[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 14 (Thursday, January 22, 1998)]
[Pages 3343-3344]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-1458]

[[Page 3343]]



Bureau of Land Management


Forest Service

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection; 
Comment Request

AGENCIES: Bureau of Land Management, Interior, and United States Forest 
Service, Agriculture.

ACTION: Notice and request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest 
Service are soliciting comments concerning the proposed three-year 
joint collection of information that would conduct surveys of the 
public in each of their users groups.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before March 23, 1998 
to be assured of consideration.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to John Kerwyn Keith, Management Systems 
Group, Business and Fiscal Resources Directorate, Bureau of Land 
Management, 1849 C Street, NW, Room LS1000, Washington, DC 20240 (fax: 
202-452-5171, email: [email protected]).

John Kerwyn Keith at 202-452-5159.

NATURE OF COMMENTS: We specifically request your comments on the 
proposed collection in the following areas:
    (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the 
proper functioning of BLM and the Forest Service;
    (2) The accuracy of our estimates of the burden of collecting the 
information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions 
    (3) The quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected; 
    (4) How to minimize the burden of collecting the information on 
those who are to respond, including using the appropriate automated, 
electronic, mechanical or other forms of information technology.


I. Background
II. Current Actions
III. Methodology
IV. Requests for Comments

I. Background

    The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (Pub. L. No. 
103-62) sets out to ``improve Federal program effectiveness and public 
accountability by promoting a new focus on results, service quality, 
and customer satisfaction'' (Section 2, b, 3). In order to fulfill this 
responsibility, the BLM and the Forest Service must collect data from 
their respective user groups to (1) better understand the needs and 
desires of the public and (2) respond to those needs and desires 
    This course of action is fortified by Executive Order No. 12862, 
signed by the President on September 11, 1993, aimed at ``ensuring the 
Federal government provides the highest quality service possible to the 
American people.'' The Order discusses surveys as a means for 
determining the kinds and qualities of services desired by the Federal 
Government's customers and for determining satisfaction levels for 
existing services. These voluntary customer surveys will be used to 
ascertain customer satisfaction with the BLM and Forest Service in 
terms of services and products. Respondents will be individuals and 
organizations that are the recipients of the BLM and Forest Service's 
services and products. Previous customer surveys have provided useful 
information to the BLM and Forest Service for assessing how well we 
deliver our services and products and for making improvements. The 
results are used internally and summaries are provided to the Office of 
Management and Budget on an annual basis and are used to satisfy the 
requirements and spirit of Executive Order No. 12862.
    Continuing to work collectively on issues that pertain to the 
outside public, the BLM and Forest Service anticipate performing all of 
their customer surveys under one three-year clearance. Where 
applicable, similar questions will be asked in the surveys of the two 
agencies, thus allowing better bench marking between the agencies.

II. Current Actions

    The request to OMB will be for a three-year clearance to conduct 
customer surveys in the BLM and the

[[Page 3344]]

Forest Service. During the past clearance cycle the BLM conducted 17 
customer surveys and the Forest Service conducted 9 surveys by 
telephone and mail. (Examples of previously conducted customer surveys 
are available upon request.) Our planned activities in the next three 
fiscal years reflect our increased emphasis on and expansion of these 

III. Methodology

    The BLM and Forest Service survey customers in the following 
general categories: (1) Use requiring authorization; (2) state and 
private forestry; (3) timber sales; (4) wild horse and burro; (5) 
research; (6) law enforcement; (7) fire and aviation; (8) wildlife and 
fisheries; (9) recreation; (10) information [general, land, title, and 
technology-based]; (11) pilot programs; (12) stakeholders and partners; 
and (13) state and local governments.
    A stratified sampling technique is employed for categories 1 
through 8; categories 9 and 10 use intercept surveys; and a general 
sampling technique is employed for categories 11 through 13. The 
randomized sample pulled from the databases will include an estimated 
1200 persons unless the population is less than 1200, at which point 
the entire user population will be surveyed. An 80% response rate goal 
has been set; for this reason, whenever possible telephone surveys are 
chosen over mail surveys.
    Parallel to this effort, comment cards will be solicited from all 
of the above groups on an intercept basis--accompanying transaction 
performed with the agencies.
    The questionnaires are developed with the help of focus groups from 
around the country. We ask questions in the following general areas: 
(1) Program specific (i.e., processing permits, recordation of mining 
claims, facilities and access to public land for recreation); (2) 
service delivery; (3) management practices; (4) resource protection; 
(5) rules, regulations, and policies; (6) communication with the 
public; (7) overall satisfaction; and (8) general demographics.

IV. Requests for Comments

    Prospective respondents and other interested parties should comment 
on the actions discussed in items II & III. The following guidelines 
are provided to assist you in responding.

General Issues

    A. Is the proposed collection of information necessary, taking into 
account its accuracy, adequacy, and reliability, and the agency's 
ability to process the information it collects in a useful and timely 
    B. What enhancements can the BLM and Forest Service make to the 
quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected?

As a Potential Respondent

    A. The average public reporting burden for a customer survey is 
estimated to be .25 hours per response (13,000 respondents per year 
x 15 minutes per response =3250 hours annually). For comment cards, the 
average public reporting burden is estimated to be 3 minutes per 
response (30,000 respondents per year  x  3 minutes per response =1500 
hours annually). Burden includes the total time, effort, or financial 
resources expended to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or 
provide the information including: (1) Reviewing instructions; (2) 
developing, acquiring, installing, and utilizing technology and systems 
for purposes of collecting, validating, verifying, processing, 
maintaining, disclosing, and providing information; (3) adjusting the 
existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and 
requirements; (4) training personnel to respond to a collection of 
information; (5) searching data sources; (6) completing and reviewing 
the collection of information; and (7) transmitting or otherwise 
disclosing the information.
    Please comment on (1) the accuracy of our estimate and (2) how the 
agencies could minimize the burden of the collection information, 
including the use of automated collection techniques.
    B. The BLM and Forest Service estimate that respondents will incur 
no additional costs for reporting other than the time required to 
complete the collection. What is the estimated (1) total dollar amount 
annualized for capital and start-up costs and (2) recurring annual 
dollar amount of operation and maintenance and purchase of services 
costs associated with this data collection? The estimates should take 
into account the costs associated with generating, maintaining, and 
disclosing or providing information.
    C. Do you know of any other Federal, State, or local agency that 
collects similar data? If you do, specify the agency, collection 
element (s), and the methods of collection.

As a Potential User

    Are there any alternative sources of data and do you use them? If 
so, what are their deficiencies and/or strengths?
    Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized 
and/or included in the request for OMB approval of the survey. They 
also will become a matter of public record.

    Dated: January 15, 1998.
Carole Smith,
Bureau of Land Management, Information Collection Officer.

    Dated: January 8, 1998.
William Delaney,
U.S. Forest Service, Management Improvement.
[FR Doc. 98-1458 Filed 1-21-98; 8:45 am]