oversight

Forest Service: Information on Decisions Involving Fuels Reduction Activities

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-05-14.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office
Washington, DC 20548




          May 14, 2003

          Congressional Requesters

          Subject: Forest Service: Information on Decisions Involving Fuels Reduction
                   Activities

          Human activities—especially the federal government’s decades-old policy of
          suppressing all wildland fires—have resulted in dangerous accumulations of brush,
          small trees, and other vegetation on federal lands. This vegetation has increasingly
          provided fuel for large, intense wildland fires, particularly in the dry, interior western
          United States.

          The scale and intensity of the fires in the 2000 wildland fire season made it one of the
          worst in 50 years. That season capped a decade characterized by dramatic increases
          in the number of wildland fires and the costs of suppressing them. These fires have
          also posed special risks to communities in the wildland-urban interface—where
          human development meets or intermingles with undeveloped wildland—as well as to
          watersheds and other resources, such as threatened and endangered species, clean
          water, and clean air.

          The centerpiece of the federal response to the growing threat of wildland fires has
          been the development of the National Fire Plan. This plan advocates a new approach
          to wildland fires by shifting emphasis from the reactive to the proactive—from
          attempting to suppress wildland fires to reducing the buildup of hazardous vegetation
          that fuels fires. The plan recognizes that unless these fuels are reduced, the number
          of severe wildland fires and the costs associated with suppressing them will continue
          to increase. Implementation of the National Fire Plan began in fiscal year 2001; full
          implementation of the plan is expected to be a long-term, multibillion-dollar effort.

          Reducing the buildup of hazardous forest fuels is typically accomplished through a
          number of treatment methods. Most often, federal land managers use controlled fires
          (prescribed burns) or mechanical treatments such as chainsaws, chippers, mulchers
          and bulldozers. Other means include using livestock grazing and herbicides. On
          federal lands, these activities are managed by five agencies: the National Park
          Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the
          Bureau of Indian Affairs, all within the Department of the Interior, and the Forest
          Service within the Department of Agriculture.


                                                               GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
In fiscal year 2001, the first year the National Fire Plan was in effect, the Congress
substantially increased funding for hazardous forest fuels reduction—from $108
million in FY 2000 to $401 million in FY 2001. The Congress continued this increased
funding level for 2002 and 2003. Among the federal agencies, the Forest Service
receives, by far, the largest portion of these funds.

Since the National Fire Plan began emphasizing the need to reduce forest fuels
buildup and the Congress has supported this initiative with substantially increased
funding, concerns have been raised about delays in implementing forest fuels
reduction projects. Essentially, these concerns focus on whether Forest Service
decisions to implement specific forest fuels reduction activities are being delayed by
the appeals and litigation of these decisions.

In August 2001, we were asked to report on some limited aspects of this issue. We
                                                                               1
provided this information to the congressional requesters on August 31, 2001. In
2002, the Forest Service also analyzed specific aspects of this issue and provided its
findings to the Congress.2 While the subject of these reports was the same, the
specific objectives and scope of the analyses differed considerably. Not
unexpectedly, these differences led to different analytical results. Accordingly, in the
summer of 2002, you asked us to perform a more comprehensive analysis of the
      3
issue.

Specifically, you asked us to determine

             •   the number of decisions involving fuels reduction activities and the number
                 of acres affected in FY 2001 and FY 2002,
             •   the number of decisions that were appealed and/or litigated and the
                 number of acres affected in FY 2001 and FY 2002,
             •   the outcomes of the appealed and/or litigated decisions and the names of
                 the appellants and plaintiffs,
             •   whether the appeals were processed within prescribed time frames,
             •   the number of acres treated or planned to be treated by each of the fuels
                                      4
                 reduction methods, and
             •   the number of decisions involving fuels reduction activities in the wildland-
                 urban interface and inventoried roadless areas.5

To respond to your request, we conducted a Web-based survey of all 155 national
forests. The survey focused on all Forest Service decisions with a forest fuels


1
  U.S. General Accounting Office, Forest Service: Appeals and Litigation of Fuels Reduction Projects,
GAO-01-1114R (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 31, 2001).
2
  U.S. Forest Service, Factors Affecting Timely Mechanical Fuel Treatments Decisions (Washington,
D.C.: July 2002).
3
  We received a request from Representative McInnis and Senators Craig and Smith in July 2002. We
received a separate request from Senator Bingaman in August 2002.
4
  The same acreage can be the subject of more than one decision.
5
  Inventoried roadless areas are defined in 36 C.F.R. part 294 subpart B as “areas identified in a set of
inventoried roadless area maps, contained in Forest Service Roadless Area Conservation, Final
Environmental Impact Statement, volume 2, dated November 2000.”


    Page 2                                                      GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
                                                                                   6
reduction component that were issued in fiscal years 2001 and 2002. We obtained a
100 percent response rate from the national forests, and we have partially completed
our verification of 10 percent of the reported decisions for accuracy.

In discussions with your staffs, we agreed to provide you with a briefing on the
preliminary results of our work, with a final report to follow when we have
completed our analysis and verification. This briefing occurred on May 9, 2003. As
we pointed out at the briefing, there are some limitations to the information provided.
First, we have not yet completed our verification work, so some of the preliminary
information in the briefing and this report may change. However, on the basis of the
partial verification work we have done, we do not anticipate significant changes to
the reported information. Further, as with any survey, the information obtained from
the national forests was self-reported, and we were not able to independently ensure
that all decisions were reported. In addition, the Forest Service does not have a
common definition of a fuels reduction activity. Accordingly, if the Forest Service
decision documents explicitly stated that the purpose of an activity was fuels
reduction, we accepted it. Likewise, if the decision documents did not include an
explicit discussion of fuels reduction, we did not include the decision in our analysis.
Finally, the Forest Service does not have a uniformly applied definition of the
wildland-urban interface. Consequently, individual forests may have their own
definition or no definition at all which could result in inconsistent data.

Enclosure II contains the information we provided during our May 9, 2003, briefing
with your office. This report briefly summarizes our preliminary answers to your
questions.

In brief, the national forests reported the following:

•     762 decisions involved fuels reduction activities in FY 2001 and FY 2002. The
      fuels reduction activities in these decisions covered 4.7 million acres. The
      national forests originally reported 851 decisions involving fuels reduction
      activities. Of these, we eliminated 67 because respondents did not identify fuels
      reduction as a stated purpose of the activities. We also eliminated 22 decisions
      because they may not have been issued in FY 2001 or FY 2002.

•     180 decisions were appealed affecting 900,000 acres. These decisions represented
      24 percent of all decisions or 59 percent of appealable decisions. Generally,
      decisions that were categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an
      environmental impact statement are not appealable; 457 decisions covering 3
      million acres were not appealable. Conversely, decisions that were issued after
      preparation of an environmental assessment or an environmental impact
      statement are appealable; 305 decisions covering 1.7 million acres were
      appealable. All decisions can be litigated; 23, or 3 percent of decisions were
      litigated, affecting 100,000 acres.

•     The outcomes of the 180 appealed decisions and 23 litigated decisions are as
      follows:

6
    Our work focused only on national forests, national grasslands were not included.

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                                                7
             o Of the 180 appealed decisions,

                    •   133 required no change before implementation (i.e., the Forest
                        Service affirmed its original decision);
                    •   16 were modified to some degree (i.e., the Forest Service allowed
                        the decision to be implemented with changes);
                    •   19 were reversed (i.e., the Forest Service did not allow the decision
                        to be implemented); and
                    •   12 were withdrawn by the Forest Service, but it was unclear if
                        changes were required.
                    •   84 interest groups and 39 private individuals appeared as appellants
                        in FY 2001 and FY 2002.

             o Of the 23 litigated decisions,

                    •   10 were still in the courts at the time of our survey;
                    •   5 were settled by agreement of the parties;
                    •   3 were reversed, overturning the Forest Service’s decision;
                    •   1 was upheld by the court; and
                    •   the outcomes of 4 were unknown because the respondents did not
                        report their status.
                    •   27 interest groups and one private individual appeared as plaintiffs
                        in the litigated decisions.

      •      The national forests processed 79 percent of appeals within the prescribed 90-
             day time frame. The national forests reported many reasons for exceeding the
             90-day time limit 21 percent of the time, including the following: in general,
             staffing was inadequate; insufficient staff were available around the holiday
             season; appeals were backlogged; and settlement of some appeals was
             imminent.

      •      The national forests planned to use prescribed burning on 3.3 million acres
             and mechanical treatments on 800,000 acres. In addition, the national forests
             reported using other methods on 1.1 million acres (mostly because of an
             annual firewood removal program at one forest). Because the same acreage
             can be treated by more than one method, the sum is greater than the total
             acreage treated.

      •      The national forests issued 464 decisions involving fuels reduction activities in
             the wildland-urban interface covering 1.5 million acres of planned treatments.
             Of these, 163 were appealable, and 84 were appealed. 73 decisions involved
             fuels reduction activities in inventoried roadless areas covering 200,000 acres
             of planned treatments. Of these 73 decisions, 39 were appealable, and 24 were
             appealed.


7
 We have not yet analyzed to what extent activities planned under the reversed and withdrawn
decisions still occurred after problems leading to the reversal or withdrawl were resolved.


    Page 4                                                  GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
We provided a draft of this report to the Forest Service for its review and comment.
The Forest Service generally agreed with the information presented in the report. In
commenting on the report, however, the Forest Service had one major concern.
Specifically, the agency believes that we should not have included a 1 million acre
personal use firewood program at one forest in the material presented because, in
their opinion, it unnecessarily skews the data by increasing the amount of acreage
with fuel reduction activities. However, we did not change the report to omit the
information because, as the Forest Service agrees, it was reported and documented
as a fuels reduction project by the agency. Nonetheless, in the interest of full
disclosure, we highlighted the unique nature of the project in the information we are
providing, as appropriate. In addition, the agency provided some editorial comments
that we considered in finalizing the report.

                                         - - - - -

As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce its contents earlier, we
plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days after the date of this report. At
that time, we will send copies to the Secretary of Agriculture; the Chief of the Forest
Service; the Director, Office of Management and Budget; and other interested parties.
We will make copies available to others upon request. This report will also be
available on GAO’s home page at http://www.gao.gov.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact me at (202)
512-3841 or Cliff Fowler at (202) 512-8029. Major contributors to this report include
Carolyn Boyce, Curtis Groves, Roy Judy, Nicole Shivers, Patrick Sigl, and Shana
Wallace.




Barry T. Hill
Director, Natural Resources
and Environment

Enclosure




Page 5                                                GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
List of Requesters

The Honorable Scott McInnis
Chairman, Subcommittee on Forests
  and Forest Health
Committee on Resources
House of Representatives

The Honorable Larry E. Craig
Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Lands
  and Forests
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
United States Senate

The Honorable Jeff Bingaman
Ranking Member, Committee on Energy
  and Natural Resources
United States Senate

The Honorable Gordon Smith
United States Senate




Page 6                                      GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




                            Briefing for Congressional Requesters




            Information on Forest Service Decisions Involving Fuels
                               Reduction Activities




                                                                                              1




Page 7                                                 GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




         Background

         • Decades of well-intended fire management policies have resulted in
           dangerous accumulations of brush, small trees and other
           hazardous vegetation (i.e. forest fuels) on federal lands.
         • These accumulations of forest materials have increasingly provided
           fuel for large, intense wildfires that all too often become
           catastrophic and result in the loss of life and property.
         • As a result, addressing the threat of catastrophic wildfires has
           become an overarching theme in managing national forests.
         • The policy and management principles guiding the nation’s efforts
           in addressing this danger are provided in the National Fire Plan.
           Reducing the buildup of forest fuels is a central component of this
           initiative.


                                                                                        2




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Enclosure




         Background (cont.)

         • To carry out forest fuels reduction activities, the Forest Service
           must comply with the requirements of the National Environmental
           Policy Act (NEPA), as well as other statutes.
         • NEPA requires the Forest Service, and all other federal agencies,
           to assess the environmental impacts of their major actions that
           significantly affect environmental quality.
         • As part of the NEPA process, the Forest Service generally
           publishes a document—referred to as a decision document—
           detailing the specific activities to be implemented. This document
           can include activities to reduce forest fuels.
         • Under certain circumstances the public can appeal decision
           documents. An appeal is a written document filed with a
           designated forest service official objecting to a decision. The
           designated forest service official renders a decision on the appeal.
           In addition, the public can file a lawsuit with a federal district court
           objecting to a decision.
                                                                                            3




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Enclosure




          Background (cont.)


          • Each decision can include many activities, such as those aimed at
            reducing forest fuels.
          • In response to the National Fire Plan, the Congress appropriated
            hundreds of millions of dollars for the Forest Service to undertake
            fuels reduction activities.
          • Controversy has arisen about whether the appeals and litigation of
            Forest Service decisions delays the implementation of fuels
            reduction activities.
          • Recent legislative and administrative proposals would revise the
            appeals process or exempt certain fuels reduction activities from it.




                                                                                           4




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Enclosure




          Objectives

          We were asked to provide information on:
          1) The number of decisions involving fuels reduction activities and
             the number of acres affected in FY 2001 and FY 2002
          2) The number of decisions that were appealed and/or litigated and
             the number of acres affected in FY 2001 and FY 2002
          3) The outcomes of the appealed and/or litigated decisions and the
             names of the appellants and plaintiffs
          4) Whether appeals are processed within prescribed time frames
          5) The number of acres treated or planned to be treated by each of
             the fuels reduction methods
          6) Decisions involving fuels reduction activities in wildland-urban
             interface and inventoried roadless areas


                                                                                         5




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Enclosure




          Scope and Methodology

          • The Forest Service has no national database of fuels reduction
            decisions, appeals, or litigation.
          • We consulted with Forest Service headquarters, regional, and
            national forest officials on where needed information resides.
          • We conducted a web-based survey of all 155 national forests to
            collect data on decisions issued in fiscal years 2001 and 2002 – the
            first 2 years of activity under the National Fire Plan. We did not
            include national grasslands in our analysis.
          • We had a 100% response rate.
          • We sampled 10% of the reported decisions to verify the accuracy of
            reported data.
          • We have not yet completed our verification work. On the basis of
            work done so far, we do not anticipate any major problems with
            data accuracy.

                                                                                          6




Page 12                                            GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Scope and Methodology


          • The national forests originally reported 851 decisions involving fuels
            reduction activities. Of these, we eliminated
              • 67 because respondents did not identify fuels reduction as a
                purpose of the project. We have not yet analyzed why
                respondents did not identify these decisions as having fuels
                reduction activities.
              • 22 because they may not have been issued within the time
                frame we were analyzing. We have not completed verification
                to ascertain when these decisions were signed.




                                                                                            7




Page 13                                            GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Limitations/Caveats

          • Information obtained from the national forests was self-reported.
            Therefore, we have no independent assurance that all decisions
            were reported.
          • The Forest Service does not have a common definition of a fuels
            reduction activity.
          • If documentation described the activity as fuels reduction, we
            accepted it in our analysis.
          • Although the Forest Service published a general definition of the
            the wildland-urban interface in the federal register, it is not uniformly
            applied to all national forests.
          • Because verification is incomplete, some numbers presented in this
            briefing may change.


                                                                                              8




Page 14                                              GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Results in Brief

          • The national forests reported:
                • 762 decisions involving fuels reduction activities covering
                  4.7M acres. 457 decisions (60% of all decisions) covering
                  3M acres were not appealable, and 305 decisions covering
                  1.7M acres were appealable.
                • 180 decisions were appealed (0.9M acres) representing
                  59% of appealable decisions or 24% of all decisions; 23, or
                  3% of all decisions, were litigated (0.1M acres).
                • Of those appealed, 133 decisions required no change before
                  implementation; 35 required changes; and 12 were
                  withdrawn and it is unclear whether changes were required.
                  Of those litigated, many were still in the courts at the time of
                  our analysis; many appellants/litigants were interest groups.


                                                                                            9




Page 15                                            GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Results in Brief (cont.)

               • 79% of appeals were processed within the prescribed 90-
                 day time frame. Reasons given for not processing the
                 appeals within 90-days included inadequate staffing,
                 availability of staff around the holiday season, appeal
                 backlog, and settlement of the appeal was imminent.
               • 3.3M acres were treated, or treatment was planned using
                 prescribed burning; 0.8M acres using mechanical methods;
                 1.1M using other means (mostly due to firewood removal at
                 one forest). Because the same acreage can be treated by
                 more than one method, the sum is greater than the total
                 acreage treated.
               • 464 decisions (1.5M acres) involved fuels reduction activities
                 in the wildland-urban interface; 73 decisions (0.2M acres)
                 involved such activities in inventoried roadless areas.

                                                                                        10




Page 16                                         GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 1: Number of decisions and acres
             affected
          In FY 2001 and FY 2002, there were 762 decisions involving fuels
             reduction activities.
          • There are three kinds of decisions.
               • Those that were categorically excluded (CE) from the
                 preparation of an environmental assessment (EA) or an
                 environmental impact statement (EIS). CEs are generally not
                 appealable.
               • Those for which an EA was prepared.
               • Those for which an EIS was prepared.




                                                                                        11




Page 17                                           GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 1 (cont.)

          Decisions and acreage by decision type:
                                    CEsa              EAs               EISs               Total
                No. of
                                     457               256               49                 762
               decisions
               % of total
                                      60                34                6                 100
               decisions
                 No. of
                                     3M               1.4M             0.3M                4.7M
                 acres
               %of total
                                      64                30                6                 100
                acres
              aOne  activity covered by a CE treats approximately 1M acres under an annual program to allow
              private individuals to collect firewood.


                                                                                                               12




Page 18                                                                  GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




            Objective 1 (cont.) Figure 1: Total decisions and acres, by Forest
            Service region




                                                                                       13




Page 19                                        GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




            Objective 1 (cont.) Figure 2: Regional data on decisions




                                                                                     14




Page 20                                        GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 1(cont.) Figure 3: Regional data on acres




                                                                                       15




Page 21                                        GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 2: Number of decisions appealed
             and/or litigated and acreage affected

          Appealed decisions and acreage:
          • Of 762 decisions, 305 were appealable.
             • Generally, decisions covered by CEs are not appealable.
             • Decisions covered by EAs and EISs are appealable.
          • 180 decisions were appealed (59% of appealable decisions or 24%
            of all decisions).
          • 63 decisions were appealed more than once—at least 267 appeals
            on the 180 decisions.
          • The appealed decisions covered 0.9M acres.




                                                                                       16




Page 22                                        GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 2 (cont.) Figure 4: Appeal rates of all decisions and
          appealable decisions by region




                                                                                        17




Page 23                                         GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 2 (cont.)

          Litigated decisions and acreage:
          • Of the 762 decisions:
               • 23 were litigated (3%) covering 0.1M acres.
                  • All decisions can be litigated.
                  • None of the 457 CEs were litigated.
                  • 23 of the 305 decisions covered by EAs and EISs were
                    litigated covering 0.1M acres.




                                                                                       18




Page 24                                          GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 2 (cont.) Figure 5: Decisions, appeals, and litigation by
          region




                                                                                        19




Page 25                                         GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 3: The outcomes of the appealed and/or litigated
          decisions and the names of the appellants and plaintiffs


          Appeal Outcomes
          • Of the 180 appealed decisions:
             • 133 required no change before implementation.
             • 16 were modified to some degree (i.e., the Forest Service
                allowed the decision to be implemented with changes).
             • 19 were reversed (i.e., the Forest Service did not allow the
                decision to be implemented).
             • 12 were withdrawn (the Forest Service withdrew the decision,
                but it was unclear if changes were required).




                                                                                        20




Page 26                                         GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 3 (cont.)

          Appellants
          • A decision can be appealed multiple times. There were at least 267
            appeals on the 180 appealed decisions. About 84 interest groups and 39
            private individuals appeared as appellants in the 267 appeals.
          • Multiple appellants can appear as parties to an appeal. The 84 interest
            groups appeared about 432 times as parties to the appeals. The 39 private
            individuals appeared about 48 times as parties to the appeals.
          • Of the interest groups:
              • 7 groups each appeared as appellants 20 or more times: the Alliance
                 for Wild Rockies, Ecology Center, Forest Conservation Council, Lands
                 Council, National Forest Protection Alliance, Oregon Natural
                 Resources Council, and Sierra Club.
              • Interest groups were most active in Forest Service’s Northern, Pacific
                 Southwest, and Pacific Northwest regions--regions 1, 5, and 6
                 respectively.



                                                                                             21




Page 27                                              GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 3 (cont)

          Litigation outcomes
          • Of the 23 litigated decisions:
               • 10 were still in litigation at the time of the survey.
               • 5 were settled by agreement of the parties.
               • 3 were reversed, overturning the Forest Service’s decision; the
                  Forest Service has appealed one of these to a higher court.
               • 1 was upheld by the court, allowing the Forest Service to
                  proceed with the decision.
               • 4 are unknown because the respondents did not report
                  outcomes.




                                                                                          22




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Enclosure




          Objective 3 (cont.)

          Litigants
          • Of the 23 litigated decisions, 27 different interest groups appeared
             77 times as plaintiffs and 1 private individual appeared once as a
             plaintiff.
          • Of the interest groups:
               • 5 groups appeared as plaintiffs in 4 or more decisions: the
                  Ecology Center, Sierra Club, Oregon Natural Resources
                  Council, Hell’s Canyon Preservation Council, and Native
                  Ecosystems Council.
               • Interest groups were most active in the Forest Service’s
                  Northern, Intermountain, Pacific Southwest, and Pacific
                  Northwest regions—regions 1, 4, 5 and 6, respectively.



                                                                                               23




Page 29                                           GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 4: Information on whether appeals are processed
          within prescribed time frames


          • Appeals must be processed within 90 days of the date a decision
            was legally published
             • There were at least 267 appeals on 180 decisions:
                 • At least 212 appeals (79%) affecting 141 decisions were
                   processed within 90 days.
                 • At least 55 appeals (21%) affecting 39 decisions were not
                   processed within 90 days.




                                                                                         24




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Enclosure




          Objective 4 (cont.)

          • The national forests reported various reasons for not processing the
            55 appeals within 90 days, including:
              • Inadequate staffing
              • Availability of staff around the holiday season
              • Appeal backlog
              • Settlement of the appeal was imminent.
          • If an appeal is filed, a decision may not be implemented until 15
            days after the outcome of the appeal is determined. However, an
            “emergency mechanism” permits the Forest Service chief to
            implement a decision even if an appeal was filed. This mechanism
            was not used in FY 2001 or FY 2002.



                                                                                          25




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Enclosure




          Objective 5: The number of acres treated or planned to be
              treated by each of the fuels reduction methods.


          Treatment Methods
          • 3.3M acres were treated, or treatment was planned by prescribed
            burning.
          • 0.8M acres were treated by mechanical treatment (e.g., bulldozers,
            chainsaws, chippers, mulchers).
          • 687 acres were treated by chemical/herbicide treatment.
          • 300 acres were treated by grazing.
          • 1.1M acres were reported as “other” treatment methods. Most of
            these acres were for a single firewood program.
          • Because multiple treatment methods can be used on the same
            acres, the numbers will not total to 4.7M acres treated in FY 2001
            and FY 2002.

                                                                                         26




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Enclosure




          Objective 5 (cont.) Figure 6: Acres treated or planned to be
          treated by prescribed burning under each decision type




                                           Source: U.S. Department of the Interior


             • Of the 3.3M prescribed burning acres:
                • 1.9M acres were covered under CEs.
                • 1.2M acres were covered under EAs.
                • 0.2M acres were covered under EISs.


                                                                                                        27




Page 33                                                    GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 5 (cont.) Figure 7: Acres treated or planned to be
          treated by mechanical treatment under each decision type




               Note: Percentages do not add to 100 due to rounding.


             • Of the 0.8M acres mechanically treated:
                • 0.2M acres were covered under CEs.
                • 0.5M acres were covered under EAs.
                • 0.1M acres were covered under EISs.

                                                                                                              28




Page 34                                                               GAO-03-689R Forest Service Fuels Reduction
Enclosure




          Objective 5 (cont.) Figure 8: Acres treated or planned to be
          treated by chemical treatment, grazing, and other methods under
          each decision type




          •Of the 1,060,687 acres treated by chemical, grazing, and other methods:
              •1,007,064 were covered under CEs
              •53,573 were covered under EAs
              •50 were covered under EISs

                                                                                              29




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Enclosure




          Objective 6: Information on decisions with fuels reduction
              activities in wildland-urban interface and inventoried
              roadless areas

          Wildland-urban interface (WUI) decisions:
          • Of the 762 decisions, the national forests reported 464 (61%)
            decisions with fuels reduction activities in the WUI.
          • These 464 decisions covered 1.5M acres (32% of total acreage for
            all reported fuels reduction activities).




                                                                                        30




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Enclosure




          Objective 6 (cont.) Figure 9: Comparison of WUI and non-WUI
          acreage covered by fuels reduction activities




                                                                                    31




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Enclosure




          Objective 6 (cont.) Figure 10: WUI acreage by decision type




          • Of the 1.5M acres in the WUI:
             • 1.0M were covered under CEs
             • 0.4M were covered under EAs
             • 0.1M were covered under EISs



                                                  Note: Percentages do not add to 100 due to rounding.




                                                                                                         32




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Enclosure




          Objective 6 (cont.)

          WUI appeals:
          • Of the 464 decisions involving activities in the WUI (1.5M acres),
            163 were appealable (0.5M acres).
          • 84 decisions were appealed (0.2M acres).




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Enclosure




          Objective 6 (cont.)

          Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRA) decisions:
          • Of the 762 decisions, the national forests reported 73 (10%)
             decisions with fuels reduction activities in an IRA.
          • These 73 decisions covered 0.2M acres (4% of total acreage for all
             reported fuels reduction activities).




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Enclosure




          Objective 6 (cont.) Figure 11: Comparison of IRA and non-IRA
          acreage covered by fuels reduction activities




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Enclosure




          Objective 6 (cont.) Figure 12: IRA acreage by decision type




          • Of the 240K acres in the IRA:
             • 95K were covered under CEs
             • 129K were covered under EAs
             • 16K were covered under EISs


                                                Note: Percentages do not add to 100 due to rounding.




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Enclosure




          Objective 6 (cont.)

          IRA appeals:
          • Of the 73 decisions involving IRAs (0.2M acres), 39 were
            appealable (0.15M acres).
              • 24 decisions were appealed (0.08M acres).




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(360272)


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