(a) Definition of declining forest health
In this section, the term "declining forest health" means a forest that is experiencing—
(1) substantially increased tree mortality due to insect or disease infestation; or
(2) dieback due to infestation or defoliation by insects or disease.
(b) Designation of treatment areas
(1) Initial areas
Not later than 60 days after February 7, 2014, the Secretary shall, if requested by the Governor of the State, designate as part of an insect and disease treatment program 1 or more landscape-scale areas, such as subwatersheds (sixth-level hydrologic units, according to the System of Hydrologic Unit Codes of the United States Geological Survey), in at least 1 national forest in each State that is experiencing an insect or disease epidemic.
(2) Additional areas
After the end of the 60-day period described in paragraph (1), the Secretary may designate additional landscape-scale areas under this section as needed to address insect or disease threats.
To be designated a landscape-scale area under subsection (b), the area shall be—
(1) experiencing declining forest health, based on annual forest health surveys conducted by the Secretary;
(2) at risk of experiencing substantially increased tree mortality over the next 15 years due to insect or disease infestation, based on the most recent National Insect and Disease Risk Map published by the Forest Service; or
(3) in an area in which the risk of hazard trees poses an imminent risk to public infrastructure, health, or safety.
(d) Treatment of areas
(1) In general
The Secretary may carry out priority projects on Federal land in the areas designated under subsection (b)—
(A) to reduce the risk or extent of, or increase the resilience to, insect or disease infestation; or
(B) to reduce hazardous fuels.
Any project under paragraph (1) for which a public notice to initiate scoping is issued on or before September 30, 2023, may be carried out in accordance with subsections (b), (c), and (d) of section 6512 of this title, and sections 6514, 6515, and 6516 of this title.
Projects carried out under this subsection shall be considered authorized hazardous fuel reduction projects for purposes of the authorities described in paragraph (2).
(A) In general
In accordance with the schedule described in subparagraph (B), the Secretary shall issue 2 reports on actions taken to carry out this subsection, including—
(i) an evaluation of the progress towards project goals; and
(ii) recommendations for modifications to the projects and management treatments.
The Secretary shall—
(i) not earlier than September 30, 2018, issue the initial report under subparagraph (A); and
(ii) not earlier than September 30, 2024, issue the second report under that subparagraph.
(e) Tree retention
The Secretary shall carry out projects under subsection (d) in a manner that maximizes the retention of old-growth and large trees, as appropriate for the forest type, to the extent that the trees promote stands that are resilient to insects and disease.
2018—Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 115–334, §8407(b)(1), substituted "subsection (b)—" and subpars. (A) and (B) for "subsection (b) to reduce the risk or extent of, or increase the resilience to, insect or disease infestation in the areas."
Subsec. (d)(2). Pub. L. 115–334, §8407(b)(2), substituted "2023" for "2018".
Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 115–334, §8408, struck out subsec. (f). Prior to amendment, text read as follows: "There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $200,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2024."