Economically disadvantaged rural communities may request assistance from the Secretary in identifying opportunities that will promote economic improvement and diversification and revitalization.
Upon request, the Secretary may establish rural natural resources and economic diversification action teams to prepare an action plan to provide technical assistance to economically disadvantaged communities. The action plan shall identify opportunities to promote economic diversification and enhance local economies now dependent upon National Forest System land resources. The action team may also identify opportunities to use value-added products and services derived from National Forest System land resources.
The Secretary shall design and organize any action team established pursuant to subsection (b) to meet the unique needs of the requesting rural community. Each action team shall be directed by an employee of the Forest Service and may include personnel from other agencies within the Department of Agriculture, from other Federal and State departments and agencies, and from the private sector.
In preparing action plans, the Secretary may cooperate with State and local governments, universities, private companies, individuals, and nonprofit organizations for procurement of services determined necessary or desirable.
The Secretary shall ensure that no substantially similar geographical or defined local area in a State receives a grant for technical assistance to an economically disadvantaged community under this subchapter and a grant for assistance under a designated rural development program during any continuous five-year period.
After reviewing requests under this section for financial and economic feasibility and viability, the Secretary shall approve and implement in accordance with section 6614 of this title those action plans that will achieve the purposes of this subchapter.