NASF is a founding member of the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition, a diverse group of conservation, forest landowner, industry, academia, and community organizations. First forming in preparation for the 2008 Farm Bill, the coalition joined forces again to ensure forests had a seat at the table during the Farm Bill reauthorization process.
The 2014 Farm Bill is considered by many to be the strongest for forests yet. Through the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition and other targeted efforts, NASF helped ensure the final Bill addressed our key priorities including:
- Certainty that National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits will not be required for forest roads;
- Continued authority for USDA Forest Service (USFS) state wildland fire billing;
- Permanent authority for stewardship contracting and many other forest priorities.
Major forestry provisions included in the Farm Bill include:
§8101: Reauthorization of State-wide assessments and strategies through 2018
§8204: Insect & Disease infestation designations
- NASF helped coordinate with the USFS to understand and share expectations for designations. The USFS ultimately designated more than 45 million acres of National Forest System lands under the authority.
- NASF delivered letter to Chief Tidwell urging quick action to address the identified insect & disease issues.
§8205: Stewardship end result contracting
- Permanent authority for stewardship contracting. Includes fire liability provisions requested by industry.
§8206: Good Neighbor Authority (GNA)
- Extends to all states with USFS or Department of Interior lands. NASF has been in frequent contact with the USFS on implementation of GNA and delivered a letter to Chief Tom Tidwell urging quick action in implementing the authority nationwide.
§8301: Revision of strategic plan for forest inventory and analysis
- Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to revise strategic plan within 180 days of enactment providing details on organization, procedures, and funding needed to achieve several listed items including but not limited to:
- Fully annualized inventory in interior Alaska;
- Annualized inventory of urban trees;
- Engage state foresters and other users to reevaluate core data variables; and
- Foster greater cooperation among FIA program, research station leaders, state foresters and other users.
- NASF delivered a letter to Chief Tidwell requesting USFS staff work with NASF as they revise the strategic plan.
§8304: Reimbursement of fire funds
- Includes language supported by NASF to clarify authority for USDA Forest Service to continue facilitating national coordinated response to wildland fires.
§12313 Silviculture activities
- The bill includes compromise language providing legal certainty that a Clean Water Act NPDES permit is not required for silviculture activities.