Updated April 24, 2020
Stewardship End Result Contracting: Forest Service and
Bureau of Land Management

Stewardship end result contracting, often called
specified forest products, such as timber, within the contract
“stewardship contracting,” is a Forest Service (FS) and
area, if it also contributes to the goals of the project (e.g.,
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contracting
selective logging of diseased or insect-infested trees). This
mechanism allowing these agencies to pursue land
is the goods portion of a stewardship contract. For example,
management goals by combining restoration services and
a contract specifying a desired goal of enhancing migratory
forest product harvesting into a single project (see below).
bird habitat may authorize the contractor to cut and sell
FS and BLM may “trade goods for services” in a given
certain species (i.e., sell goods) to alter forest stand
project by applying the value of harvested forest products
composition, install nest boxes, and relocate trails to
toward the value of restoration services. These features
improve habitat (i.e., perform services).To execute a project
make stewardship contracting an administrative efficiency
under the stewardship contracting authority, FS and BLM
tool, through which FS and BLM may reduce the
enter into a single integrated resource contract or
complexity and cost of implementing restoration projects.
stewardship agreement for services rendered (services) and
timber or other forest products sold (goods). FS and BLM
The stewardship contracting mechanism allows FS and
award contracts and agreements on a “best value” basis,
BLM to combine a contract for the sale of forest products
meaning that the agencies consider proposal quality,
with a contract for restoration services. FS and BLM may
expertise, past performance, and price in awarding a
also enter into stewardship agreements, generally if the
contract. FS and BLM may give a procurement preference
project provides mutual benefit to both the partner and the
to contractors who would promote an innovative use of
agency. Projects using either mechanism are used to
forest products. Generally, stewardship contracts must be
achieve specified land management goals on lands in the
completed in 10 years. In Section 207 of the FY2018
National Forest System (NFS), managed by FS, or on the
omnibus appropriations bill (P.L. 115-141), Congress
public lands, managed by BLM. Unless otherwise specified,
authorized the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to
“stewardship project” refers to both contracts and
extend contract terms on a one-time basis to 20 years for
lands in specified areas.
Project Attributes
Legislative History
Stewardship projects are used to achieve specified land
Congress first authorized stewardship contracting pilot
management goals, or “end results.” Activities conducted as
projects in the FY1999 omnibus appropriations act, (P.L.
part of the project, including restoration services or forest
105-277), subsequently extended and expanded the
product harvesting, contribute to these goals, which may
authority several times, and made it permanent in 2014
include any of the following, as specified in 16 U.S.C.
through Section 8205 of P.L. 113-79 (16 U.S.C. §6591c). A
brief legislative history is given below:
 Road and trail maintenance or obliteration to restore or
 P.L. 105-277, Section 347 (FY1999 omnibus
maintain water quality.
appropriations act): Authorized FS to enter into 28 pilot
 Soil productivity, habitat for wildlife and fisheries, or
stewardship contracts with private entities, each of up to
other resource values.
10 years in duration. Required nine projects to be in FS
 Setting of prescribed fires to improve the composition,
Region 1.
structure, condition, and health of stands or to improve
 P.L. 106-113, Section 341 (FY2000 consolidated
wildlife habitat.

appropriations act): Amended P.L. 105-277 to authorize
Removing vegetation or other activities to promote healthy
FS to use agreements as well as contracts.
forest stands, reduce fire hazards, or achieve other land
management objectives.
 P.L. 106-291, Section 338 (FY2001 Interior and related
 Watershed restoration and maintenance.
agencies appropriations act): Authorized FS to enter into
 Restoration and maintenance of fish and wildlife.
28 additional pilot projects. Required nine projects to be
 Control of noxious and exotic weeds and reestablishing
in FS Region 1 and three in FS Region 6.
native plant species.
 P.L. 107-63, Section 332 (FY2002 Interior and related
In pursuit of a project’s specified goals, FS and BLM may
agencies appropriations act): Authorized FS to enter into
engage in restoration services, such as noxious weed
28 additional pilot projects. Required nine projects to be
treatment, prescribed fire, or vegetation planting. This is the
in FS Region 1 and three in FS Region 6.
services portion of a stewardship contract. Contracts also
include provisions for contractors to harvest and sell

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Stewardship End Result Contracting: Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management
 P.L. 108-7, Section 323 (FY2003 consolidated
Figure 1. Stewardship Contracts or Agreements
appropriations act): Authorized both FS and BLM to
Awarded by Year, FY2003-FY2019
enter into an unrestricted number of stewardship
contracts and agreements through FY2013. This was the
first time Congress authorized BLM to use stewardship
 P.L. 113-79, Section 8205 (2014 farm bill): Congress
permanently authorized FS and BLM to enter into
stewardship contracts and agreements (16 U.S.C.
Congress amended the authority in Sections 204 through
207 of P.L. 115-141, as discussed above.
FS has awarded more contracts comprising more total
acreage than BLM (Figure 1 and Figure 2). Among other

factors, this may relate to the fact that FS manages more
forest land than BLM, and thus may be able to offer more
Figure 2. Acres (Thousands) in Awarded Stewardship
projects trading goods for services (see below). Stewardship
Contracts or Agreements by Year, FY2003-FY2019
contracts may have terms of up to ten years. Therefore, the
number of contracts awarded in a year, as shown, is likely
to be lower than the number of active contracts in that year.
Similarly, the number of acres in awarded contracts in a
year is likely to be less than the number of acres in active
contracts in that year.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service
(FS), FS FY2021 budget justification, and BLM legislative affairs office.

Both FS and BLM awarded the greatest number of
contracts, with the greatest amount of acreage in contracts
awarded, in FY2010. In FY2019, FS awarded 150 contracts
comprising approximately 130,000 acres. In FY2019, BLM
awarded three contracts with a total of approximately
3,000acres. Changes in use of the authority over time may
reflect changes in funding and an increased prioritization of
large-scale projects, among other factors.
Receipts and Offsetting
FS and BLM may trade goods for services under a
stewardship contract by offsetting the cost of restoration
services with the value of harvested timber or other forest
products. If the product value is greater than the cost of
services rendered, FS and BLM may retain the additional
money, known as excess receipts. FS and BLM have each
established dedicated funds for these receipts. Excess
receipts are a mandatory appropriation to the respective
agency’s dedicated fund. FS and BLM may use these funds
for other stewardship contracting projects or to cover
cancellation ceiling obligations (see below) from
stewardship contracts.
Revenues from federal lands are sometimes shared with
other entities, such as states or counties, under various

Stewardship End Result Contracting: Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management
statutory authorities. As specified in 16 U.S.C. §6591c(3),
economically or programmatically viable. This provision
forest product sale revenues, as well as the value of services
allows FS and BLM to obligate such funds in stages, rather
or resources provided for a stewardship project by the
than obligating them when the contract is entered.
contractor, FS, or BLM, are not considered monies received
from the NFS or the public lands. Therefore, excess receipts
If FS or BLM intend to enter into a stewardship contract
are not included in the calculations for any applicable
with a cancellation ceiling higher than $25 million, without
revenue-sharing programs related to NFS and public lands.
proposed funding for the costs of canceling the contract,
they must report the proposed project to Congress and the
Contract Cancellation
Office of Management and Budget.
In Section 204 of P.L. 115-141, Congress authorized FS
and BLM to include a cancellation ceiling in stewardship

contracts. A cancellation ceiling represents the maximum
amount a contractor may recover in the event that the
Anne A. Riddle, Analyst in Natural Resources Policy
government terminates the contract for convenience before
the expiration of the contract. FS and BLM may obligate
funds for cancellation ceilings in stages that are

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