Coalition Letter: Stabenow/Roberts - Support for Stewardship Contracting Authority in 2012 Farm Bill (April 20, 2012)

Dear Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Roberts:

As the Senate Agriculture Committee considers programs and funding for the 2012 Farm Bill, the undersigned organizations request your support for the inclusion of permanent reauthorization of the Stewardship Contracting Authority, with no changes, in the 2012 Farm Bill. First enacted as a pilot program in the FY1999 Interior Appropriations bill and then reauthorized for another 10 years within the 2003 Omnibus Public Lands bill, stewardship contracting offers forest managers the use of innovative contracting methods to achieve forest management objectives, increase and diversify job opportunities, and lengthen work seasons. Our organizations collectively agree that permanent stewardship contracting reauthorization is essential to restore and foster healthy forest ecosystems and provide stability and employment to rural communities.

Under Section 323 of Public Law 108-7, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have the authority to enter into stewardship agreements on federal lands to achieve landscape-scale management goals at minimal costs. Stewardship contracts are used for treatments that promote healthy forests and reduce fire hazards, increase watershed resilience, and expand business and job opportunities. Stewardship contracting encourages collaboration and long-term commitments among agencies, contractors, local communities, and other interested stakeholders that are important for economic stability and to complete restoration projects.

Benefits of the tool include its ability to establish jobs, expand forest products markets, diversify landscape treatments, and promote active management of forests through community-based collaboration. Stewardship contracting provides a unique funding mechanism that allows agencies to keep revenue on site to complete other stewardship projects, thus providing more work and subsequent job opportunities. While stewardship contracting does not replace traditional timber sale contracts, this tool provides a critical incentive for forest management, helps address the need for restoration activities in much of our national forests, and can compliment timber sale contracting.

We urge Congress to permanently reauthorize the Stewardship Contracting Authority, with no changes, in the 2012 Farm Bill. It has worked effectively for federal agencies and rural communities alike. Reauthorizing the tool will continue to build on successes already achieved while expanding positive impacts to our national forests.

Alpine Resource Management LLC
American Forests
Anne Arundel Forestry Board
Applegate Partnership and Watershed Council
Bayfield County Economic Development Corporation
Blue Mountain RC & D Council
Central Sierra Historical Society
Choose Outdoors
Clearwater Resource Council
Colorado Forestry Association
Conservation Northwest
Ecosystem Management Program
Finch Paper, LLC
Flathead Economic Policy Center
Forest Energy Corporation
Forest Guild
Forest Products Society
Forest Restoration Solutions
Forestall Company, Inc.
Framing Our Community
Gennett Forestry Consulting
Gifford Pinchot Task Force
Illinois Forest Resource Center - University of Illinois
International Association of Wildland Fire
Iowa State University
Kentucky Woodland Owners Association
Kiona Forestry
Lake County Resources Initiative
Lassen County Fire Safe Council
Lomakatsi Restoration Project
MD Gubrud's Forestry & Wildand Fire Service
Mescalero Apache Tribe
Mescalero Forest Products
Midwest Forest Products Company
Missouri Forest Products Association
Montana Logging Association
Montana Wilderness Association
National Association of Forest Service Retirees
National Association of State Foresters
National Fire Protection Association
National Network of Forest Practitioners
National Ski Area Association
National Woodland Owners Association
New Earth Pellts LLC
New Mexico Forest Industry Association
Olympic Park Associates
Ore-Cal Land Development, LLC
Oregon Wild
Ozark Woodland Owners Association
Pennsylvania College of Technology
Pinchot Institute for Conservation
Pyramid Mountain Lumber, Inc.
Restoration Solutions, LLC
Salmon Valley Stewardship
SBS Wood Shavings
Siuslaw Institute
Society of American Foresters
Spatial Interest, LLC
Sustainable Northwest
Swan Ecosystem Center
The Nature Conservancy
The Watershed Center
Trinity County Resource Conservation District
UPM Blandin Paper
Wasatch Forestry Solutions LLC
Watershed Research & Training Center
Western Shasta Resource Conservation District
Willow Run Timberlands Co. LLC

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