16 USC § 6543
Watershed Condition Framework
through Pub. L. 116-344, except Pub. Ls. 116-260 and 116-283

(a) In general
The Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the Chief of the Forest Service (referred to in this section as the "Secretary"), may establish and maintain a Watershed Condition Framework for National Forest System land—

(1) to evaluate and classify the condition of watersheds, taking into consideration—

(A) water quality and quantity;

(B) aquatic habitat and biota;

(C) riparian and wetland vegetation;

(D) the presence of roads and trails;

(E) soil type and condition;

(F) groundwater-dependent ecosystems;

(G) relevant terrestrial indicators, such as fire regime, risk of catastrophic fire, forest and rangeland vegetation, invasive species, and insects and disease; and

(H) other significant factors, as determined by the Secretary;

(2) to identify for protection and restoration up to 5 priority watersheds in each National Forest, and up to 2 priority watersheds in each national grassland, taking into consideration the impact of the condition of the watershed condition on—

(A) wildfire behavior;

(B) flood risk;

(C) fish and wildlife;

(D) drinking water supplies;

(E) irrigation water supplies;

(F) forest-dependent communities; and

(G) other significant impacts, as determined by the Secretary;

(3) to develop a watershed protection and restoration action plan for each priority watershed that—

(A) takes into account existing restoration activities being implemented in the watershed; and

(B) includes, at a minimum—

(i) the major stressors responsible for the impaired condition of the watershed;

(ii) a set of essential projects that, once completed, will address the identified stressors and improve watershed conditions;

(iii) a proposed implementation schedule;

(iv) potential partners and funding sources; and

(v) a monitoring and evaluation program;

(4) to prioritize protection and restoration activities for each watershed restoration action plan;

(5) to implement each watershed protection and restoration action plan; and

(6) to monitor the effectiveness of protection and restoration actions and indicators of watershed health.

(b) Coordination
In carrying out subsection (a), the Secretary shall—

(1) coordinate with interested non-Federal landowners and State, Tribal, and local governments within the relevant watershed; and

(2) provide for an active and ongoing public engagement process.

(c) Emergency designation
Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of subsection (a), the Secretary may identify a watershed as a priority for rehabilitation in the Watershed Condition Framework without using the process described in that subsection if a Forest Supervisor determines that—

(1) a wildfire has significantly diminished the condition of the watershed; and

(2) the emergency stabilization activities of the Burned Area Emergency Response Team are insufficient to return the watershed to proper function.

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