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Have A Voice In How Federal Dollars Are Spent

CLOVIS – If you would like to have a say in how federal dollars are spent on lands in Madera and Fresno Counties, you may be interested in becoming a member of the committee that has input in those decisions.

The Fresno County and Madera County Resource Advisory Committees (RAC) are seeking applications from interested citizens who would like to be part of a committee to provide guidance for federal dollars to be used in each of the two counties.

President Clinton signed into law the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000. This Act was designed to restore stability to the annual federal payments received by counties that include National Forest lands. Title II of the Act distributes funds through the US Forest Service and are to be used for road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration, soil productivity improvements, improvements in forest ecosystem health, watershed restoration and maintenance, wildlife and fish habitat improvements, control of noxious and exotic weeds, reintroduction of native species, and hazardous fuels reduction. Projects can be on public or private lands.

The Act provides several options on how the annual payments can be used for various county projects. One option allows the County to form a Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) and designate a percentage of funds for “Special Projects” on, or impacting National Forest lands.

The purpose of the RAC is to provide advice and recommendations concerning projects that improve the maintenance of existing infrastructure, implement stewardship objectives that enhance forest ecosystems, and restore and improve land health and water quality to the National Forest lands in Fresno and Madera Counties consistent with the purposes of this Act.

The RAC duties are:

  • Review projects proposed under this title by participating Counties and other persons.
  • Propose projects and funding to a person delegated by the Secretary of Agriculture under section 203 of the Act.
  • Provide early and continuous coordination with appropriate land management agency officials in recommending projects consistent with the purposes of this Act under Title II.
  • Provide frequent opportunities for citizens, organizations, tribes, land management agencies, other interested parties to participate openly and meaningfully, beginning at the early stages of the project development process under Title II.

“The RAC members are vital participants in selecting the projects to be implemented consistent with this Act,” says Iveth Hernandez, Public Affairs Assistant Intern at the Sierra National Forest in Clovis. “The Sierra National Forest and the Fresno County and Madera County Boards of Supervisors are committed to the successful implementation of this Act and look forward to a variety of resource projects to benefit National Forest or adjacent lands in the County.”

Copies of the application form can be obtained on the internet (identified below), at the High Sierra Ranger District Office in Prather, at the Bass Lake District Office in North Fork, and at the Forest Service office at the Yosemite Sierra Visitor Bureau in Oakhurst.

Please forward your application and letter to the attention of:

Sierra National Forest

Julie Roberts

Partnership Liaison Specialist

1600 Tollhouse Road

Clovis, CA 93611

Applications and letters must be received by Sept. 30, 2015. The Forest Service website for resource advisory committees has a large quantity of information.

Please visit the Sierra National Forest Advisory Committees website at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/sierra/workingtogether/advisorycommittees. Or for additional information please visit the Secure Rural Schools Forest Service website.

If you have questions, please contact Ray Porter, District Ranger, High Sierra Ranger District, at 559-855-5355 ext. 3340, or Julie Roberts, Partnership Liaison Specialist at 559-297-0706 ext. 3159.

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