(a) The Action Agency may make an NLAA determination for a Fire Plan Project without informal consultation or written concurrence from the Director if the Action Agency has entered into and implemented an ACA. The Action Agency need not initiate formal consultation on a Fire Plan Project if the Action Agency has made an NLAA determination for the Project under this subpart. The Action Agency and the Service will use the following procedures in establishing an ACA.
(1) Initiation: The Action Agency submits a written notification to the Service Director of its intent to enter into an ACA.
(2) Development and Adoption of the Alternative Consultation Agreement: The Action Agency enters into an ACA with the Service Director. The ACA will, at a minimum, include the following components:
(i) A list or description of the staff positions within the Action Agency that will have authority to make NLAA determinations under this subpart C.
(ii) Procedures for developing and maintaining the skills necessary within the Action Agency to make NLAA determinations, including a jointly developed training program based on the needs of the Action Agency.
(iii) A description of the standards the Action Agency will apply in assessing the effects of the action, including direct and indirect effects of the action and effects of any actions that are interrelated or interdependent with the proposed action.
(iv) Provisions for incorporating new information and newly listed species or designated critical habitat into the Action Agency's effects analysis of proposed actions.
(v) A mutually agreed upon program for monitoring and periodic program evaluation to occur at the end of the first year following signature of the ACA and periodically thereafter.
(vi) Provisions for the Action Agency to maintain a list of Fire Plan Projects for which the Action Agency has made NLAA determinations. The Action Agency will also maintain the necessary records to allow the Service to complete the periodic program evaluations.
(3) Training: Upon completion of the ACA, the Action Agency and the Service will implement the training program outlined in the ACA to the mutual satisfaction of the Action Agency and the Service.
(b) The Action Agency may, at its discretion, allow any subunit of the Action Agency to implement this subpart as soon as the subunit has fulfilled the training requirements of the ACA, upon written notification to the Service. The Action Agency shall at all times have responsibility for the adequacy of all NLAA determinations it makes under this subpart.
(c) The ACA and any related oversight or monitoring reports shall be made available to the public through a notice of availability in the Federal Register.