Albuquerque, NM, October 26, 2009—The Forest Service is seeking people to serve on two new Resource Advisory Committees in New Mexico under provisions of Title II of the Secure Rural Schools Act of 2008. Nominations are due to the appropriate RAC Coordinator by November 16,2009.
Fourteen counties in New Mexico elected to receive over $1.56 million in 2009 and continued amounts for the next three years to be used on a variety of projects on national forests.
The legislation requires the Forest Service, working with the counties, to establish Resource Advisory Committees (RAC) made up of defined, diverse, 15-member RACs with a formal Charter. The Charter establishing the RACs will soon be approved by the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Forest Service is now recruiting RAC members.
RAC nominees will be forwarded to the Secretary who appoints members to a four-year term following background checks. The RACs convene, propose and review project proposals and make recommendations to the local Forest Service Designated Federal Official (DFO) on how funds should be spent.
The northern counties agreed to a Northern New Mexico RAC and the southern counties agreed to a Southern New Mexico RAC. Those interested in serving on a RAC are encouraged to make direct contact with:
Northern New Mexico Resource Advisory Committee advising the Carson,
Cibola, and Santa Fe National Forests in Cibola, McKinley, Mora, Rio
Arriba, Sandoval, San Miguel, Taos, and Torrance Counties.
Ignacio Peralta, Coordinator, 575-758-6344 email@example.com
Ruben Montes, Coordinator, 505-438-5356, firstname.lastname@example.org
Diana M Trujillo, DFO, 575-536-2250, email@example.com
Southern New Mexico Resource Advisory Committee advising the
Apache-Sitgreaves, Cibola, Gila, and Lincoln National Forests in Catron,
Grant, Lincoln, Otero, Sierra, and Socorro Counties.
Patti Turpin, Coordinator, 575-434-7230, firstname.lastname@example.org
Al Koss, DFO, 575-682-2551, email@example.com
Members of a RAC must reside within the State in which the committee has jurisdiction and, to extent possible, ensure local representation in each category. RAC members serve without pay but may elect to be reimbursed for travel expenses.
The following summarizes the interests to be represented on each RAC within three categories:
Category A, five persons who represent:
1. organized labor or non-timber forest product harvester groups;
2. developed outdoor recreation, off highway vehicle users, or
commercial recreation activities;
3. energy and mineral development interests; or commercial or
recreational fishing interests;
4. commercial timber industry;
5. hold Federal grazing or other land use permits, or represent
nonindustrial private forest land owners, within the area for which
the committee is organized.
Category B, five persons who represent:
1. nationally recognized environmental organizations;
2. regionally or locally recognized environmental organizations;
3. dispersed recreational activities;
4. archaeological and historical interests;
5. nationally or regionally recognized wild horse and burro interest
groups, wildlife or hunting organizations, or watershed associations.
Category C, five persons who represent:
1. State elected office (or a designee);
2. county or local elected office;
3. American Indian tribes within or adjacent to the area for which the
committee is organized;
4. school officials or teachers;
5. represent the affected public at large.
The Secure Rural Schools Web site is www.fs.fed.us/srs/ ; see Title II Summary for more details. Information specific to RACs and the application form AD-755 that must be completed as part on a RAC nomination is at http://tinyurl.com/fs-racs
Other Background Information
Title I: Schools and Roads--Twenty-two counties in New Mexico elected to receive about $17.4 million through the State in January 2009, with 50 percent sent directly to the School Districts and 50 percent to counties for road work. Title I funding will continue for the next three years with 10 percent reductions each year.
Title II: Funds may be used for road, trail, and infrastructure maintenance or obliteration; soil productivity improvement; improvements in forest ecosystem health; watershed restoration and maintenance; restoration, maintenance and improvement of wildlife and fish habitat; control of noxious and exotic weeds; re-establishment of native species; road maintenance, decommissioning, or obliteration; and restoration of streams and watersheds. Title II funding will continue for the next three years with 10 percent reductions each year.
Title III: Local Government Programs--Eighteen counties elected to receive nearly $1,475,000 to be used for the Firewise Communities program, to reimburse counties for search and rescue and other emergency services, and to develop community wildfire protection plans. Title III funding will continue for the next three years with 10 percent reductions each year.