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Citizens sought for RACs

Part of the so-called "Safety Net" legislation passed by Congress mandates that each area form 15-member committees to decide how to spend some of the federal money
Included as part of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-393) signed by the President last fall, the Forest Service is looking for nominees to make up the required Resource Advisory Committees (RACs).
   RACs are to consist of 15 members representing a wide array of interests. The committees' duties include reviewing proposed forest management projects in accordance with the legislation. From the reviews, the RACs will make recommendations to the Forest Service, coordinate with land management agency officials, and provide opportunities for interested parties to participate in the project development process.
   Committee members are sought who are committed to working collaboratively with other interests for the long-term benefit of national forest system lands. The nomination period ends May 4.
   Public Law 106-393 creates a mechanism for local community collaboration with federal land managers in recommending projects to be conducted on federal lands or that will benefit resources on federal lands. The geographic boundaries of the RACs are aligned with National Forest boundaries and each RAC is assigned a Designated Federal Official (DFO) to serve as the point of contact. The boundary of the Central Oregon RAC covers the Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests and includes portions of Deschutes, Crook, Klamath, Lake, Jefferson, Wheeler and Grant counties.
   The Northeast Oregon Forest RAC covers the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests. These lands lie within Wallowa, Umatilla, Union, Wheeler, Malheur, Grant, Baker, Harney, Crook and Morrow counties.
   Council members serve a three-year term without compensation, but may be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses. Meetings are generally held quarterly at locations within the geographic area the RAC serves.
   Members must reside within the state in which the RAC is located, and to the extent practicable within the RAC boundary. Prospective members are advised that membership on a RAC calls for a substantial commitment of time and energy.
   These committees are to be balanced and diverse with equal representation from industry, environmental groups, elected officials and local people. We are seeking potential candidates for the Secretary of Agriculture (or her designee) to consider in appointing members to the RACs.
   Specifically, the composition of each RAC is to be balanced according to the following three interest categories identified in Public Law 106-393:
   Category I. (five regular members and one replacement) who represent one or more of the following interests:
   Organized labor
   Developed outdoor recreation, off-highway vehicle users, or commercial recreation
   Energy and mineral development
   Commercial timber industry
   Federal grazing permit holders or land use permit holders within the RAC area
   Category II: (five regular members and one replacement) who represent one or more of the following interests:
   Nationally recognized environmental organizations
   Regionally or locally recognized environmental organizations
   Dispersed recreation activities
   Archaeological and historical interest
   Nationally or regionally recognized wild horse or burro groups
   Category III. (five regular members and one replacement) who represent one or more of the following interests:
   State-elected office holders or their designee
   County or local elected office holders
   American Indian tribal representatives from tribes within or adjacent to RAC areas
   School officials or teachers
   Citizens representing the affected public at large
   To obtain an application packet or additional information, please contact: Terri Gates via email tgates or phone at (541) 383-5561.
   You can also find the RAC application and the legislation on the Pacific Northwest Region Forest Service web sit at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6.
   Nominees will be evaluated based on their education, training, and experience working with the interest area they represent, their knowledge of the geographic area covered by the RAC, their demonstrated commitment to collaborative resource decision-making, and their contribution to the balance and diversity of the RAC.
   Completed application packets should be sent to Leslie Weldon, Deschutes/Ochoco Forest Supervisor, 1645 Hwy 20 E, Bend, Ore, 97701.
   Equal opportunity practices, in line with USDA policies, shall be followed in all membership appointments to the committee. To ensure that the recommendations of the committee have taken into account the needs of the diverse groups served by the Department, membership shall include, to the extent practicable, individuals with demonstrated ability to represent minorities, women, and persons with disabilities.