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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

Oregon / Washington

Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act

Updated: November 5, 2013

Reauthorization for Fiscal Year 2013

On October 2, 2013 Congress passed a one year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act as part of HR 527 Helium Stewardship Act. More information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

RAC field trip

Reauthorization for Fiscal Year 2012

On July 6, 2012, the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 was reauthorized for federal fiscal year (FY) 2012 as part of Public Law 112-141. This one-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act made some significant changes to the previous reauthorization in Public Law 110-343. Following are some highlights of the new Act.

Title I, Secure Payments

Full Funding Amount

The full funding amount for FY 2012 for all counties that elect to receive a share of the county payment is 95 percent of the FY 2011 amount. For FY 2012, the full funding amount is $346,275,000, which includes the amounts to be paid to States by the Forest Service.

Deadline to elect to receive payment, August 1, 2012

Each county in which a BLM-managed O&C or Coos Bay Wagon Road land is located must elect to receive a share of the County payment or a share of the Counties' 50-percent payment. The new Act requires that this election be made by August 1, 2012.

Governor's transmittal of election to receive payment

A county's election to receive a payment must be transmitted by the Governor of each eligible State. The BLM will not accept an election directly from a county or from any organization acting on behalf of a county. County elections must be transmitted by the Governor's office or other appropriate executive office of the State, such as State Treasurer, on behalf of the Governor.

Failure to elect to receive a payment

If the Governor of an eligible State fails to transmit the election for an eligible county by the deadline, the county shall be considered to have elected to receive a share of the County payment.

Deadline to allocate the County payment among titles is September 30, 2012.

The Governor of an eligible State must transmit to the BLM the election of an eligible county to allocate its share of the County payment among titles II and III, or both, or to return funds to the Federal Government. The requirement that the Governor transmit county allocation elections is new. The BLM will not accept an allocation election directly from a county or from any organization acting on behalf of a county. Elections must be transmitted by the Governor's office or other appropriate executive office of the State, such as State Treasurer, on behalf of the Governor.

Failure to allocate the County payment

If the Governor of an eligible State fails to transmit the election of an eligible county's allocation of its share of the County payment by September 30, 2012, the county shall be considered to have elected to expend 80 percent of its share of the County payment for public schools and roads. The remaining 20 percent will be available to the BLM to carry out projects in the eligible county to further the purposes of title II. The Act does not require that the BLM use of the remaining 20 percent be reviewed or recommended by a resource advisory committee.

Title II, Special Projects on federal lands

Authorized uses of title II funds

The authorized uses of title II funds are unchanged. Title II funds are authorized for projects that protect, restore, and enhance fish and wildlife habitat; improve the maintenance of existing BLM infrastructure; protect and enhance ecosystems on the national forests; and restore and improve land health and water quality. The projects have objectives that may include maintenance or obliteration of BLM roads, trails and infrastructure; improvement of soil productivity; improvements in forest ecosystem health; restoration and maintenance of watersheds; control of noxious and exotic weeds; and reestablishment of native species. Projects funded under title II must be on federal lands or benefit the resources on federal lands.

Use of title II funds for resource advisory committee administrative expenses

The reauthorized Act allows a resource advisory committee to recommend the use of not more than 10 percent of the title II funds for administrative expenses associated with operating the committee.

Deadline to initiate title II projects is September 30, 2012

The deadline to initiate title II projects is September 30, 2012. For purposes of title II, a project is considered to be initiated when a resource advisory committee recommends the project to the BLM.  The recommendation is documented in the committee's meeting minutes.

Deadline to obligate title II funds is September 30, 2013

The deadline to obligate FY 2012 funds for title II projects is September 30, 2013. The deadline to obligate FY 2008-2011 title II funds is extended to September 30, 2013.

Title III, County Funds


Updated Title III FAQs (PDF)


Deadline to initiate title III projects is September 30, 2012

The deadline for a county to initiate title III projects is September 30, 2012. This deadline applies to projects using FY 2008-2011 funds as well as those for FY 2012 funding. This is the same deadline by which the Governor of an eligible State must transmit to the BLM an eligible county's election to allocate its share of the County payment among titles II and III, or both, or to return funds to the Federal Government.

The county's initiation of a title III project must be documented. For the purposes of title III, a project may be considered to be initiated at a point in time before the county publishes its intention to use title III funds for an authorized project in a publication of local record as required in section 302(b). The BLM recommends that the county document its initiation of title III projects in the meeting minutes of its county governing body (e.g. board of commissioners) which reflect the county's agreement to use the funds for the authorized uses in title III.

Deadline to obligate title III funds is September 30, 2013

The deadline to obligate title III funds is September 30, 2013. This deadline applies to FY 2008-2011 title III funds as well as those to be received for FY 2012. The BLM recommends that a county's procedure for and documentation of its obligation of title III funds be consistent with its procedures to obligate funds from other Federal sources.

Authorized uses of title III funds

There are no changes to the authorized uses of title III county funds in the reauthorized Act. However, in response to a July 16, 2012 report on county uses of title III funds by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the BLM has updated the information on this website, including the title III frequently asked questions, to further clarify the type of expenditures allowed under title III.

The GAO report may be viewed at http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-12-775. The Department of Interior response (PDF) to the GAO report may be viewed on this website.

Title III funds may be used only to:

  • carry out activities under the Firewise Communities program to provide to homeowners in fire-sensitive ecosystems education on, and assistance with implementing, techniques in home siting, home construction, and home landscaping that can increase the protection of people and property from wildfires,
  • reimburse participating county for search and rescue and other emergency services paid for by the county and performed on national forests after the date on which the use was approved as required in the Act, and
  • develop or update community wildfire protection plans.

Section 100101(b)

Failure to have made an election to allocate the FY 2011 payment

If a county failed to make a timely election to allocate its share of the FY 2011 County payment to title II and/or title III, 15 percent of the county distribution was returned to the U.S. Treasury. The reauthorized Act provides that these amounts be made available to the BLM to carry out projects that further the purposes of title II. The Act does not require such uses be reviewed or recommended by a resource advisory committee.

Other Categories/Links

Forest Service

  • For information about Forest Service implementation of the Secure Rural Schools Act and payments to counties nationwide.

Text of the Act

Resource Advisory Committees