) Reimbursement of the United States Fish and Wildlife 
        Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service for the costs 
        of carrying out their responsibilities under section 7 of the 
        Endangered Species Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1536) related to 
        consultation and conference in connection with the projects.
            (11) Assisting the owners of eligible residences to reduce 
        the risk of damage to such residences and appurtenant 
        structures from wild fires on adjacent lands.
    (c) Cooperative Agreements.--
            (1) Projects on non-federal land.--The Secretaries may 
        enter into cooperative agreements with State and local 
        governments, tribal governments, private and nonprofit 
        entities, and landowners for protection, restoration, and 
        enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat and other resources on 
        public or private lands, or both, that benefit these resources 
        within a watershed.
            (2) Cost-sharing requirement.--If funds provided under this 
        section are expended on a project conducted in whole or part on 
        non-Federal lands, the Federal share of the project's total 
        costs shall not exceed 70 percent.
    (d) Homeowner Assistance.--
            (1) Eligibility requirements.--Funds provided pursuant to a 
        cooperative agreement under subsection (c) may be expended to 
        reduce the likelihood of damage from fire to a residence 
        located in the wildland-urban interface, or to a structure 
        appurtenance to such a residence, if the Secretary concerned 
        determines that such a residence is vulnerable to damage from a 
        wildfire originating on adjacent lands.
            (2) Applicability of other provisions.--Subsections (e) 
        through (i) shall not apply to a project under this section 
        involving only the provision of assistance under this 
        subsection.
            (3) Implementation criteria.--The Secretaries, in 
        consultation with the State Foresters, shall develop criteria 
        for implementation of this subsection in order to achieve the 
        most effective and efficient use of Federal funds.
    (e) Monitoring.--
            (1) Multiparty monitoring, evaluation, and accountability 
        process.--The Secretaries shall establish a multiparty 
        monitoring, evaluation, and accountability process in order to 
        assess the ecological, social, and economic impacts of projects 
        conducted under the program. A project may not be implemented, 
        in whole or in part, under the program until the Secretaries 
        reserve sufficient funds to ensure that the multiparty 
        monitoring and evaluation required by this subsection will be 
        performed with respect to the project.
            (2) Monitoring report.--The Secretaries shall complete a 
        detailed monitoring report for each project conducted under the 
        program that evaluates whether the project was properly 
        implemented and was effective in accomplishing restoration 
        objectives, whether the assumptions that went into the 
        project's design were valid, and whether funding amounts and 
        sources were sufficient. The monitoring report shall provide 
        for validation monitoring and include an assessment and 
        identification of the following:
                    (A) Whether or not the project met desired 
                ecological conditions, including soils, water, and 
                native fish and wildlife, and used low-impact 
                equipment.
                    (B) Whether or not the project created high-skill, 
                long-duration employment or training opportunities for 
                local crews, small or micro-enterprises, underserved 
                communities, or mobile workers, including whether or 
                not the project created, or used existing, natural-
                resource related small or micro-enterprises.
                    (C) The duration of each contract used to implement 
                the project; the average wage received by persons 
                implementing the contract, and the name and size of the 
                entity that secured the contract.
                    (D) An overall assessment of the positive or 
                negative impact and effectiveness of the project.
            (3) Annual report.--The Secretaries shall submit an annual 
        report to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the 
        Senate and the Committee on Resources of the House of 
        Representatives detailing the information identified pursuant 
        to this subsection.
            (4) Collection and compilation of data.--The Secretaries 
        shall ensure that monitoring data is collected and compiled in 
        a way that the general public can easily access. The 
        Secretaries may collect the data using cooperative agreements, 
        grants, or contracts with small or micro-enterprises, or Youth 
        Conservation Corps work crews or related partnerships with 
        State, local, and non-profit youth groups.
    (f) Required Assessment and Estimates. Before initiating a project 
under the program, the Secretaries shall complete the following with 
respect to the project:
    (1) An assessment of the expected outcomes, including how the 
project will help to accomplish restoration objectives to improve the 
health, diversity, or ecological processes of the lands covered by the 
project. Specific benefits to soil, water, and native wildlife and fish 
habitats must be identified, as well as how the project will restore 
naturally occurring ecological processes.
    (2) Within the context of accomplishing restoration objectives, an 
estimation of the number of jobs or training opportunities, crew size, 
contract duration, and equipment requirements that may be created by 
the project, including opportunities for Youth Conservation Corps work 
crews or partnerships with non-Federal youth groups.
    (3) An estimate of the number of natural resource-related small or 
micro-enterprises that may be created as a result of the project and 
the number of existing small or micro-enterprises that may benefit from 
the project.
    (g) Required Set-asides.--
            (1) Set-aside of funds.--The Secretaries shall ensure that 
        all contracts to implement projects under the program are 
        issued or awarded to--
                    (A) natural-resource related small or micro-
                enterprises;
                    (B) Youth Conservation Corps crews or related 
                partnerships with State, local and nonprofit youth 
                groups;
                    (C) entities (including Indian tribes and the 
                Restoration and Value-added Centers established under 
                section 12) that will hire or train local people, or 
                re-train nonlocal traditional forest workers, to 
                perform activities under the contract; or
                    (D) local entities that meet the criteria to 
                qualify for the Historically Underutilized Business 
                Zone Program under section 31 of the Small Business Act 
                (15 U.S.C. 657a).
            (2) Set-aside of project activities.--The Secretaries shall 
        ensure that, on an annual basis, 50 percent of all projects 
        involving the sale of merchantable material under the program 
        are implemented using separate contracts for--
                    (A) the harvesting or collection of merchantable 
                material; and
                    (B) the sale of such material.
    (h) Best-Value Contracting.--In order to implement a project under 
the program, and consistent with the Federal acquisition requirements 
for best-value contracting, the Secretaries shall select a source for 
performance of a contract or agreement on a best-value basis, after 
consideration of the following:
            (1) Understanding of the technical demands and complexity 
        of the work to be done.
            (2) Ability of the offeror to meet desired ecological 
        objectives of the project and the sensitivity of the resources 
        being treated.
            (3) The offeror's commitment to hiring or training workers 
        from the local area and the potential for benefit to local 
        small and micro-enterprises involved in the processing of by-
        products derived from the project.
            (4) The past performance by the offeror with the type of 
        work being done, the application of low-impact equipment, and 
        the ability of the offeror to meet desired ecological 
        conditions.
            (5) The commitment and feasibility of the contractor to 
        training workers for high wage and high skill jobs that are 
        long in duration.
            (6) The commitment of the offeror to hiring highly 
        qualified workers and local residents.
    (i) Sole Source Procurement Authority.--
            (1) Use to promote micro- and small-enterprises.--In 
        implementing this section, a contracting officer may award on a 
        sole source basis projects up to $100,000 for the purpose of 
        providing projects to micro- and small-enterprises in order to 
        help establish them as viable enterprises.
            (2)  Eligible entities.--To be eligible for a sole source 
        contract under this subsection, a micro- or small-enterprise 
        must complete training provided by a Restoration and Value-
        added Center established under section 12 or other program for 
        certification as a micro- or small-enterprise, such as the 
        Jobs-in-the-Woods program. The micro- or small-enterprise must 
        present certification from the training provider that the 
        micro- or small-enterprise is ready to perform.
            (3) Advance payments.--The contracting officer may make 
        advance payment to enterprises certified as provided in 
        paragraph (2).
            (4) Limit on contracts.--Based on the performance of the 
        micro- or small-enterprise, and in consultation with the 
        training provider under paragraph (2), the contracting officer 
        may award up to five contracts under this subsection, after 
        which the enterprise will no longer be eligible for any further 
        sole source awards.
            (5) Procurement personnel.--The Secretaries shall hire 
        additional procurement personnel, including contracting officer 
        trainees, in order to implement this section.

SEC. 12. FOREST RESTORATION AND VALUE-ADDED CENTERS.

    (a) Establishment.--The Secretary of Agriculture, acting through 
the Regional Foresters, shall establish Forest Restoration and Value-
added Centers in order to improve the implementation of collaborative, 
community-based restoration projects on the National Forest System 
lands and other lands. The Secretary may enter into partnerships with 
other Federal agencies or other organizations, including local non-
profit organizations, conservation groups, and community colleges to 
establish and maintain the Restoration Centers.
    (b) Location.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall ensure that at 
least one Restoration Center is located in each Forest Service Region 
and that every Restoration Center is located in a small, rural 
community adjacent to or surrounded by National Forest System lands.
    (c) Provision of Technical Assistance and Grants.--The Restoration 
Centers shall develop programs to provide technical assistance and 
grants to non-profit organizations, existing small or micro-
enterprises, and individuals interested in creating a natural-resource 
related small or micro-enterprise for the purpose of--
            (1) conducting forest restoration activities, including 
        environmental assessments and monitoring; or
            (2) utilizing processing techniques for the by-products of 
        restoration and value-added manufacturing.
    (d) Types of Technical Assistance.--The Restoration Centers shall 
provide technical assistance in--
            (1) using the latest scientific information and methodology 
        to accomplish restoration and land health objectives;
            (2) accessing capital from public and private sources;
            (3) workforce training for value-added manufacturing and 
        restoration activities, including environmental assessments and 
        monitoring;
            (4) marketing and business support for conservation-based 
        small and micro-businesses located in rural communities to 
        better access urban markets;
            (5) developing technology for restoration activities and 
        use of products resulting from restoration activities.
    (e) Establishment Process.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall 
select the location at which each Restoration Center will be 
established based on requests for proposals. The Secretary shall 
appoint an advisory committee for each Forest Service Region that, 
consistent with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, will recommend a 
location for the Restoration Center for that Region.
    (f)  Advisory Committee.--The advisory committees appointed 
pursuant to subsection (e) shall include--
            (1) Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, 
        United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and relevant State 
        wildlife-management agencies.
            (2) Representatives of any affected Indian tribes or 
        pueblos.
            (3) Representatives of the Department of Labor, the Small 
        Business Administration, and appropriate State agencies with 
        expertise in micro-enterprises.
            (4) Representatives (other than elected officials) of 
        community groups active in National Forest or public land 
        conservation.
            (5) At least two scientists with expertise in ecosystem 
        restoration who are not employees of any Federal or State 
        agency.
            (6) Representatives of national or regional environmental 
        organizations.
            (7) Representatives of regional value-added forest products 
        companies.
    (g) Federal Funding.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall make 
grants to each Restoration Center in amounts sufficient to cover 75 
percent of the Restoration Center's operating costs, but not to exceed 
$1,000,000 annually per Restoration Center. After a Restoration Center 
has operated for five years, the Secretary may begin to reduce the 
level of Federal funding for the Restoration Center's operating costs, 
based on the performance of the Restoration Center.
    (h) Expansion to Other Federal Lands.--In order to determine 
whether a similar Restoration Center program is appropriate for public 
lands, the Secretary of the Interior shall establish one Restoration 
Center meeting the requirements of this section. Not later than three 
years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the 
Interior shall submit a report to the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of the House of 
Representatives containing recommendations regarding whether additional 
Restoration Centers should be established to serve communities adjacent 
to or surrounded by public lands.

SEC. 13. COMPETITIVE SERVICE HIRING PREFERENCE FOR GRADUATES OF 
              CERTIFIED YOUTH SERVICE OR CONSERVATION CORPS.

    (a) Hiring Preference.--The Secretary of the Interior and the 
Secretary of Agriculture may appoint in the competitive service any 
person who--
            (1) is at least 21 years of age;
            (2) has satisfactorily completed a minimum of one year of 
        service in a certified youth service or conservation corps;
            (3) received satisfactory evaluations of knowledge, skills, 
        and abilities by both corps supervisors or crew leaders as well 
        as agency liaison personnel.
    (b) Duration of Preference.--A person's eligibility for 
preferential hiring under this section expires after one year after the 
date of the person's graduation from a certified youth service or 
conservation corps.

SEC. 14. RESEARCH AND TRAINING.

    (a) Applied Research Program.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall 
establish a program of applied research using the resources of the 
Forest Products Laboratory for the purpose of--
            (1) identifying restoration methods, including assessments 
        and monitoring, and treatments that minimize adverse impacts to 
        the land, such as through the use of low-impact techniques and 
        equipment; and
            (2) testing and developing value-added products created 
        from the by-products of restoration.
    (b) Dissemination of Results.--The Secretary of Agriculture shall 
disseminate the results of the applied research to the Restoration and 
Value-added Centers, rural communities adjacent to or surrounded by 
Federal lands. The Secretary shall annually conduct training workshops 
and classes for the Restoration Centers as well as for other interested 
communities to ensure that residents of such communities have access to 
the information.
    (c) Research Agenda.--The Restoration and Value-added Centers shall 
work with the Forest Products Laboratory to develop the research agenda 
so that research efforts respond to the needs of the user community.

SEC. 15. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

     There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be 
necessary to carry out this Act.
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