MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
FOR FOREST ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT
This is an understanding among five parties:
The Director of the White House Office on Environmental Policy
The Secretary of the Interior
The Secretary of Agriculture
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
The Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
The President has proposed a comprehensive plan to alleviate the impasse over management of federal forest lands in the Pacific Northwest within the range of the northern spotted owl. The plan fulfills the President's request for "a balanced and comprehensive strategy for the conservation and management of forest ecosystems, while maximizing economic and social benefits from the forests." By taking an innovative approach based on ecosystem and watershed management, the plan transcends traditional administrative boundaries. Successful implementation will require unprecedented interagency cooperation, coordination, and collaboration, both in the long-term and in the short-term.
The report of the Agency Coordination team established by the President following the April 2, 1993 Forest Conference presents a mechanism to achieve better coordination and cooperation among the federal agencies that are involved in forest management issues. It concluded that "bold changes are required" in how agencies relate to one another and to the states, tribes, private landowners, and communities and people in the region.
The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding is to establish a framework for cooperative planning, improved decisions making, and coordinated implementation of the forest ecosystem management component of the President's Forest Plan for a Sustainable Economy and a Sustainable Environment which is designed to resolve northwest forest issues within the range of the northern spotted owl.
Signatories to this Memorandum of Understanding agree to:
The following interagency groups are established to develop, monitor, and oversee the implementation of the comprehensive forest management strategy for federal forests within the range of the northern spotted owl. They will support the development and implementation of land and resource management plans. This agreement does not substitute for or alter the line authority of individual agencies.
A. Interagency Steering Committee: The Interagency Steering Committee will establish overall policies governing the prompt, coordinated and effective implementation of the President's forest management plan by all relevant federal agencies and address and resolve issues referred to it by the Regional Executive Committee, described below. The Committee will be located in Washington, D.C. The signatories will appoint representatives to this Committee which will be chaired by the Director of the White House Office on Environmental Policy or her/his designee. A White House appointed representative of the ISC will serve as interagency coordinator to provide general oversight and guidance of regional activities.
B. Regional Interagency Executive Committee (RIEC): This group will consist of regional representatives of the agencies signatory to this M.O.U. The chairmanship of the RIEC will alternate between the Regional Forester and the State Director of the Bureau of Land Management. In appropriate situations this core group will consult with other federal and state agencies and tribes. The Regional Interagency Executive Committee will serve as the senior regional entity to assure the prompt, coordinated and successful implementation of the President's forest management plan at the regional level. It will serve as the principal conduit for communications between the Interagency Steering Committee and the region. It will be responsible for implementing the directives of the Interagency Steering Committee, reporting regularly on implementation progress, and referring issues relating to the policies or procedures for implementing the plan to the Interagency Steering Committee.
The RIEC will appoint an interim interagency implementation team to oversee and initiate actions during the interim period moving toward full implementation of the new forest management strategy.
The Regional Interagency Executive Committee will work together with the Multi-Agency Command group (MAC) of the Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative to develop criteria and priorities for restoration projects or other ecosystem investment opportunities.
The Regional Interagency Executive Committee will be accountable to the Interagency Steering Committee for establishment and oversight of the Regional Ecosystem Office, Research and Monitoring Committee and Provincial Teams. The Regional Interagency Executive Committee will also make recommendations for minimizing planning redundancies.
Regional Ecosystem Office: This office will provide a focal point for scientific and technical expertise in support of implementation of the forest management plan. It will also be responsible for evaluation of major modifications arising from the adaptive management process and will coordinate the formulation and implementation of data standards. This office will report to the Regional Interagency Executive Committee and will be responsible for development, evaluation, and resolution of consistency and implementation issues with respect to specific topics including, but not limited to, the following:
- Geographic Information Systems
- Prototype watershed analysis
- Restoration and reforestation guidelines
- Support of agency efforts to meet obligations of Endangered Species Act (e.g. Section 7 consultations, preparation of recovery plans)
- Adaptive management guidelines
- Refining definition of reserve boundaries
Agencies will detail staff to the Regional Ecosystem Office as appropriate.
The term of this agreement is five years from the date of execution, after which time the parties may extend the agreement.
/s/ Kathleen a. McGinty
Chair, Council on Environmental Quality
/s/ Bruce Babbitt
Secretary of the Interior
/s/ Mike Espy
Secretary of Agriculture
/s/ Carol W. Browner
Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
/s/ D. James Baker
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere