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National Forest-Dependent Rural Communities

Program Descriptions

Program Number



National Forest-Dependent Rural Communities


Federal Agency




National Forest Dependent Rural Communities Economic Diversification Act of 1990, Section 2371, Subtitle G, Chapter 2, Section 2373, Public Law 101-624, 7 U.S.C. 6611, as amended.






Provide accelerated assistance to rural communities faced with acute economic problems associated with Federal, State or private sector resource management decisions and policies and that are located in or near a national forest and are economically dependent upon forest resources. Aid is extended to these rural communities to help them develop strategic action plans to diversify their economic base and to improve the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of rural areas.


Types of Assistance

Project Grants; Use of Property, Facilities, and Equipment; Training.


Uses and Use Restrictions

Eligible economically disadvantaged rural areas may request assistance in identifying opportunities that will promote economic improvement, diversification and revitalization. Assistance is coordinated through a community action team and plan. Programs may include upgrade of existing industries, development of new economic activity in non-forest related industries, technical assistance, training and education directed towards meeting the community's planned goals. Assistance requested will be coordinated with other USDA agencies and targeted to provide immediate help to those rural communities in greatest need. Grants and technical assistance are available to those rural communities meeting the eligibility requirements.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Applicant must be a general purpose local government or tribe represented by a nonprofit corporation or institution under State or Federal law to promote broad based economic development having a population of not more than 10,000; or any county that is not contained within a metropolitan statistical area. In both cases, the county must derive 15 percent or greater primary and secondary labor and proprietary income from forestry and forest related industries, such as recreation and tourism, range, minerals, and wildlife. In all cases, the community or county must also be within 100 miles of the boundary of a national forest. Communities or counties associated solely with national grasslands are not eligible. Individual businesses are not eligible for direct assistance.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Rural communities as defined in the Law.


When eligibility criteria are met, communities may request assistance in identifying opportunities and implementing action that will promote economic, social, and environmental well-being, including diversification and sustainable development.


Application and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure

Not applicable. Contact Regional or Local Office listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog. No community grants are reviewed or awarded at the National Office.

Award Procedure

Established by the Regional Office.


Communities are requested to submit form SF-424(A) with SF-424 application and other required forms as advised by the Regional Office.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

The maximum is 60 days.


Not applicable.



Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

The Federal contribution to the overall implementation of an action plan shall not exceed 80 percent of the total cost of the plan, including administrative and other costs.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Financial assistance will support planned action by the community to diversify the local economy and to improve their social, economic, and environmental well-being. Limitation on length of funded projects will be established at the Regional Office.


Post Assistance Requirements


Periodic and final reports are required.


In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," non federal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.


State and other generally accepted accounting systems are permissible, if acceptable to audit and reconciliate. All grantees need to maintain adequate systems for collecting and recording statistical data.


Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $0; FY 08 est not available; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

$1,000 to $30,000.


Program Accomplishments

Since the initiation of the Economic Recovery Program, direct assistance has grown from helping 125 eligible communities in fiscal year 1992 to over 800 in fiscal year 2001. Many of the local action plans include activities related to tourism, value- added natural resource enterprises, marketing, special forest products, or building community capacity through leadership or organizational development and training/education projects.


Regulations, Guidelines and Literature

Forest Service Implementation Guidelines available in all Forest Service offices. OMB Circular Nos. A-102 and A-87, are applicable and USDA Implementing Regulations 7, CFR 3016, 3017, 3018, and 3019.


Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Refer to Appendix IV of the Catalog for Regional and Area State and Private Forestry offices of the Forest Service and for addresses and telephone numbers of Regional Foresters and Area Director of the Forest Service.

Headquarters Office

Deputy Chief, State and Private Forestry, Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 96090, Washington, DC 20090-6090. Telephone: (202) 205-1657.

Web Site Address


Related Programs

10.664, Cooperative Forestry Assistance
10.854, Rural Economic Development Loans And Grants
10.901, Resource Conservation And Development
11.303, Economic Development-Technical Assistance
11.307, Economic Adjustment Assistance
12.607, Community Economic Adjustment Assistance For Establishment, Expansion, Realignment, Or Closure Of A Military Installation


Examples of Funded Projects

Training and placing out-of-work loggers into environmental restoration jobs in northern California, Oregon and Washington. Developing and implementing an ecosystem management plan which includes commercial opportunities for utilizing small diameter, second-growth pine in Montezuma, Delores, and La Plata counties in southwestern Colorado. Strategic planning resulting in maintaining the rural character, yet enhancing social and economic benefits of community change in Wakulla County, Florida. Local development and construction of a riverfront park in Libby, Montana. Establishment of the Forest Technology and Training Institute in Clallum County, Washington. Increasing awareness and development of non-farm industries in the historically agriculturally based area around Rust College, Mississippi, with a special emphasis on recreation and tourism opportunities as well as value-added forest products. Ecotourism training and small business management in Newton County, Arkansas. Establishing state-of-the-art computer technology in Wasatch County, Utah, to help revise the master plan.


Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Regional Foresters and the Area Director are given the flexibility to make funding decisions based on their own understanding of community and regional priorities and in consultation with others, such as State, tribal and local agencies and organizations.


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