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Revised Draft U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Policy

3.9 How should I deal with post fire burned area emergency stabilization and rehabilitation? Our burned area emergency stabilization and rehabilitation policy conforms with Part 620 Chapter 3 of the Department of the Interior Departmental Manual (DM). The following are our specific policy supplements to 620 DM 3.

A. Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation Planning Requirements
(1)
We require a separate Burned Area Emergency Stabilization and/or Rehabilitation Plan for all burned areas needing emergency stabilization and/or rehabilitation, respectively. The project leader in charge of the burned Service lands is responsible for plan development and implementation. All plans must be compatible with approved Service land use plans and compliant with applicable laws, policies, and agreements. 
(2)
Regional Directors are responsible for plan approval and the Regional Fire Management Coordinator must concur in writing that the plan fits the technical definition for use of emergency stabilization or burned area rehabilitation subactivity funds. Plans costing more than $500,000 are also reviewed and approved by the Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System for NWRs or Assistant Director, Fisheries and Habitat Conservation for NFHs.Our Regional Offices will institute plan development and approval procedures to meet the following deadlines because it is imperative that emergency stabilization activities begin as soon as possible. A Burned Area Emergency Stabilization Plan must be submitted for review and funding concurrence approval within seven calendar days after total containment of the fire with approval/disapproval within six business days. If additional time is needed, extensions may be negotiated with those having approval authority. Non-emergency Burned Area Rehabilitation Plan submission, concurrence, and approval should be completed before the end of the fiscal year in order to be considered for funding in the next fiscal year. 

B. Monitoring and Accountability Requirements
All planed activities and treatments are monitored according to plan specifications and annual and final accomplishment reports are required. The project leader's supervisor is responsible for plan implementation and reporting oversight.

C. Funding
(1)
All funds approved for emergency stabilization treatments or activities must be expended within 365 days of the containment date of the fire, except that emergency stabilization funding can be expended for up to three years following total containment of the fire for treatment effectiveness monitoring and to repair or replace emergency stabilization structures or treatments where failure to do so would imperil watershed functionality or result in serious loss of downstream values.  Continued treatment funding beyond the first year requires an approved plan amendment including monitoring documentation justifying the additional funding request and data entry into the National Fire Plan Operations and Reporting System (NFPORS) Restoration and Rehabilitation (R&R) module. However, emergency stabilization funding cannot be expended to continue seeding, plantings, and invasive plant treatments beyond one year. Continued treatment effectiveness monitoring funding beyond the first year requires an annual accomplishment report including monitoring documentation and data entry into the NFPORS R&R module.
(2)
The expenditure of rehabilitation funding is for no more than three years. All rehabilitation activities and treatments from the BLM, BIA, NPS and FWS will be funded on a competitive priority basis using common criteria as established by the National Coordinators in consultation with Office of Wildland Fire Coordination. Funding of planned treatments or activities will be in one year increments. All treatments and activities will be reviewed at the end of each fiscal year and funded with the next fiscal year's funds.  All funds will be expended in the fiscal year in which the treatment or activity is approved. Any funding not expended within that time frame will be returned to the subactivity for redistribution based on new treatment or activity priorities in the following year. All rehabilitation treatments and activities must be entered into NFPORS prior to funding approval each fiscal year. Any rehabilitation activity or treatment for years two or three without written monitoring documentation will not be funded.
(3)
The Fire Management Branch is responsible for budgetary and accomplishment tracking and will assign an individual project charge code to each project plan after an electronic copy of and an approved plan is forwarded to the Fire Management Branch Chief in Boise, Idaho, and all appropriate NFPORS R&R module entries are completed. An electronic copy of the final accomplishment report will be sent to the Fire Management Branch to complete the project.

D. Service Implementation and Operational Guidance
The Burned Area Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation section of our Fire Management Handbook and the provides additional implementation and operational guidance.

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