Norcal PTACNorthern California Procurement Technical Assistance Center

A New Way to Manage Our National Forests (and How To Get Involved)

Forest fires are a big issue in our community – perhaps a more significant issue now than ever. Fires are burning hotter and longer, eating up more acreage, fueled by drier biomass amid persistent drought conditions. If you’re like me, you would prefer to spend the winters and springs imagining clear skies and open trails come summertime.

But many businesses make it their duty to prepare for fire season. If this includes your business, you may have heard about a new Stewardship Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) from the USDA Forest Service. Solicitation 12363N22Q4055 was created by the Forest Service to coordinate hazardous fuels and restoration projects to promote healthy forests and rangelands in the National Forest territory. Responses to this solicitation are due by 5 pm Pacific on July 15th. If this is a solicitation you are interested in responding to, we strongly encourage you to submit it earlier than the deadline. 

The BPA covers the Pacific Southwest region, which includes the National Forests of: 

  • Eldorado
  • Inyo
  • Klamath*
  • Lassen*
  • LTBMU
  • Tahoe
  • Plumas
  • Mendocino*
  • Modoc
  • Sequoia
  • Shasta-Trinity*
  • Sierra
  • Six Rivers*
  • Stanislaus

 

This BPA is exciting to our Norcal PTAC clients since nearly a third of these 14 forests (those marked with asterisks) have some acreage in Norcal PTAC’s service area. Various BLM lands in our service area may also be included on an as-needed basis.

This BPA is a new preventative approach by the Forest Service to promote fuels reduction in the National Forests. On an informational call on June 16th, Curtis Yocum, Stewardship Procurement Analyst with the Forest Service, explained that their intention with this BPA is to break the previous mold and find a more straightforward and flexible way to coordinate forestry services. 

What’s the new process, then?


  • A BPA is an agreement, not a contract, and is not a guarantee of any work under the terms of the agreement.
    • The FS will send out Call Orders to the BPA recipients for specific jobs within the terms of the BPA. These recipients will then have a chance to provide a proposal for the work specified for that particular job.
    • The FS will select contractor(s) to award a BPA Call for that requirement. A BPA Call is then considered a contract between the FS and the contractor(s).
  • The BPA’s performance period is ten years, with an option to extend up to 20 years. 
  • The FS will select 25 BPA recipients for each Forest to be called on to perform the requested work. 
  • Interested parties should submit a technical proposal and a separate price proposal.

Pricing proposal: 

  • The solicitation (attachment 1b) has a worksheet for the services requested. Add pricing for every category for each Forest for which you want to receive call orders. 
  • Pricing proposals that do not submit a price for every category listed will be rejected. Therefore, applicant firms who cannot fulfill each type (e.g., they can remove timber but cannot perform road maintenance) will need to find subcontractors to fill in those gaps in their capabilities instead of leaving pricing categories empty. 
  • Prices here are just for reference. The call orders will not bind you to these prices; they understand that each job’s circumstances will vary widely. (However, if your actual bids on the call orders are consistently much higher than your quote, then the Forest Service may look into removing you from the BPA list – so price carefully!).

Technical proposal: 

  • See page 59 of the solicitation for detailed instructions on this.
  • This should be separate from the price proposal, with no reference to cost. 
  • The significant categories that need to be addressed are:
    • Key personnel
    • Equipment
      • Limit to one page
    • Relevant past performance
      • Include your and your major subcontractor’s past performance (if they’re doing more than 20% of the work). 
    • Benefit to the local community
      • If you live in or near the Forests you are working in (which is the case for many of our clients), this section should come naturally. It’s your chance to emphasize that getting the contract means employment and investment would be increased for these rural communities. 
      • This is also where you will want to talk about your subcontractor plan. If your employees do not live near the work area, it may be a good idea to seek out subcontractors in those areas.

Some final notes:

  • The FS plans on adding contractors to the BPA on an ad hoc basis as needed but aims to open it in some capacity every year.
  • This BPA system utilizes a timber credit process under the Integrated Resource Service Contract (IRSC) component. This means that if you are harvesting timber from these public lands under a call order, the revenue you receive from bringing the wood to market will be reduced from your contracted dollar amount. (See solicitation page 18 for more details.)
  • You must be registered in SAM.gov to respond to this solicitation. 
  • The email attachments for submission should be limited to 5MB.
  • The Forest Service staff made a special offer on the June 16th call. They encouraged applicants to submit early and ask for a preliminary review of their materials. If something is missing or off, they said they would let the applicant know and give them a chance to resubmit before the deadline. Take advantage of this opportunity and submit your offer several days before the July 15th deadline!

This process summary is not a replacement for carefully reading the solicitation and all its attachments. Detailed submission instructions can be found on page 59 of attachment 1b. If you have questions regarding this solicitation, contact Curtis Yocum at curtis.yocum@usda.gov  and Brad Seaberg at bradford.seaberg@usda.gov.

 

If you need help with your submission,

contact your Norcal PTAC counselor or sign up for our services 


Written by:
James Forrest, Norcal PTAC Procurment Specialist
7/1/22


 

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