UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
 
February 20, 2007
 
In Reply Refer To:
9210 (FA-600) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 03/06/2007
Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-074
Expires: 9/30/2008   
 
To:                               State Directors
 
From:                           Director
                                   
Subject:                       Strategic Hazardous Fuels Reduction Funding Initiative
 
Program Area: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) applies specifically to Hazardous Fuels Reduction Non-Wildland Urban Interface (2823) and Wildland Urban Interface (2824) subactivities. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) programs that promote the protection, maintenance and/or restoration of healthy functioning plant communities will also benefit from this action. 
 
Purpose:  This IM establishes an Interdisciplinary Management Team to analyze the following components of the hazardous Fuels Reduction Program: performance, future program of work, and wildfire risk to communities and the environment. This team will recommend a national prioritization and funding process to ensure that the highest priority work is funded and that we have integrated and aligned vegetation treatments to effectively achieve BLM fire and resource management goals and objectives.
 
Policy/Action:  TheBLM will develop and document a national prioritization process to develop budget requests and to distribute subactivity 2823 and 2824 dollars.
 
Jim Abbott, Associate State Director, California, will lead the Interdisciplinary Management Team comprised of:
·        Vice Meg Jensen (TBD) Deputy State Director, Resources                                          
·        Dwight Fielder, Chief, Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Botany, WO-230
·        Aden Seidlitz, Chief, Division of Fire Planning and Fuels Management, FA-600           
·        Mike Pellant, GBRI Coordinator
·        Sheldon Wimmer, State Fire Management Officer, UT
·        McKinley-Ben Miller, State Forestry Lead, AZ                                    
·        Karen Michaud, State Fuels Lead, MT
·        Donna Hummel, State Fire Mitigation and Education Lead, NM           
 
A Technical Analysis Team made up of the following individuals will assist the Interdisciplinary
Management Team with data analysis:
·        Roshelle Pederson, BLM Data Analyst, FA-600
·        Dave Burley, Budget Analyst, FA-107
·        David Mueller, Fuels Management Specialist, FA-600                               
·        Krista Wade, Fire Planning and Fuels Lead, ID
·        Greg Chandler, Mitigation and Fuels, Ashland Resource Area, OR
·        Vicki Herren, Ecologist, NM State Office
 
Conference calls were conducted in August and September 2006 to:
·        Introduce team members and outline the BLM Director’s objectives and expectations;
·        Identify the role of the Interdisciplinary Management and Technical Analysis Teams;
·        Define the task, products and timelines for completion;
·        Discuss and gain consensus on key definitions and priority criteria; and
·        Introduce and review the historical funding and performance analysis.
 
Review of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 Program of Work submissions is occurring with each state. Through these face-to-face meetings, we will share information about the national office process, discuss data questions, emphasize data quality, and discuss the use of the National Fire Plan Operations Reporting System to portray their future program of work. States will continue the program of work process by updating their program of work and budget submissions following the guidance described in the concurrently issued IM titled: “Hazardous Fuels Program of Work.” In addition, we will work with the United States Forest Service (USFS) on their risk model to determine whether it can be modified for use by the BLM, and we will continue consulting with the Vegetation Management Strategy Team and the Interagency Fuels Group on our progress. These tasks will be completed by June 2007.
 
Conference calls, between the Interdisciplinary Management Team and the Technical Analysis Team will be held as needed. In May 2007, these teams will meet to review the information and develop a national program of work priority ranking and funding alternatives that promote the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the BLM Director’s priorities (Attachment 1). The team will also consider and coordinate with the other ongoing Fire Leadership Team workload and staffing analysis efforts. The Office of Fire and Aviation will also coordinate with our interagency partners on the results of this effort and work towards developing a national, interagency prioritization process.
 
Time Frame:  The Interdisciplinary Management Team will brief the Director and submit recommendations to inform the FY 2008 allocation process and FY 2009 budget process by July 2007.
 
Budget Impact:  There is no budget impact in FY 2007.  The national prioritization process will be initiated in the allocation of the FY 2008 Annual Work Plan and the development of the FY 2009 Planning Target Allocation.  Due to declining budgets across the BLM, no shift in base funding is anticipated through FY 2009. Shifts of up to 20 percent in project dollars in FY 2008 and FY 2009 are likely as a result of this effort. An implementation plan will be developed to guide the effective and efficient transition to any resulting program changes.
 
Background:  State’s have historically prioritized their hazardous fuels projects and, until recently, we have had the funding to ensure each state’s priority projects were completed.  To ensure that appropriated funds are distributed to the highest priority projects across the Nation, the Congress and Office of Management and Budget requested the BLM to develop a national prioritization process. Language in the recent House Report 109-465 (FY 2007 President’s Budget Markup) states:
 
The Committee commends the Department for its work on the hazardous fuels program, but it is still not clear that funding is being used to address the Nation's highest priority fuels projects. The Committee reiterates its previous directions for the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the USDA to have a common hazardous fuels allocation process to ensure DOI funding goes to areas which protect communities, lives, property, and ecosystems, and which rewards successful field units that design projects in accordance with community wildfire protection plans or their equivalent and includes partnerships with States and others.”
 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: The BLM Handbook 9213 H-1, Fuels Management Chapter, Section titled “Fuels Treatment Program Development and Collaboration Process” will be amended. The interdisciplinary funding and performance reporting process will be addressed in the new Vegetation Management Handbook (H-1740-2) currently being developed.
 
Coordination:  This IM is the result of coordination between the DOI Office of Wildland Fire Coordination, the Fire & Aviation Directorate (WO-400), the Renewable Resources and Planning Directorate (WO-200), State Offices, and the USFS.  Continued coordination with these offices will occur throughout this effort.
 
Contact: Questions regarding this subject should be addressed to Jim Abbott, Associate State Director, California, at 916-978-4600 or Aden Seidlitz, Chief, Division of Fire Planning and Fuels Management, at 208-387-5153.
 
Union: Office with a union must follow negotiated procedures.
 
Signed by:
Authenticated by:
Henri R. Bisson
Robert M. Williams
Acting, Director
Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
 
1 Attachment