Update and Reissuance of the Good Neighbor Authority Policy Guidance

IM 2022-023
Instruction Memorandum

United States Department of the Interior

March 4, 2022

In Reply Refer To:
1510, 1511, 1737, 3720, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000 (HQ-220) P

Instruction Memorandum No. 2022-023
Expires:  09/30/2024                                                                

To:                  All Headquarters 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, Wildlife and Fisheries, 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 amended by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Farm Bill), PL 115-334.  The updates from the Farm Bill include expansion of GNA to county governments and Indian tribes as well as authorizing the option for a state to collect and retain receipts to be expended on additional GNA work. In addition, funding allocated in FY 2022 through 2026 to implement Ecosystem Restoration projects pursuant Section 40804(b)(2)(A) of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act must use GNA with states and Indian tribes or agreements under the Tribal Forest Protection Act.

Mission or Administrative Related?  Mission.

Policy/Action:  The GNA authorizes the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to enter into an agreement or contract (including sole source) to perform qualifying projects on public lands.

As provided in the authorizing statute (16 U.S.C. 2113a), 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.
  1. The agreement or contract is with an entity of state or county government or an Indian tribe. These entities will herein be referred to as cooperating entities.
  1. The project does not include construction, reconstruction, repair, or restoration of paved or permanent roads or parking areas, or the construction, alteration, repair or replacement of public buildings or public works.
  1. 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.
  1. The BLM provides or approves all silviculture prescriptions and marking guidelines for projects that include the sale of forest products.
  1. Although the agreement or contract may allow a cooperating entity to provide National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) services and site surveys, the decision to authorize a project remains the responsibility of the BLM and cannot be delegated

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

  1. A sole source contract or cooperative agreement citing a GNA Notice of Funding Opportunity or a single source with a Notice of Intent to award to a state government entity, county entity, or Indian tribe.  (Stewardship contracting cannot be used in conjunction with GNA).
  1. A contract or agreement where the cooperating entity is serving as an agent in providing up to all services necessary to carry out Authorized Restoration Services.
  1. A contract or agreement with a state government entity that authorizes the sale of timber and allows the state to retain receipts from the sale to fund authorized restoration services on BLM land under the existing agreement or contract, or another authorized good neighbor project in the state if there are funds remaining after carrying out restoration services under the existing agreement. This authority expires on October 1, 2023.  

GNA applicability:

  1. The authorizing statute specifies that GNA applies to Federal land, non-Federal land, and land owned by an Indian tribe. Under this authority, funds may be used for GNA projects on non-BLM managed lands if the project directly benefits BLM-managed lands.

Use Exhibit 1 of the attached guidance, to help ensure a project is consistent with this policy.

Timeframe:  Effective upon issuance.

Budget Impact:  Budget impact is minimal.

Background:  The GNA was first authorized as a pilot acquisition authority for the U.S. 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 of the authority was to facilitate cooperation between state and Federal land managers on watershed restoration and protection projects where mixed ownership properties within the project area 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, wildlife, and fuels management, and line officers are encouraged to partner with states to complete authorized restoration services across all applicable programs.

The GNA provides another mechanism for the BLM and its state, county, and tribal partners to work across jurisdictional boundaries. It fosters collaboration to address land management challenges; provides the ability to leverage state partner resources and efficiencies to increase capacity to accomplish work on BLM-managed lands; and provides an opportunity to strengthen Federal/state partnerships. 

Manual/Handbooks Sections Affected:  None.

Coordination:  This IM was coordinated with the Forest, Rangeland, and Vegetation Resources (HQ-220), Wildlife Conservation, Aquatics, and Environmental Protection (HQ-230), Procurement/Acquisition (HQ-720), and Fire Planning and Fuels Management (FA-600).

Contact:  Additional information is available by contacting Wade Salverson, Public Domain Forester (HQ-220) at 202-849-0990 or Angie Simpson, Fuels Specialist (FA-600) at 208-387-5381. 


Signed by:                                  Authenticated by:
David Jenkins                            Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                      Division of Regulatory Affairs and Directives,(HQ-630)
Resources and Planning


1 Attachment
      1 - 2021 Good Neighbor Authority Guidance (24 pp)