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Senate Committee on Energy and Natural ResourcesPublic Lands, Forests, and MiningIntroducedJuly 16th, 2013
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Stewardship Contracting Reauthorization and Improvement Act
A bill to amend the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 to provide for the conduct of stewardship end result contracting projects.
Stewardship Contracting Reauthorization and Improvement Act - (Sec. 2) Amends the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 to authorize the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to enter into stewardship contracting projects with private persons or other public or private entities to perform services to achieve land management goals for the national forests and public lands that meet local and rural community needs. States that the land management goals of a project may include: (1) road and trail maintenance or obliteration to restore or maintain water quality; (2) soil productivity, habitat for wildlife and fisheries, or other resource values; (3) setting of prescribed fires to improve the composition, structure, condition, and health of stands or to improve wildlife habitat; (4) removing vegetation or other activities to promote healthy forest stands, reduce fire hazards, or achieve other land management objectives; (5) watershed restoration and maintenance; (6) restoration and maintenance of wildlife and fish; or (7) control of noxious and exotic weeds and reestablishing native plant species. Requires a source for performance of an agreement or contract under this Act to be selected on a best-value basis. Permits a contract, at the discretion of the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA), to be considered a contract for the sale of property. Limits contracts to no more than 10 years. Allows, as an offset against the cost of services received under the agreement or contract, the value of removed timber or other forest products. Sets forth requirements for fire liability provisions. Permits the Forest Service and the BLM to collect monies from an agreement or contract if the collection is a secondary objective of negotiating the contract that will best achieve the purposes of this Act. Allows recovery of certain costs of removal of timber or other forest products, notwithstanding that the contractor did not harvest the timber. Authorizes performance and payment bonds in an amount determined sufficient to protect the investment in receipts by the federal government generated by the contractor from the estimated value of the forest products to be removed. Requires a multiparty monitoring and evaluation process to assess the stewardship contracting projects conducted under this Act. Requires annual reports to Congress on: (1) the status of agreements or contracts under this Act, (2) the accomplishments that have resulted, and (3) the role of local communities in the development of agreements or contract plans. Instructs the Forest Service and the BLM to offset any direct spending authorized under this Act using any additional amounts that may be made available to the Forest Service or the BLM for the applicable fiscal year.