Federal Land Stewardship Contracting

Background: In 2003, Congress authorized the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to enter into stewardship contracts and agreements aimed at “achieving land management goals for the national forests that meet local and rural community needs.” The legislation’s primary focus was to achieve these goals through stewardship projects awarded under contracts or agreements. Unique to the legislation was the ability to exchange goods for services that meet land management objectives. In order to receive compensation for the time and energy expended in restoration activities, restoration byproducts, such as poles and saw logs, can be sold under stewardship contracts.

Stewardship End Result Contracting improves land conditions and includes natural resource management practices that incorporate a broad range of activities designed to promote closer working relationships with local communities. Stewardship contracting is a means for federal agencies to contribute to the development of sustainable rural communities, restore and maintain healthy forest ecosystems, and provide a continuing source of local income and employment. It focuses on the “end result” ecosystem benefits and outcomes, rather than on what’s removed from the land.

The U.S. Forest Service Federal Contracting Guide states the following: “Stewardship contracting is intended to help the agencies achieve a variety of land management goals. These goals emphasize land protection and restoration, rather than resource extraction.

Since the emergence of federal land stewardship contracting in southwestern Oregon in 2004, Lomakatsi has accomplished successful implementation as a lead community-based ecological forestry organization and contractual entity. The missions and values that guide stewardship contracting are aligned with the foundation of Lomakatsi’s ecological and social principles.

Over the years, Lomakatsi and our partners have developed successful strategies and integrated approaches where ecologically driven management objectives are combined with innovative resource extraction methods. We have pioneered a holistic, community-based model that addresses the social, economic, and ecological aspects of stewardship projects. Through this approach, we have achieved successful outcomes not only on the ground, but within the forest-based rural communities in which we live, work, and serve.

Key Stewardship Goals:

  • Improve, maintain, and restore forest and rangeland health
  • Restore and maintain water quality
  • Improve fish and wildlife habitat
  • Re-establish native plant species and increase their resilience
  • Reduce hazardous fuel
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