Today Congress passed the long-awaited 2014 Farm Bill. Among the host of agriculture and nutrition programs included in the bill is the permanent reauthorization of Stewardship End Results Contracting. Stewardship Contracting is a tool used by federal land managers and their community partners to improve the condition of public land while providing community benefits. One of the ways the tool achieves these dual purposes is through the trade of “goods for services.” Stewardship Contracting allows the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to trade the value of material, such as timber, for restoration services like stream restoration, habitat improvement and hazardous fuels reduction. In many places, particularly where public land is adjacent to communities, this has helped facilitate treatment of wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas, reducing community wildfire risk.

In Southern Oregon, partners in the Ashland Forest Resiliency project are using Stewardship Contracting to manage Ashland’s municipal watershed. The Southern Oregon Forest Restoration Collaborative, the FAC Network hub for the Rouge Basin, is working with partners in the Ashland Forest Resiliency project to share lessons from their work with the rest of the FAC Network. Check out this video about their efforts to learn more about their innovative partnership.

Re-authorization of Stewardship Contracting authority comes as shrinking federal budgets and growing land management needs converge in communities around the country.  Learn more about Stewardship Contracting here.

Have you used Stewardship Contracting to reduce dangerous fuels near your community? What land management tools and authorities are important to your fire adapted communities work?

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