Update and Reissuance of the Good Neighbor Authority Policy Guidance

IM 2018-008
Instruction Memorandum





November 21, 2017

In Reply Refer To:

1510, 1511, 5000, 5920 (220) P   


Instruction Memorandum No. 2018-008 

Expires: 09/30/2021                                                                                      

To:              All Washington Office and Field Office Officials

From:         Assistant Director, Resources and Planning

Subject:      Update and Reissuance of the Good Neighbor Authority Policy Guidance

Program Areas:  Forest and Woodland Management, Range Management, Fuels Management, Soil, Water, and Air, Wildlife and Fisheries, Riparian Management, Abandoned Mine Lands, and Procurement and Acquisition.   

Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) reissues and updates policy guidance on the use of the Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) which was reauthorized in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, PL 113-76 and the Agricultural Act of 2014, PL 113-79.  In particular, this policy emphasizes that GNA is available for use across forest and rangelands and for a wide variety of projects.  It also provides updated guidance on authorized contracting tools for forestry projects to clarify that Stewardship contracting and GNA cannot be used together.  Implementation of GNA is outlined in the attached guidance which includes the roles and responsibilities of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managers and personnel and the cooperating state agency.  In general, GNA is implemented through BLM’s existing contracting and agreement processes and delegations.  

Although the use of GNA is at the discretion of the field office, line officers are encouraged to look for opportunities to expand their use of this valuable partnership tool.  The GNA:  provides another mechanism for the BLM and states to work across jurisdictional boundaries; fosters collaboration to address land management challenges; provides the ability to leverage State resources and efficiencies to increase capacity to accomplish work on BLM-managed lands; and provides an opportunity to strengthen federal/state partnerships.  

Policy/Action:  The GNA authorizes the BLM to enter into an agreement or contract (including sole source) with a State government to perform qualifying projects on all public lands.

In order for a project to qualify as a GNA project, the following criteria must be met.

1. The project consists of Authorized Restoration Services which include: treatment of insect and disease infected trees, hazardous fuels reduction, or any other activities to restore or improve forest, rangeland, and watershed health, including fish and wildlife habitat.

2. The project does not include construction, reconstruction, repair, or restoration of paved or permanent roads, parking areas, public buildings, or public works.

3. The project does not include public lands that have the following designations:  National Wilderness Preservation System, where removal of vegetation is prohibited or restricted by Act of Congress or Presidential Proclamation including the applicable implementation plan, or Wilderness Study Areas.

4. The BLM provides or approves all silviculture prescriptions and marking guidelines for projects that entail the sale of timber (applies to forest projects only).

5. Decisions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) remain the responsibility of the BLM and cannot be delegated to the State.  However, the agreement or contract may allow a State to provide NEPA services. 

The GNA projects constitute the use of one or more of the following exceptions:

1. A sole source contract or a cooperative agreement with a Notice of Intent to award to a State government agency.  (Stewardship contracting cannot be used).

2. A contract or agreement where a State government official is serving as an agent in providing up to all services necessary to carry out Authorized Restoration Services.

3. A contract with a State that excludes Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) subcontracting clauses, which would allow the state to subcontract utilizing their respective contracting procedures.

Use Exhibit 2, Good Neighbor Authority Checklist, in the attached guidance to ensure a project is within policy.

Time Frame:  Effective upon issuance.

Budget Impact:  Budget impact is minimal since use of the authority is decided based on increasing efficiency of certain treatments.

Background:  The GNA was first authorized as a pilot authority for the US Forest Service and the State of Colorado in 2000 through PL 106-291.  The BLM was first granted GNA in 2004 through PL 108-447. The purpose was to facilitate cooperation between State and federal land managers on watershed restoration and protection projects where mixed ownership existed and conditions were such that efficiency would be gained by allowing the State to implement treatments across federal, State, and private land.  While originally focused on forest projects, GNA is available and appropriate to use across multiple programs, including range and wildlife and line officers are encourage to take full advantage of this authority to partner with States to complete Authorized Restoration Services across all programs.

Manual/Handbooks Sections Affected:  None.

Coordination:  This IM was coordinated with the Forest, Rangeland, Riparian, and Plant Conservation (WO-220) Division, Procurement/Acquisition Division (WO-855), and Fire Planning and Fuels Management Division (FA-600).

Contact:  Additional information is available by contacting Wade Salverson, Public Domain Forester (WO-220) at 202-912-7247 or Angie Simpson, Fuels Specialist (FA-600) at 208-387-5381.


Signed by:                                               Authenticated by:

Kristin M. Bail                                       Robert M. Williams

Assistant Director                                  Division of IT Policy and Planning,WO-870

Resources and Planning


1 Attachment

     1 - 2017 Good Neighbor Authority Guidance (24 pp)