16 U.S. Code § 6512 - Authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects
(a) Authorized projects
As soon as practicable after December 3, 2003, the Secretary shall implement authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects, consistent with the Implementation Plan, on—
(2) condition class 3 Federal land, in such proximity to a municipal water supply system or a stream feeding such a system within a municipal watershed that a significant risk exists that a fire disturbance event would have adverse effects on the water quality of the municipal water supply or the maintenance of the system, including a risk to water quality posed by erosion following such a fire disturbance event;
(3) condition class 2 Federal land located within fire regime I, fire regime II, or fire regime III, in such proximity to a municipal water supply system or a stream feeding such a system within a municipal watershed that a significant risk exists that a fire disturbance event would have adverse effects on the water quality of the municipal water supply or the maintenance of the system, including a risk to water quality posed by erosion following such a fire disturbance event;
(4) Federal land on which windthrow or blowdown, ice storm damage, the existence of an epidemic of disease or insects, or the presence of such an epidemic on immediately adjacent land and the imminent risk it will spread, poses a significant threat to an ecosystem component, or forest or rangeland resource, on the Federal land or adjacent non-Federal land; and
(5) Federal land not covered by paragraphs (1) through (4) that contains threatened and endangered species habitat, if—
(A) natural fire regimes on that land are identified as being important for, or wildfire is identified as a threat to, an endangered species, a threatened species, or habitat of an endangered species or threatened species in a species recovery plan prepared under section 1533 of this title, or a notice published in the Federal Register determining a species to be an endangered species or a threatened species or designating critical habitat;
(B) the authorized hazardous fuel reduction project will provide enhanced protection from catastrophic wildfire for the endangered species, threatened species, or habitat of the endangered species or threatened species; and
(b) Relation to agency plans
An authorized hazardous fuel reduction project shall be conducted consistent with the resource management plan and other relevant administrative policies or decisions applicable to the Federal land covered by the project.
(c) Acreage limitation
Not more than a total of 20,000,000 acres of Federal land may be treated under authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects.
(d) Exclusion of certain Federal land
The Secretary may not conduct an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project that would occur on—
(2) Federal land on which the removal of vegetation is prohibited or restricted by Act of Congress or Presidential proclamation (including the applicable implementation plan); or
(e) Old growth stands
In this subsection and subsection (f):
(A) Applicable period
The term “applicable period” means—
(B) Covered project
The term “covered project” means an authorized hazardous fuel reduction project carried out on land described in paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (5) of subsection (a).
(C) Management direction
(D) Old growth stand
(2) Project requirements
In carrying out a covered project, the Secretary shall fully maintain, or contribute toward the restoration of, the structure and composition of old growth stands according to the pre-fire suppression old growth conditions characteristic of the forest type, taking into account the contribution of the stand to landscape fire adaptation and watershed health, and retaining the large trees contributing to old growth structure.
(3) Newer management direction
(A) In general
If the management direction for an old growth stand was established on or after December 15, 1993, the Secretary shall meet the requirements of paragraph (2) in carrying out a covered project by implementing the management direction.
(4) Older management direction
(A) In general
If the management direction for an old growth stand was established before December 15, 1993, the Secretary shall meet the requirements of paragraph (2) in carrying out a covered project during the applicable period by implementing the management direction.
(B) Review required
Subject to subparagraph (C), during the applicable period for management direction referred to in subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall—
(i) review the management direction for affected covered projects, taking into account any relevant scientific information made available since the adoption of the management direction; and
(C) Review not completed
If the Secretary does not complete the review of the management direction in accordance with subparagraph (B) before the end of the applicable period, the Secretary shall not carry out any portion of affected covered projects in stands that are identified as old growth stands (based on substantial supporting evidence) by any person during scoping, within the period—
(i) beginning at the close of the applicable period for the management direction governing the affected covered projects; and
(ii) ending on the earlier of—
(I) the date the Secretary completes the action required by subparagraph (B) for the management direction applicable to the affected covered projects; or
(f) Large tree retention
(1) In general
Except in old growth stands where the management direction is consistent with subsection (e)(2), the Secretary shall carry out a covered project in a manner that—
(A) focuses largely on small diameter trees, thinning, strategic fuel breaks, and prescribed fire to modify fire behavior, as measured by the projected reduction of uncharacteristically severe wildfire effects for the forest type (such as adverse soil impacts, tree mortality or other impacts); and
(g) Monitoring and assessing forest and rangeland health
(1) In general
For each Forest Service administrative region and each Bureau of Land Management State Office, the Secretary shall—
(A) monitor the results of a representative sample of the projects authorized under this subchapter for each management unit; and
(2) Consistency of projects with recommendations
An authorized hazardous fuel reduction project approved following the issuance of a monitoring report shall, to the maximum extent practicable, be consistent with any applicable recommendations in the report.
(3) Similar vegetation types
The results of a monitoring report shall be made available for use (if appropriate) in an authorized hazardous fuels reduction project conducted in a similar vegetation type on land under the jurisdiction of the Secretary.
(4) Monitoring and assessments
Monitoring and assessment shall include a description of the changes in condition class, using the Fire Regime Condition Class Guidebook or successor guidance, specifically comparing end results to—
(5) Multiparty monitoring
(A) In general
In an area where significant interest is expressed in multiparty monitoring, the Secretary shall establish a multiparty monitoring, evaluation, and accountability process in order to assess the positive or negative ecological and social effects of authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects and projects conducted pursuant to section 6554 of this title.
(B) Diverse stakeholders
The Secretary shall include diverse stakeholders (including interested citizens and Indian tribes) in the process required under subparagraph (A).
(6) Collection of monitoring data
The Secretary may collect monitoring data by entering into cooperative agreements or contracts with, or providing grants to, small or micro-businesses, cooperatives, nonprofit organizations, Youth Conservation Corps work crews, or related State, local, and other non-Federal conservation corps.
For each administrative unit, the Secretary shall track acres burned, by the degree of severity, by large wildfires (as defined by the Secretary).