Friday, November 14, 2008

Federal Land Management: Use of Stewardship Contracting is Increasing but Agencies could Benefit from Better Data and contracting Strategies

This GAO Report (GAO-09-23) found that between fiscal years 2003 through 2007, the Forest Service and BLM awarded a combined total of 535 stewardship contracts, with the number increasing each year—from 38 in fiscal year 2003 to 172 in fiscal year 2007. However, for certain aspects of stewardship contracting, such as the acres involved or the value of the services exchanged for goods, reliable data were not available for the full 5-year fiscal period because neither agency has had a comprehensive database of its stewardship contracting activity since 2003. The agencies did not begin to maintain nationwide stewardship data until recently, primarily because of difficulties in adapting their systems to account for all aspects of stewardship contracting. Further, these data are not complete, and reside in myriad systems, not all of which interface with one another. These deficiencies keep the agencies and Congress from accurately assessing the costs and value of stewardship contracting.

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