How To Work With The US Forest Service On The Tongass National Forest A Toolkit for Individuals and Small Businesses Trying to Get Contracts on the Tongass
The purpose of this document The purpose of this document is to provide small businesses and individuals throughout Southeast Alaska a better understanding of the Forest Service contracting and permitting process. It also contains the necessary information that any small business will have to provide if they wish to bid on any project with the NFS. The National Forest Service is a large bureaucracy and many people have voiced their frustrations at how difficult it is to maneuver through the red tape. In 2011 a survey was taken by SEACC on Prince of Wales Island to get a better idea of the current capacity of skills and the desire to work with the Forest Service. Numerous individuals and small businesses have shared how hard it is for small organization, with limited resources, to do business with the NFS. This toolkit will be broken into 3 parts. Part I Become a business. This will give you many of the basic information you will need to be a business that works with the Forest Service. Part II How the Forest Service Operates. This gives a basic breakdown of the Tongass Ranger Districts. It then describes how actions (potential jobs) are posted online through the Schedule of Proposed Actions. Lastly, we describe Fedbizopps. This is an online database where one will bid on all potential jobs. Part III Additional information on permitting and contracts.
Reminder: This toolkit can help anyone who wants to work with in the Tongass National Forest, but it is not to be considered the last step. It is always important to check with your local district ranger to see if any changes have taken place or any new information has been added. It is also important to check the Tongass website for additional updates.
First Step: Become a Business To successfully bid and perform Federal government and Forest Service contracts, businesses are expected to follow applicable Federal, state, and local laws. From a business perspective, this includes being appropriately registered as a business under state and local rules; carrying adequate insurance including workers compensation if an employer; and in the case of construction contracts, having the ability to adequately bond projects under the Federal government’s surety bonding requirements, which are different than the state license bonding requirements required of some businesses. A computer, or computer access, is also needed and a valid email address as contracting in the Federal government is dependent in many cases on computer processes through “on-line” databases. When formed in a businesslike way, a business is then ready to learn more about winning contracts with the Federal government.
Get a Duns # Registrations: All entities applying for Federal financial assistance must have a valid Dun & Bradstreet Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number and have a current registration in the System for Award Management (SAM). Exemptions: The SAM registration requirement does not apply to individuals submitting an application on their own behalf and not on behalf of a company or other for-profit entity, State, local or Tribal government, academia or other type of organization. DUNS Registration - Request a DUNS number online at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. U.S.-based entities may also request a DUNS number by telephone by calling the Dun & Bradstreet Government Customer Response Center, Monday – Friday, 7 AM to 8 PM CST at the following numbers: U.S. and U.S Virgin Islands: 1-866-705-5711 Alaska and Puerto Rico: 1-800-234-3867 (Select Option 2, then Option 1) For Hearing Impaired Customers Only call: 1-877-807-1679 (TTY Line) Once assigned a DUNS number, entities are responsible for maintaining up-to-date information with Dun & Bradstreet.
Get a SAM The System for Award Management (SAM) is a Federal Government owned and operated free web site that consolidates the various federal contractor registration requirements previously called CCR/FedReg, ORCA, and EPLS. Future phases of SAM will add the capabilities of other systems used in Federal procurement and awards processes. Registration is required prior to being awarded a contract with any federal government agency. This registration collects general information about a company and information required to perform Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). This requirement covers all federal agencies. The SAM website (www.gsa.sam) includes a robust Help section with FAQs, Users Guides and Tutorial Videos. These resources can answer many of your questions and step you through the process.
Additional Information: Company Name – As noted in Step One, following State and local requirements for registering a business is important to doing business with the Federal government.
Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) – In cases of a sole proprietorship, this may be a Social Security Number; for corporations and other business formations, a TIN is needed and obtained from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Go to http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=96696,00.html Financial Institution Information – Business bank information will be required including the American Business Association (ABA) routing number for the account, account number, and other information that will be used by Federal agencies to make payment when the business has won a contract.
Work’s Compensation Laws - Alaska state law requires that all employers have Worker’s Compensation Insurance for their employees. The Forest Service furnishes contract award information to the Alaska Department of Labor. Failure to comply with the state worker’s compensation laws can be a felony offense in Alaska. The Alaska Workers’ Compensation Division can also fine employers up to $1,000 per employee for each day they are conducting business with employee labor without the required insurance. For the definitions of “employer”, “employee”, and “subcontractor”, and other pertinent information contact: Alaska Department of Labor Workers Compensation Division Special Investigations Unit P.O. Box 115512 Juneau, AK 99802-5521 907.465.5875 (Direct) 1-888-372-8330 (toll free), 907.465-2797 (FAX)
Other Information – Also needed is information about the business such as address, number of employees, annual receipts, etc. Additionally information about the goods/services provided identified by NAICS number, Product Service Code (PSC), Federal Supply Classification (FSC), and other needs will be requested.
How the Forest Service Operates The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nationâ€™s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Tongass National Forest is roughly the size of West Virginia, and is the largest National Forest. There are ten Ranger District offices across the Tongass and the most important thing one can do when working with the Forest Service is to introduce oneself to the staff of your district office. The offices are: Admiralty Island National Monument 8510 Mendenhall Loop Road Juneau, AK 99801 Monument Ranger: Chad Van Ormer Phone: 907-586-8800 Fax: 907-586-8808
Petersburg Ranger District 12 North Nordic Drive PO Box 1328 Petersburg, AK 99833-1328 District Ranger: Jason Anderson Phone: 907-772-3871 Voice; 907-772-4636 TTY Fax: 907-772-5995
Craig Ranger District 900 Main Street PO Box 705 Craig, AK 99921-9998 District Ranger: Matt Anderson Phone: 907-826-3271 Fax: 907-826-2972
Sitka Ranger District 204 Siginaka Way Sitka, AK 99835 District Ranger: Carol Goularte Phone: 907-747-6671 Voice; 907-747-4335 TTY Fax: 907-747-4253
Hoonah Ranger District 430 Airport Way PO Box 135 Hoonah, AK 99829-0135 District Ranger: Art Burbank Phone: 907-945-3631 Fax: 907-945-3385
Thorne Bay Ranger District 1312 Federal Way PO Box 19001 Thorne Bay, AK 99919-0001 District Ranger: Rachelle Huddleston Phone: 907-828-3304 Fax: 907-828-3309
Juneau Ranger District 8510 Mendenhall Loop Road Juneau, AK 99801 District Ranger: Marti Marshall Phone: 907-586-8800 Voice;907-790-7444 TTY Fax: 907-586-8808
Wrangell Ranger District 525 Bennett Street PO Box 51 Wrangell, AK 99929-0051 District Ranger: Bob Dalrymple Phone: 907-874-2323 Fax: 907-874-7595
Ketchikan Misty Fiords Ranger District 3031 Tongass Avenue Ketchikan, AK 99901-5743 District Ranger: Jeff DeFreest Phone: 907-225-2148 Voice; 907-225-0414 TTY Fax: 907-225-8738
Yakutat Ranger District 712 Ocean Cape Road PO Box 327 Yakutat, AK 99689-0327 District Ranger: Lee Benson Phone: 907-784-3359 Fax: 907-784-3457
The Forest Service utilizes databases to inform the public of proposals and planning events. The two important ones that almost all bids go through is the SOPA and Fedbizopps (www.fbo.gov) SOPA What is a SOPA? As part of carrying out the mission of the Forest Service, agency resource specialists develop proposals that will enhance or maintain resource values on public lands, as well as generate products. In addition, the public may submit proposals for various uses such as rights-ofway, land exchanges, and recreational events. A necessary part of the planning for these is the environmental analysis and documentation, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and agency direction. The Schedule of Proposed Actions provides a list of proposals that will begin or are undergoing environmental analysis and documentation so that people can become aware of and indicate their interest in specific proposals. The Schedule of Proposed Actions includes proposals whose decisions are expected to be documented in a Decision Memo, Decision Notice, or Record of Decision, pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and agency direction. The Schedule of Proposed Actions is published in January, April, July, and October. It contains the best available information at that time. Proposals that start and finish before the next schedule is produced will be listed in the next schedule as Completed.
Future Involvement: To be included in future public involvement for a specific proposal, contact the corresponding "Project Contact" listed in the SOPA and indicate your interest in being involved. Example: How to Read a SOPA
Box 1- contains the project name and expected type of analysis Box 2- contains the thematic purpose of the project (Ex. Recreation, Mining, Wildlife) Box3 thru 5- contains the estimated and actual status and timing of the project Box 6- contains the project contact information Box 7&8- contains the description of the project, and what type of work and location
FEDBIZOPPS- How to bid on a proposal Almost all Federal project solicitations for bids or proposals over $25,000 are advertised on Federal Business Opportunities, also known as FedBizOpps.gov and found at https://www.fbo.gov A user guide is available for a “Vendor” on the website. Look over the User Guide to help you navigate through FedBizOpps.gov. This site is always being updated and proposals often change. It is important that you become comfortable with this site it is your gateway to the Forest Service Contract and all other Federal contracts.
Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) – Located in every state, PTAC’s assist businesses in understanding how to prepare bids and proposals on Federal government contracts. Alaska PTAC can be found at www.ptacalaska.org Alaska PTAC provides procurement training and counseling services throughout the state, and helps Alaska businesses keep in touch with contracting opportunities through our awardwinning Bid Match program. The staff members possess backgrounds in government acquisitions and participate in ongoing training, enabling them to keep pace with the continually changing acquisition marketplace, its policies, and procedures. PTAC Alaska is based out of Anchorage, with an office in Fairbanks, but they have numerous trainings across the State and on the web for your convenience. The PTAC Alaska website provides additional background information to start your business and get those contracts.
List of Small Business Support: Alaska Division of Economic Development http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/ded/ The Division of Economic Development is a one-stop shop that helps businesses and developers navigate the network of programs offering technical assistance and support for start-ups, expansions, and relocations. Resources for Conducting Business in the State of Alaskahttp://www.alaska.gov/businessHome.html U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) http://www.sba.gov/ SBA provides small businesses with an array of financing for small businesses from the smallest needs in micro-lending --- to substantial debt and equity investment capital (venture capital). SBA Alaska http://www.sba.gov/about-offices-content/2/2821 is the local Alaska chapter of the U.S. SBA that provides financial, technical, and management assistance in a variety of ways to the Alaska small business owner. US Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Rural Development http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=RD_Agency_Splash.xml&contentidonly=true The USDA-RD role is to increase rural residents' economic opportunities and improve their quality of life. We also provide technical assistance and financial backing for rural businesses and cooperatives to create quality jobs in rural areas. USDA Alaska http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ak/ Promoting a dynamic business environment in rural Alaska is the goal of USDA Rural Development's varied business programs.
Special Use Permit Each year, the Forest Service receives thousands of individual and business applications for authorization for use of NFS land for such activities as water transmission, agriculture, outfitting and guiding, recreation, telecommunication, research, photography and video productions, and granting road and utility rights-of-ways. The Forest Service carefully reviews each application to determine how the request affects the public's use of NFS land. Normally, NFS land is not made available if the overall needs of the individual or business can be met on nonfederal lands.
What are special use authorizations A special-use authorization is a legal document such as a permit, term permit, lease, or easement, which allows occupancy, use, rights, or privileges of NFS land. The authorization is granted for a specific use of the land for a specific period of time.
When do you need an authorization 1. If you will need to occupy, use, or build on NFS land for personal or business purposes, whether the duration is temporary or long term. 2. If there is a fee being charged or if income is derived from the use. 3. If an activity on NFS land involves individuals or organization with 75 or more participants or spectators.
Application ProcessIs my proposal appropriate 1. Your request must be consistent with laws, regulations, orders, policies of NFS lands, other federal laws, and applicable State and local health and sanitation laws. 2. Your request must be consistent or made consistent with the standards and guidelines in the applicable Forest Land and Resource Management Plan. 3. Your request must not pose serious or substantial risk to public health or safety. 4. Your request must not require exclusive or perpetual right of use or occupancy. 5. Your request does not unreasonably conflict or interfere with administrative uses, other scheduled or authorized existing uses, or use of adjacent non-NFS lands. 6. The proponent must not owe any fees to the Forest Service from a prior or existing specialuse authorization. 7. No gambling or providing of sexually oriented commercial services can be authorized on NFS land, even if permitted under state law. 8. No military or paramilitary training or exercises by private organizations or individuals can be authorized on NFS land, unless it is federally funded. 9. No disposal of solid waste or storage or disposal of radioactive or other hazardous substances can be authorized on NFS land.
How do you apply 1. Contact a Forest Service office and request an application. Application information is also available on the special uses home page at http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/permits 2. Prior to submitting the proposal, you are required to arrange a preapplication meeting at the local Forest Service office where the use is being requested. A staff member will discuss your proposal, potential land use conflicts, application procedures and qualifications, probable time frames, fees, bonding requirements, additional coordination with other agencies, environmental reports, and field reviews. 3. Most commercial uses require additional information with the application. You may need business plans, operating plans, liability insurance, licenses/registrations, or other documents. A commercial use is when an applicant intends to make use of NFS lands for business or financial gain. 4. Complete and submit the application form, including supporting documents, to the local Forest Service office. An incomplete proposal could delay the processing.
How do you answer all the questions Name and Address - Include the full name(s) to be used. If the application includes real property, the name(s) on the legal document must match the application. Applicant's Agent - This person must be at least 21 years old and may or may not be the same as the applicant. Documentation should be included to verify that this person may sign on behalf of the applicant. Project Description - Include enough detail to enable the Forest Service to determine feasibility, environmental impacts, benefits to the public, the safety of the request, lands to be occupied or used, and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Environmental Protection Plan - Include proposed plans for environmental rehabilitation during construction, maintenance, removal, and reclamation of the land.
Map - Provide a detailed map (U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle or equivalent) or plat (survey or equivalent) showing the requested use in relation to NFS land, identification of applicant's property (if applicable), scale, map legend, legal description, and a north arrow. Technical and Financial Capability - Provide documentation to assure the Forest Service you are capable of constructing, operating, maintaining, removing the use off NFS land, and reclaiming the land after the authorization terminates. Alternatives - You must first consider using nonfederal land. Lower costs or fewer restrictions are not adequate reasons for use of NFS lands. Provide alternative locations for the proposal in your application.
What does an authorization cost Cost Recovery Fees â€“ An assessment of fees to recover agency processing costs for special use applications and monitoring costs for special use authorizations. These fees are separate from any fees charged for the use and occupancy of NFS lands. Land Use Fees - This is an annual rental fee based on the fair market value for the uses authorized and is payable in advance. Fees are established by appraisal or other sound business management principles. Other Associated Costs - You may be responsible for providing information and reports necessary to determine the feasibility and environmental impacts of your proposal; compliance with applicable laws and regulations; and terms and conditions to be included in the authorization.
Stewardship Contracting The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are authorized by Congress to enter into stewardship contracting projects until 2013. Stewardship contracting is a tool the agencies can use “to perform services to achieve land management goals for the national forests that meet local and rural community needs.” Stewardship contracting helps achieve land management goals while meeting local and rural community needs, including contributing to the sustainability of rural communities and providing a continuing source of local income and employment. It focuses on the “end result” ecosystem benefits and outcomes, rather than on what’s removed from the land. Definitions for Stewardship Contracts: Best value contracting: Projects using stewardship contracting authorities must be awarded on a best value basis, which means that factors other than price must be considered. The Forest Service Renewable Resources Handbook explains that “these non-price criteria include, but are not limited to, the contractor’s past performance, work quality, existing public or private agreements or contracts, on-time delivery, experience, technical approach, and benefits to the local community.” Goods for services: The Forest Service and BLM may apply the value of timber or other forest products removed as an offset against any services received from the contractor. Retention of receipts: Funds received from the sale of forest products or vegetation removed under a stewardship contract may be retained by the agencies and used for other appropriate work on the same or other stewardship project locations. Multi-year contracting: Contracts used to implement stewardship projects may have terms of up to 10 years. Designation by description: The agency can describe the trees that should be removed or retained by using verifiable characteristics; such as, the species and diameters of trees. This can be accomplished without marking individual trees. Designation by prescription: The agency can specify the end result expected to be achieved on the ground and then allow the contractor to propose the methods to be used to achieve that result, including which individual trees to cut. This authority enables land managers and contractors to more effectively deal with unique or changing forest conditions, and takes better advantage of qualified contractors’ professional skills and knowledge. Additionally, the Forest Service has provided a brochure on stewardship contracting:
http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/documents/stewardship/stewardship_brochure.pdf Go to this webpage for further instruction and history on Stewardship Contracts:
http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/Stewardship_Contracting/overview.shtml This page provides the regulations for this specific type of contracting and should be read if you are considering bidding on Stewardship Contracts. The Tongass National Forest has not used this type of contracting much to date but it is our belief that these contracts will be used much more across the Tongass. Currently, a collaboration team is working to compile a list of potential stewardship projects within the Tongass.
A toolkit for individuals and businesses looking to obtain contracts with the Forest Service for work on the Tongass National Forest. A rev...