oversight

Wildland Fires: Forest Service's Removal of Timber Burned by Wildland Fires

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 2003-07-10.

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

A
United States General Accounting Office
Washington, D.C. 20548



                                    July 10, 2003                                                                    Leter




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

                                    Subject: Wildland Fires: Forest Service’s Removal of Timber Burned by
                                    Wildland Fires

                                    Dear Senator Bingaman:

                                    Wildland fires burned over 8 million acres during the 2000 wildfire season,
                                    making it one of the worst in the past 50 years. As a result, a National Fire
                                    Plan was implemented beginning in 2001 to better prevent, prepare for,
                                    respond to, and repair damage caused by wildland fires. In fiscal years 2001
                                    through 2003, Congress provided $4.9 billion to the U.S. Department of
                                    Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service to implement the National Fire Plan
                                    on land that it manages. Of this amount, Congress earmarked $212 million
                                    to fund the rehabilitation of land burned by wildland fires. In general,
                                    rehabilitation covers long-term efforts to improve lands unlikely to recover
                                    naturally from wildland fire damage. In some cases, rehabilitation may
                                    include removing timber from burnt land to, among other things, reduce
                                    hazardous fuels. Questions have been raised, however, about whether it is
                                    appropriate to use rehabilitation funds for removing such timber, which
                                    can be sold.

                                    Trees that are removed from National Forest System land can be either
                                    green and healthy or dead or dying as a result of disease or wildland fire.
                                    Depending on their value, the trees may be disposed of or sold. In general,
                                    if the trees have little or no commercial value, the Forest Service will use
                                    service contracts to have the trees removed and disposed of. If the trees
                                    have commercial value, they are considered timber, and the Forest Service
                                    will use timber sale contracts to have the timber removed and sold. Timber
                                    sale contracts generally proceed through two phases—a planning phase
                                    and an implementation and award phase. The Forest Service can use
                                    different funding sources to have timber removed depending on the reason
                                    for removal.

                                    You asked us to determine (1) if the Forest Service uses wildland fire
                                    rehabilitation funding to remove timber from burnt land, and, if not, the
                                    source of funding the Forest Service uses as well as the types of contracts



                                    Page 1                     GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
             used, and (2) why this timber is removed. For this review, we requested
             data from the Forest Service for calendar years 2000 through 2002, as of
             April 2003, on the sources of funding used to award contracts to have
             timber removed from burnt land, the numbers and types of contracts
             awarded to remove this timber, and the primary objective for removing the
             timber. We requested data on timber removed from burnt land in Forest
             Service regions 1, 3, and 4—the Northern, Southwestern, and
             Intermountain regions, respectively—because these three Forest Service
             regions received about 76 percent of the agency’s rehabilitation funds in
             fiscal years 2001 and 2002. We used April 2003 as our cut-off date because
             this date includes the most recent data available to respond to your
             request.

             In summary, we found the following:

             • The Forest Service relied exclusively on timber sale funding, and did not
               use wildland fire rehabilitation funding, for implementing and awarding
               timber sale contracts to have timber removed from burnt land. As of
               April 2003, 88 timber sale contracts had been implemented and awarded
               to remove timber from burnt land in Forest Service regions 1, 3, and 4.

             • According to the Forest Service, it has timber removed from burnt land
               for several reasons—to reduce hazardous fuels, recover the economic
               value of the timber, protect public health and safety, and restore
               vegetation. While the Forest Service cited one primary reason for having
               timber removed for 69 of the contracts, it cited multiple reasons for 19
               contracts.

             In responding to a draft of this letter, the Forest Service agreed with the
             factual contents of the letter and provided us several technical changes that
             we incorporated, as appropriate.



Background   The Forest Service relies primarily on two types of contracts to remove
             trees—service contracts and timber sale contracts. Service contracts are
             used to remove and dispose of trees that have little or no commercial value.
             In contrast, timber sale contracts are used to remove and sell trees that are
             considered to have commercial value. Both service contracts and timber
             sale contracts are generally competitively bid. Winning contractors on
             service contracts are paid by the Forest Service to remove and dispose of
             trees, while winning contractors on timber sale contracts pay the Forest
             Service an agreed-upon price to remove and sell timber from land in the



             Page 2                     GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
National Forest System. A timber sale contract involves two phases—a
planning phase and an implementation and award phase. The planning
phase includes two steps: (1) initial planning and (2) project analysis and
design, including appropriate environmental analysis and documentation.
The implementation and award phase includes four steps: (1) preparing for
the timber sale, (2) advertising the sale, (3) opening the bid(s), and (4)
awarding the contract.

The Forest Service has several funding sources available for selling timber.
Its Salvage Sale Fund provides funding for selling dead, damaged, or down
timber. Salvage sale funds are intended to cover the costs of preparing for
and supervising the removal of timber damaged through natural events
such as insect infestation, strong winds, and wildland fires. The Forest
Service uses salvage sale funds for timber sales whose sole or primary
purpose is to salvage dead or dying trees, as well as those portions of sales
that include salvage timber. In addition to the salvage sale fund, the Forest
Service can use National Forest System and, in particular, forest product
monies,1 for timber sales that have no salvage component. A timber sale
that includes both healthy and dead or dying trees may be funded entirely
with forest product monies, or the funding may be split between forest
product monies and salvage sale funds, in proportion to the healthy and
salvage components of the sale.

In response to the 2000 wildland fire season, the administration asked
USDA and the Department of the Interior to recommend how best to
respond to the fires and how to reduce the effects of such fires in the
future.2 The resulting report—the National Fire Plan—recommended
increased funding for several key activities, including rehabilitating burnt
land. USDA’s Office of Inspector General’s report on the Forest Service’s
implementation of the National Fire Plan included a review of, among other
things, rehabilitation projects at the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana.3


1
 The Forest Service is in the process of revising its handbook on the terminology used for
categorizing funding sources. One of the revisions is the use of the term “forest product” in
lieu of “timber sales management” as a funding source. This funding source is to be used for
expenses necessary to prepare National Forest System timber for sale and for expenses
necessary to administer timber sales from the date of award to closing.
2
 We did not include the Department of the Interior in our review because it was not a basis
for your request.
3
 USDA, Office of Inspector General, Forest Service National Fire Plan Implementation,
Western Region Audit Report No. 08601-26-SF (Washington, D.C.: November 2001).




Page 3                           GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
                        In reviewing an environmental analysis that the forest selected to fund,
                        which was an analysis of alternative rehabilitation treatments, the Office of
                        Inspector General noted that the environmental analysis contained, as an
                        alternative treatment, salvaging timber burned by wildland fires during the
                        2000 season. While the Office of Inspector General did not question the use
                        of rehabilitation funds for conducting the environmental analysis of
                        alternative treatments, it had concerns as to whether rehabilitation funds
                        should be used on projects whose primary purpose was selling timber.
                        According to the Forest Service, because the environmental analysis had
                        not been completed for activities on the Bitterroot National Forest, and
                        because projects such as timber sales had not been selected for
                        implementation, the Forest Service had not used rehabilitation funds to
                        plan or administer a commercial timber sale on the forest.



The Forest Service      From January 2000 through April 2003, the three Forest Service regions we
                        reviewed used timber sale funding to implement and award 88 timber sale
Relied on Timber Sale   contracts for removing timber from burnt land. The 88 contracts were
Funds to Have Timber    valued at about $8 million to remove and sell about 279,000 hundred cubic
                        feet of timber. 4 Of these contracts, 78 were financed with salvage sale
Removed from Burnt      funds, while 10 were financed with forest product monies. Forests in
Land                    region 1—the Northern Region—awarded most of these contracts, as
                        shown in table 1. No rehabilitation funds were used to carry out these
                        activities. (The enclosure to this letter provides more detailed information
                        on the timber sale contracts awarded by the three regions and the sources
                        of funding that they used.)




                        4
                         The Forest Service estimates that in 1998, an average sized single-family home consisting of
                        2,190 square feet of living area required about 1,730 cubic feet of wood products to
                        construct. USDA, Forest Service, Domestic Market Activity in Solid Wood Products in the
                        United States, 1950-1998, PNW-GTR-524 (Portland, Oreg.: 2002).




                        Page 4                           GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
Table 1: Number of Contracts Funded, Source of Timber Sale Funding, Value of Contracts, and Timber Included in Contracts
Used in Regions 1, 3, and 4 to Have Timber Removed from Land Burned during 2000, 2001, and 2002, as of April 2003


                          Number of contracts funded with
                               timber sale funding
                           Salvage sale               Forest                                       Timber included in the contracts
Region                           funds        product monies              Value of contracts                   (hundred cubic feet)
1                                   60                      10                   $7,289,751                                  231,005
3                                   11                       0                      322,797                                   35,719
4                                    7                       0                      447,159                                   12,348
Total                               78                      10                   $8,059,707                                  279,072
Source: USDA’s Forest Service.


                                                  According to Forest Service officials, either salvage sale funds or forest
                                                  product monies are to be used for implementing and awarding timber sale
                                                  contracts. This approach is consistent with the Forest Service’s “primary
                                                  purpose policy,” which the Forest Service adopted in fiscal year 2000. The
                                                  policy requires that the Forest Service fund an activity, including any
                                                  associated coordination or support activities, from the designated source
                                                  of funding—the budget line item—as provided by Congress. If no specific
                                                  budget line item exists to fund the activity, then the activity is to be funded
                                                  according to the primary purpose or objective of the activity. Because
                                                  timber sales have designated sources of funding, these sources are to be
                                                  used.

                                                  The use of forest product monies was limited to those timber sales where
                                                  salvage sale funds were not available or where the timber being sold did
                                                  not qualify for such funding. For example, according to region 1’s Gallatin
                                                  National Forest in Montana, it used forest product monies to administer
                                                  two contracts for removing timber from land burned by the 2001 Purdy and
                                                  Fridley fires because the forest had no funds available in its salvage sale
                                                  fund. A forester at region 1’s Helena National Forest in Montana said that
                                                  this forest used forest product monies to administer two contracts used to
                                                  remove and sell timber on land burned by the 2000 Maudlow Toston and
                                                  Cave Gulch fires because the timber did not meet the requirements for
                                                  using salvage sale funds. The timber being sold was healthy prior to the
                                                  sale, as opposed to being dead or dying. The healthy timber was quickly
                                                  felled and sold in advance of the fires to create fire lines intended to slow
                                                  or stop the fires.




                                                  Page 5                      GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
                        Even though none of these sales were funded during the implementation
                        and award phase with funds other than those from timber sales, under
                        certain circumstances the Forest Service could have used other funding
                        sources, such as wildland fire rehabilitation funds, in the planning phase
                        associated with the sales. During the planning phase, the Forest Service
                        may have to conduct an environmental analysis, such as an environmental
                        impact statement, before deciding on the need for and extent of a sale. The
                        environmental analysis, however, may include numerous proposed
                        activities, only one of which may be a timber sale. Depending on the
                        purpose of and need for the environmental analysis, under the Forest
                        Service’s primary purpose policy adopted in fiscal year 2000, funding
                        sources other than salvage sale or forest product may have funded the
                        analysis. For example, if the purpose of and need for the environmental
                        analysis was wildland fire rehabilitation, those monies could be used.5 Of
                        the 88 contracts, 38 required the preparation of an environmental impact
                        statement.6 It is not known if funds other than salvage sale funds or forest
                        product monies were used to fund planning activities because the Forest
                        Service’s accounting system does not track actual sale-by-sale planning or
                        implementation and award costs.7



The Forest Service      The Forest Service cited a variety of objectives for having timber removed
                        from burnt land. While it cited one primary objective for having timber
Cited a Variety of      removed for 69 of the contracts, it cited more than one objective for the
Objectives for Having   remaining 19 contracts. The most frequently cited objective was to reduce
                        hazardous fuels. Table 2 provides information on the primary objective
Timber Removed from     cited for having timber removed. (The enclosure to this letter also includes
Burnt Land              more detailed information on the specific objective[s] cited.)




                        5
                         According to a Forest Service budget official, the Forest Service is considering developing
                        guidance for allocating the cost associated with completing an environmental analysis to
                        different programs and budget line items if the environmental analysis includes multiple
                        proposed actions that have more than one purpose and need.
                        6
                         One environmental impact statement at a national forest could result in multiple timber
                        sale contracts.
                        7
                         We reported on the Forest Service’s tracking of salvage sale costs in Forest Service: Actions
                        Needed to Ensure That Salvage Sale Fund Is Adequately Managed, GAO/RCED-97-228
                        (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 26, 1997).




                        Page 6                            GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
              Table 2: Primary Objective Cited by Regions 1, 3, and 4 for Having Timber Removed
              from Land Burned in 2000, 2001, and 2002

              Primary objective                          Region 1     Region 3    Region 4         Total
              Reduce hazardous fuels                            29            0           0          29
              Recover economic value of the                     12          10            1          23
              timber
              Protect public health and safety                   7            1           6          14
              Restore vegetation                                 3            0           0           3
              Multiple objectives                               19            0           0          19
              Total                                             70          11            7          88
              Source: USDA’s Forest Service.




Scope and     To conduct this review, we requested information from the Forest Service
              on contracts awarded to have timber removed from land that burned in
Methodology   Forest Service regions 1, 3, and 4—the Northern, Southwestern, and
              Intermountain regions, respectively—as of April 2003. We limited our
              request to these three regions because they accounted for about 76 percent
              of the funding provided to the Forest Service for rehabilitation in fiscal
              years 2001 and 2002. We also limited our request to contracts awarded to
              remove timber from land burned by wildland fires that occurred in
              calendar years 2000, 2001, and 2002 because the National Fire Plan,
              adopted in fiscal year 2001, began to provide additional funds for wildland
              fire activity, including reducing hazardous fuels and rehabilitating burnt
              land. We asked for the number of contracts awarded by national forest and
              wildland fire name, the funding source used for the contract, the type of
              contract, the acreage included in the wildland fire and the contract, the
              value of the contract, and the amount of material that could be removed
              under the terms of the contract. We did not request information on the
              source of funding that the Forest Service may have used in advance of
              awarding the timber sale contracts, such as funding used to conduct any
              required environmental analyses because, as previously noted, USDA’s
              accounting system does not track actual sale-by-sale planning or
              implementation and award costs.

              We also requested data on the primary objective for removing the timber. In
              addition, we met with officials from the Forest Service, including
              representatives from Forest and Rangeland Management, Policy and
              Budget Analysis, and the wildland fire rehabilitation program. We did not
              independently verify the accuracy of the reported data or otherwise



              Page 7                             GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
                  independently review contract administration or financial management
                  data. However, we contacted officials within selected national forests to
                  clarify data provided to us on the types of contracts and funding sources
                  used. We conducted our work between April and June 2003 in accordance
                  with generally accepted government auditing standards.



Agency Comments   We provided a draft of this letter to the Secretary of Agriculture for review
                  and comment and obtained oral comments from the Forest Service. In
                  commenting on the draft, the Forest Service’s National Forest System
                  Budget Coordinator and the Director of Forest and Rangeland stated that
                  they agreed with the factual contents of the letter. The Forest Service also
                  provided us several technical changes that we incorporated into the letter,
                  as appropriate.


                  As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents
                  earlier, we plan no further distribution of this letter until 14 days after the
                  date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies of this letter to
                  interested congressional committees and others upon request. In addition,
                  the letter will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at
                  http://www.gao.gov.

                  If you or your staff have any questions about this letter, please call me at
                  (202) 512-3841 or Chester Janik, Assistant Director, at (202) 512-6508.
                  Major contributors to this letter include Marcia Brouns McWreath.

                  Sincerely yours,




                  Barry T. Hill
                  Director, Natural Resources and Environment

                  Enclosure




                  Page 8                      GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
Enclosure

Forest Service Regions 1, 3, and 4 Timber
Removal Contracts for Land Burned in
Calendar Years 2000-2002                                                                                                           Enco
                                                                                                                                      lsure




Information on Contracts Awarded by Forest Service Regions 1, 3, and 4 to Have Timber Removed from National Forest System
Land Burned by Calendar Year 2000, 2001, or 2002 Wildland Fires, as of April 2003


                              Total                                               Timber
                             acres     Acreage     Contract               included in the
                           burned     included     type (and                  contract(s)
National                    by the       in the    number of     Contract       (hundred      Funding      Primary objective for
forest       Fire name         fire contract(s)    contracts)      value       cubic feet)    source       removing timber
REGION 1
Beaverhead- Mussigbrod      46,681         473     Timber sale   $216,792             7,561   Salvage      Public health and
Deerlodge                                          (1)                                        sale fund    safety
             Mussigbrod                     31     Timber sale      8,032               504   Salvage      Public health and
                                                   (1)                                        sale fund    safety
             Mussigbrod                      1     Timber sale      5,992                93   Salvage      Reduce fuels
                                                   (1)                                        sale fund
             Mussigbrod                     14     Timber sale        448               167   Salvage      Restore vegetation
                                                   (2)                                        sale fund
             Mussigbrod                      5     Timber sale        100                26   Salvage      Reduce fuels
                                                   (10)                                       sale fund
             Middle Fork     5,000          14     Timber sale      4,396               303   Salvage      Public health and
                                                   (1)                                        sale fund    safety
             Middle Fork                     1     Timber sale     20,418               221   Salvage      Reduce fuels
                                                   (1)                                        sale fund
Bitterroot   Blodgett       11,276         415     Timber          12,294             3,034   Salvage      Reduce fuels
                                                   salea (1)                                  sale fund
             Skalkaho       55,252         910     Timber           8,184             6,600   Salvage      Reduce fuels
             Complex                               salea (1)                                  sale fund
             Skalkaho                      920     Timber sale     42,777            10,780   Forest       Reduce fuels
             Complex                               (1)                                        product
                                                                                              monies
             Skalkaho                    1,650     Timber sale    278,519            17,693   Salvage      Reduce fuels
             Complex                               (2)                                        sale fund
             Valley        172,030       2,375     Timber          84,246            14,073   Salvage      Reduce fuels
             Complex                               salea (2)                                  sale fund
             Valley                        794     Timber sale     19,976             1,734   Salvage      Reduce fuels
             Complex                               (3)                                        sale fund
             Valley                      2,516     Timber sale    304,410            17,884   Forest       Reduce fuels
             Complex                               (5)                                        product
                                                                                              monies
Clearwater   Crooked         2,673           2     Timber sale      2,747                34   Salvage      Public health and
                                                   (1)                                        sale fund    safety
Flathead     Moose          35,380         310     Timber sale    117,557             1,418   Salvage      Public health and
                                                   (1)                                        sale fund    safety




                                          Page 9                            GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
                                          Enclosure
                                          Forest Service Regions 1, 3, and 4 Timber
                                          Removal Contracts for Land Burned in
                                          Calendar Years 2000-2002




(Continued From Previous Page)

                              Total                                              Timber
                             acres     Acreage    Contract               included in the
                           burned     included    type (and                  contract(s)
National                    by the       in the   number of     Contract       (hundred        Funding     Primary objective for
forest       Fire name         fire contract(s)   contracts)      value       cubic feet)      source      removing timber
             Moose                       1,896    Timber sale    700,913              26,999   Salvage     Reduce fuels, recover
                                                  (3)                                          sale fund   economic value,
                                                                                                           restore vegetation
Gallatin     Purdy           3,621          19    Timber sale       1,661               195    Forest      Public health and
                                                  (1)                                          product     safety
                                                                                               monies
             Fridley        15,577          77    Timber sale      64,213             1,200b   Forest      Restore vegetation
                                                  (1)                                          product
                                                                                               monies
Helena       Maudlow        10,678       1,700    Timber sale    542,358              17,876   Salvage     Recover economic
             Toston                               (1)                                          sale fund   value
             Maudlow                        40    Timber sale      57,335               287    Forest      Reduce fuels
             Toston                               (1)                                          product
                                                                                               monies
             Cave Gulch     27,659         490    Timber sale    173,137               4,909   Salvage     Recover economic
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   value
             Cave Gulch                     10    Timber sale       5,500                74    Forest      Reduce fuels
                                                  (1)                                          product
                                                                                               monies
Kootenai     Stone Hill     10,960       1,407    Timber sale    811,554              16,615   Salvage     Reduce fuels, recover
                                                  (4)                                          sale fund   economic value,
                                                                                                           restore vegetation,
                                                                                                           improve watershed
                                                                                                           health
             Stone Hill                     52    Timber sale    103,964               1,030   Salvage     Recover economic
                                                  (3)                                          sale fund   value
             Lydia           5,434       1,603    Timber sale   1,611,813             23,268   Salvage     Reduce fuels, recover
             Mountain                             (3)                                          sale fund   economic value,
                                                                                                           restore vegetation,
                                                                                                           improve watershed
                                                                                                           health
             Lydia                          22    Timber sale      69,388               618    Salvage     Recover economic
             Mountain                             (2)                                          sale fund   value
             Young J             825       406    Timber sale      57,832              5,698   Salvage     Reduce fuels, recover
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   economic value,
                                                                                                           improve watershed
                                                                                                           health
             Young J                         2    Timber sale      15,249               211    Salvage     Recover economic
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   value
             Cliff Point     6,627          17    Timber sale      81,505               652    Salvage     Recover economic
                                                  (2)                                          sale fund   value




                                          Page 10                           GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
                                          Enclosure
                                          Forest Service Regions 1, 3, and 4 Timber
                                          Removal Contracts for Land Burned in
                                          Calendar Years 2000-2002




(Continued From Previous Page)

                              Total                                              Timber
                             acres     Acreage    Contract               included in the
                           burned     included    type (and                  contract(s)
National                    by the       in the   number of     Contract       (hundred        Funding     Primary objective for
forest       Fire name         fire contract(s)   contracts)      value       cubic feet)      source      removing timber
             Cliff Point                    30    Timber sale       8,742               109    Salvage     Public health and
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   safety
             Upper           9,017         675    Timber sale    433,501               8,187   Salvage     Reduce hazardous
             Beaver                               (2)                                          sale fund   fuels, recover
                                                                                                           economic value,
                                                                                                           restore vegetation,
                                                                                                           improve watershed
                                                                                                           health, promote old
                                                                                                           forest, provide access,
                                                                                                           maintain wildlife
                                                                                                           security, public health
                                                                                                           and safety
             Kelsey          2,769         473    Timber sale    644,190              10,174   Salvage     Reduce hazardous
             Creek                                (4)c                                         sale fund   fuels, recover
                                                                                                           economic value,
                                                                                                           restore vegetation,
                                                                                                           improve watershed
                                                                                                           health, promote old
                                                                                                           forest, provide access,
                                                                                                           maintain wildlife
                                                                                                           security, public health
                                                                                                           and safety
Lewis and    Lost Fork       2,323         739    Timber sale    143,160               5,349   Salvage     Recover economic
Clark                                             (1)                                          sale fund   value
Lolo         Landowner       5,700         568    Timber sale    122,907               8,599   Salvage     Reduce fuels, restore
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   vegetation
             Idaho           9,500          49    Timber sale      24,461               434    Salvage     Reduce fuels, recover
             Gulch                                (1)                                          sale fund   economic value,
                                                                                                           restore vegetation,
                                                                                                           improve watershed
                                                                                                           health
Nez Perce    Burnt Flats    22,500         800    Timber sale    489,480              16,396   Salvage     Recover economic
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   value
REGION 3
Kaibab       Pumpkin        16,000          35    Timber sale       3,112               130    Salvage     Public health and
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   safety
             Stooge              570       228    Timber sale    204,300               2,043   Salvage     Recover economic
             Complex                              (1)                                          sale fund   value
             Hidden              464       232    Timber sale      80,000              1,011   Salvage     Recover economic
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   value
Lincoln      Cree            8,000         500    Timber sale      1,900d              1,900   Salvage     Recover economic
                                                  (1)                                          sale fund   value




                                          Page 11                           GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
                                                 Enclosure
                                                 Forest Service Regions 1, 3, and 4 Timber
                                                 Removal Contracts for Land Burned in
                                                 Calendar Years 2000-2002




(Continued From Previous Page)

                                     Total                                                     Timber
                                    acres     Acreage       Contract                   included in the
                                  burned     included       type (and                      contract(s)
National                           by the       in the      number of         Contract       (hundred           Funding       Primary objective for
forest              Fire name         fire contract(s)      contracts)          value       cubic feet)         source        removing timber
                    Penasco         1,600            300    Timber sale           4,750                1,900    Salvage       Recover economic
                                                            (1)                                                 sale fund     value
                    Scott Able     16,000            740    Timber sale          8,537d                8,537    Salvage       Recover economic
                                                            (4)                                                 sale fund     value
Santa Fe            Viveash        30,000       1,800       Timber sale       20,198d,e              20,198     Salvage       Recover economic
                                                            (2)                                                 sale fund     value
REGION 4
Boise               Trail Creek    32,000             95    Timber sale           3,700                    90   Salvage       Public health and
                                                            (3)                                                 sale fund     safety
Salmon-             Clear         208,000            260    Timber sale        404,935                 8,800    Salvage       Public health and
Challis             Creek                                   (3)                                                 sale fund     safety

                    Clear                            534    Timber sale         38,524                 3,458    Salvage       Recover economic
                    Creek                                   (1)                                                 sale fund     value
Source: USDA’s Forest Service.
                                                 a
                                                  The timber sale contract includes a service component. Under the terms of the contract, the
                                                 contractor removes and sells timber, a portion of which is in exchange for agreed-upon services
                                                 provided to the Forest Service, such as reducing hazardous fuels. Congress authorized these
                                                 contracts, which are termed “stewardship” contracts.
                                                 b
                                                  This volume is over and above that volume agreed to in a previously-approved sale of healthy, green
                                                 trees that were being sold to finance a land exchange with a private company. A portion of the healthy,
                                                 green trees that were to have been sold to finance the land exchange were burned in the Friday Fire.
                                                 c
                                                  Included in these contracts is timber that was burned in the Roderick South fire.
                                                 d
                                                     This reflects a value of $1 per hundred cubic feet.
                                                 e
                                                     In addition, the contractor is paying an equal amount for, among other things, road maintenance.




(360329)                                         Page 12                                  GAO-03-808R Forest Service Burnt Timber Removal Efforts
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