U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
 
August 11, 2014
 
In Reply Refer To:
1740 (200) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 08/19/2014
Instruction Memorandum No. 2014-124
Expires: 09/30/2015                                                  
 
To:                  All Washington Office and Field Office Officials
 
From:              Assistant Director, Resources and Planning
 
Subject:          Identification of Multi-year Funding Priorities and Consideration for Healthy Lands Focal Areas                                                                           DD: 10/10/2014
 
Program Area:  All Resource Programs, including the Fuels Management Program
 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) outlines policy to define specific geospatial areas in which the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will fund projects that increase connectivity or landscape resilience to climate change, fire, and other change agents. 
 
Policy/Action: The BLM will use a landscape approach to identify and prioritize focal areas for treatments that are intended to maintain, improve, or restore range, aquatic, or forest health; connectivity; or resilience to climate change, fire, and other change agents. 
 
When allocating appropriated funds, or funds that may become available through regional mitigation projects or other sources, the BLM will consider opportunities to make additional investments in previously identified focal areas.
 
The BLM will continue to use Healthy Lands (HL) funds as a nexus to coordinate, integrate, and focus financial and in-kind investments in landscape resiliency and connectivity projects from all BLM programs, industry, and other Federal, State and non-governmental partners. 

To ensure strategic use of funding and to make it easier for the BLM and its partners to plan and sequence treatments over multiple years and across landscapes, a Bureau-wide nomination process will identify Healthy Lands Focal Areas (HL-FA) and Healthy Lands Project Areas (HL-PA) that are nested within HL-FA. Selected HL-FA and HL-PA will receive multi-year funding priority for HL funds and will receive additional consideration for Fuels Management Program (FP) funding between fiscal year (FY) 2016 and FY 2020.  To the extent possible, partners and BLM staff at all organizational levels and from all programs that have large landscape objectives or directly impact large landscape objectives should be strongly encouraged to participate in the development, review, and prioritization of HL-FA and HL-PA nominations.

State offices interested in receiving HL funding and additional consideration for FP funding between FY 2016 and FY 2020 should nominate HL-FA and HL-PA, for which HL funding is requested.    Nominations must describe the objectives for the HL-FA and HL-PA and the tools that would be used to meet those objectives. As a part of normal out-year budget planning between FY 2016 and FY 2020, additional direction for more specific annual work plans and funding requests will be provided annually.  

Selection criteria, explanations of key terms, frequently asked questions, and details about nomination procedures are available upon request from Karen Prentice, National Healthy Lands Coordinator at 202-912-7223 or kprentic@blm.gov.
 
Timeframe:  This IM is effective upon issuance.   Healthy Lands Focus Area Nominations are due October 10, 2014.
 
Budget Impact: This IM impacts the formulation of budgets and allocation of HL and FP funding. 
 
Background:  This policy will benefit strategic implementation of landscape resilience and connectivity projects, allow the BLM to demonstrate the capacity to implement highly targeted operations in national priority areas, and position the BLM to compete effectively for funding sources such as the proposed Resilient Landscape Initiative.  
 
Although the BLM has issued several IMs and Instruction Bulletins that contribute to the development of a landscape approach to landscape resilience and connectivity projects, it has not previously issued policy that strategically focuses operational investments from various programs and Directorates to support these goals. The BLM’s existing HL program, successor to the Department’s 2007 HL Initiative, and the Fuels Management Program can play instrumental roles in helping the BLM implement landscape resilience and connectivity projects such as those that may be identified in regional mitigation strategies or through the Greater Sage-Grouse planning effort.   
 
Currently, HL funding is prioritized on an annual basis and is generally sent to local offices for implementation and coordination with internal and external partners.  Occasionally, HL funding is pooled with additional BLM funding at the state office level. Project level funding can vary greatly from year to year because individual funding sources make independent funding allocations.  This new approach to establish multi-year funding priorities focused within specific geospatial areas will enhance coordination across programs and partners, facilitate field level project implementation, and provide for more predictable funding to support BLM and partner capacity. 
 
Over the last several years, HL and FP program leads have reshaped and updated the HL program to address these problems, build on past experience, and better align implementation of landscape resilience and connectivity projects with other components of the landscape approach. 

 

They recommended that the national offices provide multi-year funding priority to specific
geospatial areas. State and local offices have already begun to identify these areas, develop landscape objectives and draft multi-year programs of work to address those objectives.  As of December 2013, 26 draft HL-FAs were in development.  As a result of this coordination, in FY 2014, FA-600 began providing additional consideration for funding fuels projects that support FA and HL objectives.  
 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: This IM is a part of the policy necessary to implement 523 DM 1, which provided guidance to Department of the Interior (DOI) bureaus and offices for addressing climate change impacts upon the DOI mission, programs, operations, and personnel. Consistent with existing laws and regulations, it is the DOI’s policy to: promote landscape-scale, ecosystem-based management approaches to enhance the resilience and sustainability of linked human and natural systems.
 
This IM is a part of the policy necessary to implement SO 3330: Improving Mitigation Policies and Practices of the Department of Interior.
 
This IM is supportive of the direction outlined in the Project Selection, Funding and Budget Development sections of H-1740-2 Integrated Vegetation Management Handbook. It helps to implement MS-1740 Renewable Resource Improvements and Treatments, MS-6500 Fish and Wildlife Conservation; and the draft MS-1794 Regional Mitigation Manual, as well as H-1742 Emergency Stabilization and Burned Area Rehabilitation. No other Manual/Handbook sections are affected.
 
Coordination: This IM was developed in coordination with BLM state office leads for HL and FP, AD-200 program leads, AD-300, AD-400, AD-800, and FA-600.  The deputy state directors reviewed this IM.
 
Contact:  State directors may direct questions or concerns to Edwin L. Roberson, Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning, at 202-208-4896. Staff may contact Karen L. Prentice, National Healthy Landscapes Coordinator, Renewable Resources and Planning (WO-200) at 202-912-7223, or Krista Gollnick-Waid, National Interagency Fire Center Fuels Program Lead at 208-387-5165.
 
 
Signed by:                                                        Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                           Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                             Division of IRM Governance,WO-860
Resources and Planning

 
Last updated: 08-20-2014